Since announcing our plans to sell/donate everything we own and start Our Global Adventure, friends and family have been wonderfully thoughtful to give us experiences for our birthday and Christmas presents. One of these gifts was from my sister for my birthday. She and my brother-in-law gave me a family pass to Monarto Zoo for my birthday, and we have just used it on the weekend.
Monarto Zoo is an open range zoo. This means that the animals are not kept in tiny cages, they roam about in huge fenced off enclosures. So huge, that it is Australia’s largest open range zoo, covering over 1500 hectares and including over 10km of walking tracks. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t accessible to everyone, there are free shuttle buses that circle the property every 20 minutes, making sure that you get up close and personal with the animals.
Monarto Zoo is run by a not for profit conservation charity – Zoos SA. They run the Adelaide Zoo (in the beautiful parklands in the city) the Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary, and Monarto Zoo, which is about 1 hour South East of Adelaide. Zoos SA exists to save animals from extinction. The charity provides conservation education, undertakes breeding programs, conducts vital research and supports conservation programs in the animal’s native habitat.
Once you arrive at the zoo, the Zu-loop shuttle bus departs the Visitor Centre at regular intervals. Visitors can then hop on and off the bus at different wildlife viewing platforms. The platforms provide an excellent view of the animals including, Giraffe, Rhino, Cheetah, Lion, African Painted Dogs and Chimpanzee. We were lucky enough to be at the platforms in time to see the keepers feeding the White Rhino, Painted Dogs and Chimpanzee. The talks given by the zoo keepers and getting SO CLOSE to the animals during these times was a real highlight of the day, so I would suggest timing your visit to see at least one or two of the presentations which start at 11am.
There are excellent facilities at the zoo for lunch, refreshments and toileting, and we found the meals to be very reasonably priced for a tourist attraction. Our lunch for 3 adults and 3 children (my brother-in-law and nephew joined us) came to $85 including drinks. There was also a great selection catering for healthier options and vegetarian choices along with the usual chips and nuggets for kids.
Entry into the zoo cost Adults – $31.50 and Children- $18.00. A family pass for 2 Adults and 2 Children is $85 (plus only $5 extra for additional Children). Tickets are available online or at the gate. Details on how to get there can be found here. If you are planning on visiting in summer, check the zoo’s website and the weather forecast before you go, as Monarto Zoo is closed on days when the temperature is forecast to go 4o C or above (trust me you wouldn’t want to go then anyway!). It is important to remember that it is an open plains zoo, so even though the shuttle buses are new and air-conditioned, very hot or very wet weather could effect your visit, because you are still going to want to go outside quite a lot.