Taronga Zoo has evolved over the past 100 years, from pure entertainment to conservation and edutainment hub. The $16 million funding will allow it to expand its conservation efforts while also increasing visitor numbers.
The work centres around the Australia Precinct, one of the zoo’s most popular areas. Upgrades will include a koala viewing canopy walk and extensions to the ‘walkthrough’ experiences in the kangaroo and wallaby compounds. An underwater viewing area for platypuses is included in the plans as are improvements to the nocturnal exhibit.
“Taronga Zoo is one of Australia’s most iconic tourist destinations and this revamp will place greater emphasis on some of our nation’s most iconic animals,” said Rob Stokes, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces on the NSW government’s website.
“This development will inject $16 million into the State’s economy and create more than 800 construction jobs while helping to make Taronga Zoo a more attractive tourist destination.”
A vital part of Sydney Harbour
Matt Kean, Minister for Energy and Environment, said the zoo has been an important part of the Sydney Harbour landscape since 1916:
“The project will see new life breathed into parts of the precinct that are more than 30 years old, improving the visitor experience and encouraging more people to get out and learn about the conservation of our iconic Aussie animals,” he said, pointing out that the Australia Precinct at the zoo is home to many Australian icons, including the platypus, koala and bilby.
Work on the project will start in the coming months and the project is expected to be finished by 2023.
Expanding the zoo experience
Taronga Zoo has already followed in the footsteps of many attractions, offering themed hospitality add-ons to the core experience. In 2019 it unveiled its new luxury eco-accommodation, Wildlife Retreat, which allows guests to become totally immersed in a wildlife experience while staying at sustainably designed lodges.
“For a zoo to remain relevant, it must constantly evolve,” said Cameron Kerr, CEO of Taronga Zoo. “Our new Wildlife Retreat at Taronga will deliver truly unique experiences to the people of Sydney, NSW, Australia and our international visitors. “Guests will leave not only rejuvenated but also with the knowledge that their stay has made a meaningful difference to wildlife and its conservation.”