Next time you're visiting Werribee Zoo, why not try something out of the ordinary?
Wild Encounters at Werribee Zoo are a series of daily, behind-the-scenes sessions where you have the chance to get up close and personal with some of your favourite zoo animals. Feed a giraffe, peer into a lion's eyes or take a selfie with a gorilla!
We arrive a few minutes before our designated time of 1:30pm. Note it's important to arrive on time because the animals need to be fed on a strict schedule and a hungry animal waits for no human.
After everyone is gathered a keeper leads us into an area that's normally out of bounds for visitors, which in itself is exciting for the kids. Each person is then given a feeding scoop and instructed to stand not-too-close to the open upper fence so that the ostriches can eat the specially prepared pellets.
The animals are hungry and peck away at the scoops. Pecking is obviously their natural behaviour so remember to remove all sparkly or dangly jewellery or clothing if you don't want to get too close to an ostrich beak.
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It's amazing to see these animals up close, to admire their beautiful feathers, long necks and huge eyes (which are bigger than their brain). We learn a few more interesting factoids about ostriches and zoo animals generally and there are lots of opportunities to ask the keeper questions during the 20 minute session which stretches to about 30 minutes for us.
The Ostrich Encounter is suitable for children 5+ years, due to the height of the fence. If you have children under 5 they might enjoy Werribee Zoo’s Koala Close-up encounter and the Kangaroo Tales Experience. During fifteen minutes of the Koala Close-up encounter we learn about what they eat, how they sleep and why we tell tourists that they are ‘drop bears'! We don't get to hold them though.
Werribee Zoo is a special destination in itself but the Wild Encounters are a wonderful way to learn more about animals in a more intimate environment. Best of all, proceeds from the Wild Encounters contribute to Zoos Victoria’s fight against wildlife extinction.
Click here to buy tickets to Werribee Zoo
For other things to do at Werribee Zoo check out my reviews of Hippo Beach, Village Kids, Ranger Kids and Zoorassic!
Other unique experiences at Werribee Zoo include the Off-Road Safari and Slumber Safari.
- Meeting point for the ostriches is near the hippos, there's a sign with a place marker;
- Arrive at least 10 minutes before your encounter to allow time to walk down.
- Weekends, school holidays and public holidays can be a busy time at the Zoo and parking is limited. Allow sufficient time for parking and entering the Zoo;
- It's important to arrive on time because the animals are fed on a strict feeding schedule;
- the Ostrich Encounter is suitable for children 5+ years;
- wear flat enclosed shoes, no sparkly or dangly jewellery or clothing;
- Don't wear strong perfume or aftershave;
- Prams and strollers cannot be taken into the off-limits areas;
- the Koala Close-up encounter and the Kangaroo Tales Experience is suitable for children under 5 years;
- Zoos Victoria members get a 10% discount on all Wild Encounters; and
- Take a camera!
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