One of our regular winter school holiday outings is the annual Wild Nights Werribee Zoo, when the zoo is open after dark for a series of special events. This year the event is on for eight nights from Saturday 6 July to Saturday 13 July 2019.
While the old favourites are there every year (marshmallow toasting!) each year there’s a slightly different program to enjoy. In 2019 there is the Wild Nights + Dusk Safari package where you can join a special one-hour Dusk Safari Tour. Hosted by the zoo’s expert Safari Guides, the limited winter dusk safari is exclusive to Wild Nights. Bookings available for 4.50pm, 5.10pm and 5.20pm.
Plus this year, for the first time, see the amazing life-size animatronic dinosaurs at Zoorassic: Dinos After Dark. Come face-to-face with life-size, spectacularly lit dinosaurs, including the Tyrannosaurs Rex, Stegosaurus and more!
Other special events include a serval animal presentation (extra $5 per person)…
….glow in the dark fun Glow Zone….
Find Hotels and Airbnbs near Werribee Open Range Zoo
….a bandicoot lantern parade…
….and a Secret Garden of laser beams to explore….
…plus most of the usual zoo displays and features.
Ranger Kids play area is open which is helpful as the weather turns rainy for our visit or just for some quieter playtime.
To have the best experience if possible I recommend arriving close to 5pm, as the regular zoo visitors clear out of the carpark and before the traffic gets bad on the freeway. It also means that you are able to catch the end of daylight and no queueing at the ticket counter.
This year we decide to BYO thermos of hot food to avoid queueing and to save some money. Turns out it’s a hit as we can enjoy eating outside, in the dark, with the sounds of the animals for company!
Wild Nights at Werribee Zoo is a really special experience and my favourite time for visiting the zoo. The program includes old favourites and fresh content every year and if you time it right you can experience most things by 7:30pm. If you’re a Zoo member it’s a bargain night out for only $10 adults or $5 kids aged 4+ years. Even better, all proceeds from Wild Nights at Werribee Zoo contributes to Zoos Victoria fight against wildlife extinction
- Book tickets ahead online, though on busy nights you will still have to queue to enter.
- The event runs from 5:30-8:30 though your ticket allows you to enter from 4pm. I highly recommend arriving close to 4pm to avoid peak hour traffic along the Westgate freeway. Arriving before 5:30pm also means you avoid the long line up at the ticket office and get to explore the zoo at dusk without the crowds;
- Last admission for Wild Nights is 7.00pm;
- Note that the Secret Garden uses smoke machines and lasers so it may not be suitable for people sensitive to those effects;
- Meerkat Bistro and Hippo Beach cafe are both open until 8:30pm, hot food available until 8pm;
- Ranger Kids is useful for indoor and quieter play;
- Peak hour at Hippo Beach is 6:30pm. The cafe there has a few hot options (pies, sausage rolls, sandwiches).
- Rug up – there’s not much indoor shelter so it will make your trip more pleasant if you’re warm;
- For indoor shelter the Meerkat Bistro is open;
- Bring a torch – many of the paths are not lit well so you will need torchlight to see ahead. Plus it’s more fun!;
- Zoorassic: Dinos After Dark is included in admission;
- In 2019 there is the Wild Nights + Dusk Safari package where you can join a special one-hour Dusk Safari Tour for an additional fee. Bookings available for 4.50pm, 5.10pm and 5.20pm; and
- Suggested itinerary – 5:30pm Bandicoot Hideout, Toast marshmallows, go animal spotting at dusk, Glow Zone, Secret Garden, Dinos after Dark; 6:45pm Animal good night ceremony; 7pm Bandicoot lantern parade.
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