Set in 25 hectares of tranquil surroundings, Hamilton Zoo is home to over 600 native New Zealand and exotic mammals, birds and reptiles.
Take time to see the wonders of the living world in a wildlife sanctuary renowned for its generous habitats and sympathetic approach to conservation. Enjoy a visit to Hamilton Zoo.
We have a annual pass for the Hamilton Zoo, as we knew we would end up here a lot due to having an animal crazy 2 year, and the annual pass was a much better deal than paying the price for each visit was has now gone up to $22 an adult in the last few weeks. The annual pass is definitely value for money if you use it often, we tend to go almost every weekend, in fact we had just been this morning.
The Hamilton Zoo has a great variety of animals ranging form Chimpanzees, Tigers, Cheetahs, Giraffes, Red Pandas and Rhinos so you are bound to see yours and your littlies favourite animals each time you go. The enclosures are fantastic, spacious and natural rather than made made, unlike some zoos I have been to in America which are very small with very little natural plants and trees. The viewing windows and platforms for the visitors to look through are big and easy to see through with plenty of room for groups of people at a time, the trees and bushes seem to have been planted in just the right positions so that as a visitor you almost always get to see a glimpse of all the animals.
There is also a free-flight aviary which is pretty cool, they have several bird talks throughout each day and the zoo keepers and animal talk guides are always super friendly and happy to answer your questions and always do there best for you to get the best experience possible such as having a bird land on you, or at allowing you to hand-feed the birds. Hamilton Zoo also offers eye-to-eye encounters which is where you can get up close to a range of animals such as Giraffes, Tigers, Lemurs and Rhinos and help feed them or touch them etc, these are only $15 extra which to me seems like an absolute bargain, I can't wait until my little girl is a bit older so we can experience the Lemur eye-to-eye encounter as this looks like a lot of fun. There is currently a new Monkey enclosure being built which looks amazing with a huge boardwalk so I can't wait to go back when this is done.
There is an on site cafe, though it is on the expensive side so I suggest taking your own snacks or a picnic lunch, there is plenty of shade for this and a playground for the children to play at. The paths at the zoo are well maintained and the grounds are clean and tidy. For a small zoo Hamilton Zoo is a great place to be, a fun day out for the family.
We live about a house away from the Hamilton Zoo so often visit for the kids birthdays. we buy a annual pass each year for the kids so we can visit when ever we like.It is well worthwhile and allows us to go more than we would as you only have to allow for petrol and a packed lunch. I believe they have done a great balance between giving the animals a natural spacious enclosure and allowing the visitors to see the animals. It is obvious the staff love the animals and work hard to give them an enriching environment.We have often stopped at a enclosure and the staff cleaning/helping out with the animals will stop and talk to and let the kids ask a million questions about the animals/
We found for a smaller zoo it has a variety of animals. There are tigers, zebras, monkeys, giraffes, chimps and lemurs.We found compared to the larger zoo in Auckland more animals were out and about and with less people we were able to view a lot more.They do have a on-site cafe and plenty of shade area for picnics. We found the cafe slightly more expensive than it would be going to a place in town however there are lots of cabinet or cooked options to eat.The annual pass is something I would recommend to anyone you get to visit any time during the year and every time we go we see something different well worth what we paid.
Since our son was born (end of 2009), we have gone to Hamilton Zoo quite a bit. Each year, our antenatal group also go there with all of our children for their birthdays (all around December). It has been really nice to see the children grow up seeing and interacting with the animals. With young children, we have always found it good to be there at early in the morning (we usually aim for around 9:30). This has meant that there is still good parking, the heat of the day hasn't hit and the kids can be back home for an afternoon sleep/rest. We have usually found that around 2 hours is enough for a zoo visit with the kids.
The pathways and board walks at the zoo are well laid out and allow a number of people to move around easily without having to do too much waiting for people to get past. We have used a buggy around the zoo without issue. I have also been there on several special events for people with disabilities and there have been many people in wheelchairs - there were a few places that they would had difficulty with, in particular any of the big hills would have caused some issues. All of the people in wheelchairs that I saw had a person pushing them or supporting them and therefore it was easier for them to get around. There is a very good mix of sunny and shady sections of the zoo so that excessive sun exposure can be avoided. I find this very important with children and also with the fact that I burn really easy.
There are good maps available to help you prioritise your time at the zoo. There are also signs and maps on big boards scattered around the zoo. We usually find that we love spending time with the lemurs, chimps, spider monkeys, rhinos, zebras and giraffes. We make sure that we plan accordingly so that the kids don't run out of energy before we have seen our chosen highlights. If only the tigers likes coming out to see visitors a bit more - we have only caught the odd glimpse of them (and only from a distance). There is a camera in the viewing area by the tigers so you can aim the camera in the direction of the tigers in order to get a better view of them if they are visible.
In the entrance to the zoo there is a gift shop and a cafe. We usually bring a packed lunch and therefore haven't had a need to use the cafe. There always seems to be quite a few people in there. There is a lovely area with picnic tables outside the cafe. We have often sat there at the end of a visit to finish our lunch. The kids enjoy the playground too as there are lots of challenges for my 4 year old and there are also areas safe enough for my 22 month old to use. There is often a peacock wandering around the picnic area and we all enjoy the
About half way round the zoo, there is a picnic area with toilets picnic tables and a vending machine for drinks. This is a great spot for a bit of a break as it always seems that it is a perfect time for a snack and toilet stop for the kids.
The zoo is well laid out and attention has been given to allow the animals as much space and natural surroundings as possible. It is out in the country a little but close enough to town to make it not too far to drive for a couple of hours.
The price is reasonable, in particular when the children are young, as under 2s are free. Otherwise, it is $19 for adults and $9 for 2-16 year olds (rates as of December 2013). We have used the two for one vouchers in the Entertainment Book on a number of occasions and that has made the experience even cheaper. The annual passes are a great option for families as it means that a trip to the zoo can be thought of a bit like a trip to the park - short and often, rather than thinking you have to get value for money on each trip. The concession rates for over 10 people offer a good discount too, so worth getting a group of friends together.
Overall, Hamilton Zoo is a fantastic family attraction. A chance to learn about the animals, have a day out in the fresh air and a bit of exercise thrown in. I would highly recommend a visit.
My daughter absolutely loves animals and has done for as long as I can remember. She has always maintained that when she grows up she wants to be a vet and loves visiting animal parks and zoo's. We have visited Hamilton Zoo three times and have enjoyed it every time.
I like that it is a lot closer for us to get to than Auckland Zoo meaning you can drive to Hamilton spend the day at the Zoo and drive home again to Tauranga without it feeling that you have spent most of the day in the car. It is a lot cheaper than Auckland Zoo too making it an affordable day out for the family and with just as much to take in.
So there is not as many animals but there is still a wide range of animals, and there are helpful guides who are only to happy to talk to you about the animals, and at various points throughout the day you can see the feeding of the various animals which is really cool.
My daughter went to Hamilton Zoo on a school trip when they were doing a term study on animals and I went along as a parent helper and it was a great educational day out. There is a real big education room where the guide will show you some really neat artefacts and talk about different animals so you get a lot out of it as a school trip.
Hamilton Zoo is our local zoo, and its a place we frequent whenever the mood takes us. Approximately three years ago, they brought in annual zoo passes which means you can pay a yearly fee and go whenever you want. Of course I jumped at the chance, because apart from the super cute cards you get, it works out to be the cost of 3 visits. So if you go 4 times with your card, you've already made a saving. Since getting the cards, we can go to the zoo with no pressure to see everything too. If we just see half of it we haven't wasted any money. If we just use their playground/picnic area and see the capuchins that's not a worry either.
Although its a small zoo in a lot of ways (there are no lions, elephants or hippos), they still have a wide array of wonderful animals. There are native reptiles, frogs, and birds. If you go into the free flight aviary you can see Tuis, Kakariki and kaka, as well as many more! The Kakariki are cheeky and will often land on you or near you. If you have a stroller they will rummage through every bag you have on board. The Kaka have been known to come and land on my shoulder and even poke their beaks down my collar. Of course it depends on the time of day you go in as well, but if you go during the bird talk you get more activity.
The exotic animals are a big draw for Miss 5 as well. The giraffes and zebras are kept together which I like, because it seems more natural as you walk down to see them. The rhinos have a mud pool and kick up heaps of dust as they move around. The chimps have a huge climbing frame, plus a bit of a stream and some trees and scrub to hang out in. The lemurs have a waterfall and some bush, as well as some good clearing space to sunbathe in too.
Another thing Hamilton Zoo is getting better and better at is the encounters. They recently changed up how these work, so there are set encounters per week and weekend day. These are set animals and times. For $15 each (under 2s free) you get to get as close as possible to the set animal. They only allow 10 people in a day though, and you can't book ahead. So you must go as early as possible to secure a place. We have done the lemurs several times (get in enclosure and hand feed them as they clamber all over you! Seriously awesome!).
Yesterday we did the rhino encounter as well, where we got to touch a baby rhino! They feel much softer than you would imagine. You can also book encounters for larger groups, and you just talk to the zoo about when and who. I reckon that would be an awesome birthday treat or even for a corporate event.
We live in Hamilton and go to the zoo frequently. Thankfully we get an annual family pass for Christmas each year from the grandparents. It is well worthwhile and allows us to go much more than we would otherwise. Some days we have gone when the weather is iffy and I wouldn't have wasted my money going to the zoo.
The zoo is on a hill so it is a good workout but so worthwhile. I believe they have done a great balance between giving the animals a natural spacious enclosure and allowing the visitors to see the animals. It is obvious the staff love the animals and work hard to give them an enriching environment.
The scheduled keeper talks are always interesting to attend. The keepers feed the animals so you can see them in all their glory. In their talks you learn so much about the individual animals and their species. The keepers are always willing to answer your questions. They are very knowledgeable.
For a smaller zoo it has a variety of animals. There are tigers, zebras, monkeys, giraffes, chimps and lemurs. The highlight for me is the huge free flight aviary. As my girls get older an are able to walk through this quietly they are being rewarded with what the see. I recommend anyone going without children spend time just sitting in the aviary perhaps even eat you lunch in there.
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