While the world was waiting and watching for April the giraffe from Animal Adventure Park to give birth, we decided on our mini trip to Sydney we would treat our girls to a giraffe encounter at Taronga Zoo. We were not disappointed.
Taronga Zoo itself is an amazing place, just a short ferry ride across the harbour from Circular Quay. The zoo is open from 9.30am – 4.30pm (May – Aug), 9.30am – 5.00pm (Sept – Apr), 9.30am – 4.00pm (New Years Eve). Taronga Zoo is open also Christmas day.
Entry is reasonable and there are ‘family’ packages available to purchase which saves you a percentage of money by being bundled into one price. Buying tickets online also saves you up to 20%* (Conditions do apply for this, so please check the website for full information).
So now to the giraffe encounter…For $24.95 (for up to 4 people) on top of your entry fee, you will be granted entry to a small enclosure accompanied by the keeper, who will give you a little run down of how to feed the giraffe. You are given a few carrots and boy the giraffe definitely knows you’re there to feed it! Within minutes the carrots were gone. You then also get a photo of your experience. By up close and personal, I mean you can reach out and touch the giraffe.
An adult must accompany children for this encounter.
My girls absolutely loved doing this, especially my youngest. You also can take your own photos, which I took full advantage of as it was super close to us!
In the photos above I was less than 1 metre from the giraffes face, was amazing to be that close to an animal that I will most likely never see in the wild.
Myla thought it was awesome and Maybelle said the giraffe licked her entire hand to get the carrot she was offering. Our Giraffe Encounter was a once in a lifetime event and definitely worth the $24.95 (That’s after you have paid entry to the zoo).
Myla hand feeding the giraffe.
From Taronga Zoo’s website:
The Giraffe is an even-toed ungulate and is the tallest of all animals. Males have been recorded as growing up to 5.5 metres in height and weighing over 1000 kg. Giraffes are characterised by their extremely long neck, long legs and distinctive spotted coat pattern. The giraffe is related to other even-toed ungulates, such as deer and cattle. Giraffes are placed in their own separate family though, with their only living relative – the Okapi.
Taronga has 4 giraffes. We have three females; Nyota (DOB: 5th Jan 1992), Zarafa (DOB: 6th July 2003) and Kitoto(DOB: 5th Feb 2010), and one male named Jimiyu (DOB: 6th Feb 2006).
Nyota is the daughter of Hope – a famous giraffe who, before her passing, became one of the oldest in the Australasian region. Nyota is now the oldest member of the Taronga herd and is also one of the most dominant, being quite tall for a female. She and Jimiyu can often be seen pushing each other out of the way for carrots when guests are feeding them. Nyota never seems to run out of appetite for these treats!
Zarafa was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. When she first arrived at her new home in Sydney she was amazed by the views of Sydney Harbour, especially the lights of the city at night. Zarafa could always be identified as the young giraffe who was staring at the beautiful views for hours on end.
Jimiyu was also born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. He was transported in a large crate on the back of a truck with a police escort. By the time he arrived at Taronga, the streets of Mosman were lined with well-wishers.
Keepers at Western Plains Zoo familiarised Jimiyu with the travelling crate for a few months prior to his journey. They utilised techniques developed by zoos that emphasise and encourage cooperation between keepers and animals to make the transfer of animals easy and comfortable.
Kitoto was also born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Her trip to Sydney was delayed by a day because it was raining in Dubbo and Kitoto did not want to get into her transport crate! She had a police escort for the trip, and was able to stick her head out of the crate to enjoy the scenery along the way – much to the surprise of onlookers! Kitoto has settled in very well thanks to her playful and friendly nature and has been bonding with the other giraffe in the herd, in particular our male giraffe Jimiyu.
Taronga Zoo and Western Plains Zoo have bred over 90 giraffe since the 1930s
Want to donate to the ‘Taronga Zoo Conservation Society’? Click here
Our souvenir photos
My husband and three older girls meeting and feeding the giraffe
Myla feeding the giraffe
All in all, this experience is highly recommended if you ever visit Sydney and Taronga Zoo. I also highly recommend the Taronga Zoo app. It’s free and available on iTunes & Google play. Click here for more information.
So, Want to have your very own giraffe encounter or just enjoy the zoo itself? Click HERE for entry prices and how to get there.