National Zoo & Aquarium

National Zoo & Aquarium

National Zoo & Aquarium logo

National Zoo & Aquarium entry
Location Weston Creek, Australian Capital Territory
Coordinates 35°18′2″S 149°4′10″E / 35.30056°S 149.06944°E / -35.30056; 149.06944Coordinates: 35°18′2″S 149°4′10″E / 35.30056°S 149.06944°E / -35.30056; 149.06944
Land area 25 acres (10.1 ha)
Number of animals Approx 151 (not including fish)
Memberships ZAA[1]

The National Zoo and Aquarium is a privately owned 25-acre (10.1 ha) zoo and aquarium in the Australian capital city of Canberra. It is located in Yarralumla at the western end of Lake Burley Griffin also next to Scrivener Dam. It is currently undergoing major expansion works, with a further 30-acre (12.1 ha) of Open Range exhibits being constructed, which is due to open late 2016

Zoo Motto

"To inspire and assist in the conservation of the natural world through innovative and exciting educational experiences."

The Zoo

The National Zoo and Aquarium is privately owned by Canberra businessman Richard Tindale, and is maintained as a predominantly family-run business. The zoo receives no Government or Commonwealth support, and relies on entry fees from the public to continue operations. The zoo also relies on a large number of volunteer recruits to aid in the management of its grounds and the animals residing there.

The Zoo is the only combined zoo and aquarium in Australia.[2] The zoo has both Australian endemic species and introduced species including the largest collection of big cats in Australia, including, until recently, the only tiglon in Australasia.[3][4] The zoo is also involved in a number of breeding programs for endangered species.

The National Zoo and Aquarium plays host to many educational programs and specially designed tours for various groups; including school tours, family groups, and children's birthday Tours.[5] The zoo runs children's activities during ACT public school holiday periods[6] and a hands-on educational program for children from 8–16 years of age on weekends during the term.[7]

The Zoo runs interactive Tours and animal experiences for visitors, including the award winning ZooVenture Tour, the keeper for a day experience, Walk on the Wild Side, the Family Tour, Meet a Cheetah, plus daily information sessions and weekend Keeper Talks [8]

Tux the penguin

While visiting Canberra zoo Linus Torvalds was bit by a small penguin, providing the inspiration for Tux the Linux mascot.[9][10][11]


Australian animals at the zoo include dingos, koalas, red kangaroos, western grey kangaroos, swamp wallaby, parma wallaby, emu, Tasmanian devils, little penguins and wombats.

The Zoo maintains a collection of large cats including tawny lions, white lions, Sumatran tigers, a Bengal tiger, snow leopards, cheetahs, pumas, and servals. Other mammals include brown bears, sun bears, zebras, giraffes, common eland, black-capped capuchin, common marmoset, cottontop tamarin, black-and-white ruffed lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs, black-and-white colobus, De Brazza's monkey, red pandas, and Oriental small-clawed otters. Also on display are Goodfellow's tree-kangaroos, African wild dogs.

The Aquarium includes a variety of tropical marine and freshwater bony fish including Murray cod, Queensland groper, humphead wrasse, barramundi as well as giant moray, zebra moray and giant shovelnose ray. There are several shark species including blacktip reef sharks, tawny nurse shark, leopard shark, zebra shark and epaulette shark.

Reptiles and amphibians at the zoo include shingleback skink, blotched blue-tongued skink, green iguana, rhinoceros iguana, Taiwan beauty snake, reticulated python, Malayan blood python, olive python, boa constrictor, American alligator, pig-nosed turtle, and White's tree frogs, eastern dwarf tree frog and magnificent tree frog.

Birds at the zoo include little penguins and peafowl, musk lorikeet, bush stone-curlew, tawny frogmouth, satin bowerbird, golden pheasant, Java sparrow, plum-headed parakeet, noisy pitta, mandarin duck, king parrot, banded rail, guinea fowl, Cape Barren goose, Egyptian goose.


The National Zoo & Aquarium was originally called the "National Aquarium" and was opened on 31 May 1990. It was developed and owned by Geoff Da Deppo and at the time was the largest private tourism development in the ACT. One of the main attractions was a large underwater tunnel which housed a huge range of marine life.[12] This has since been turned into a rain forest display.

See also


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