Zu Dayz

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By Brian Sherlock

Several months ago I was discussing my blog, The Sheep Was Here, with co-workers and a passing comment about the Royal Melbourne Zoo made me wonder if it was entitled to its own spot in the light. After coming to the obvious conclusion that this was the Zoo we’re talking about I took my pen to paper. In addition to bringing our attention to the world around us, Melbourne Zoo is in my opinion where our earliest memories take flight.

A day trip for any visitor, it’s an easy drive, but if you don’t care for traffic take the Upfield train and hop off at Royal Park, or the number 55 tram from Williams Street; stations are skipping distance from the rear entrance. The Royal Melbourne Zoo is part of Zoos Victoria, an organisation including both Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary.

Following its establishment on October 6th 1862, the zoo was first utilised to acclimatise domestic animals to Australia, but by 1870 exotic species began to be introduced. Originally it was the norm for animals to spend their time behind bars (these original enclosures are still on display), but conditions gradually improved within the mid twentieth century.

Melbourne was the first to open an enclosure simulating an African savannah for its lions which influenced other organisations around the world – Upgrades have also been given to other species over the years.

On a more touristy note, the place is definitely somewhere you’ll enjoy getting lost in. As it’s written above, Melbourne Zoo is where our earliest memories can take flight. I’ve been going there for years and the place has never failed to impress (even when a galah bit my finger at the age of three).

Other more promising memories include giant tortoises that, truthfully, have some speed in them, and the gorillas; seeing baby Yakini (one of the Zoo’s many momentous births) for the first time and a full grown fellow punching the glass we were watching it through (touristy note, these guys take the best pictures).

Melbourne Zoo isn’t just for the young too; I’m among the individuals who’s gone there with sketchbook and pencil to draw what’s on display (I would’ve sketched on my last venture but the heat was on).

This February visitors can also enjoy the Rhythm of Africa in the evening and spend the night with a Roar ‘n’ Snore experience; seeing the animals when they’re more active.

In saying all of this, and at the risk of repeating myself too many times, should you be in the neighbourhood, swing by this brilliant landmark. It has delighted many generations and continues to do so, which I was happy to witness not long ago – My sister’s children made the trip for the first time and seeing their photos on Facebook brought to light days of old. Passing wisdom onto my niece also was a moment.

Remember: Don’t stick your finger in the aviary


If you liked ‘Zu Dayz’ you can find more of Brian Sherlock’s work on his blog, The Sheep Was Here, at: www.thesheepwashere.blogspot.com.au 

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