New South Wales
Size of the Zoo
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is set upon 300ha (741 acres) of land.
Plans to develop an open range zoo for Sydney began in the late 1960s. It aimed to provide Taronga Zoo a place where they could breed the larger, grazing animals which needed more space.
The site at Dubbo, a former World War Two army camp was decided upon as the site and construction began.
Opening day was February 28th 1977, when it opened the zoo was home to 35 animals which hailed from six countries. This was the first time a zoo had opened in Australia for 60 years.
During 1992 Queen Elizabeth II visited Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
On January 21st 2008, the zoo’s name was changed from just Western Plains Zoo to Taronga Western Plains Zoo to connect it with the work of the Taronga Conservation Society Australia.
Number of Animals
Over 1,000 animals are housed at Taronga Western Plains Zoo representing over 90 species.
Safari Park Playground
The playground allows children to explore Africa through play. Timber play spaces featuring balancing beams, san pits and bridges complement statues of hippos, rhinos and giraffes along with a jeep which they can explore.
A jumping castle is also located nearby.
Cuddles is an African elephant who has lived at Taronga Western Plains Zoo since late 1977. She is, at the time of writing, Australia’s only African elephant.
This exhibit recreates the plains of Africa with herds of giraffe, ostrich and antelope mixing together in the same habitat.
Visitors can view exhibits located side by side for both the African and Asian elephant.
Asian exhibit area
These habitats showcase the animals of Asia. Lively small clawed otters frolic in their stream while nearby Indian rhinoceros can be seen. Tigers stalk in their enclosure while a group of siamangs enjoy their own island.
Located at the entry to the zoo are three islands sitting in the middle of the Savannah Lake. These provide a home for ring-tailed and black and white ruffed lemurs along with spider monkey’s.
Exhibits displaying dingoes, koalas, echidnas, kangaroos and more are located near to each other.