Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Auckland Zoo in its 90th year

December this year is the 90th anniversary of Auckland Zoo.  That isn't why I popped over to visit, just after photographing fire engines at MOTAT. I just decided to have a wander about, by myself (other visits were with others, so I couldn't really plan my own time) for a $22 adult ticket. Worthwhile, as I did enjoy myself.

At the Motion's Road entry, a sign telling you that here is the Auckland Zoo.

Just inside, I question whether this memorial is in its original position, seeing as the Motions Road entry wasn't opened up until the 1960s. (Update 1 June 2012: Liz has just pointed out -- and I should have thought of it myself -- that the plaque has the wrong date. The zoo was officially opened, with all pomp, ceremony and famous faces, on Saturday, 16 December 1922, not the 17th as someone has gone to considerable expense back in time to basicaly chisel in stone. Oh dear.)

The zoo grounds, looking west toward Point Chevalier, 11 February 1925. Ref 1-W654, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library

 1940 aerial. Auckland Council GIS.

In 1940, the zoo was virtually half the size. In 1961, the area of the former transit camp to the south was incorporated into the complex, and today houses the Pridelands exhibits.

2008 aerial, Auckland Council GIS

Zoo Plan (.pdf). This, though, did not stop me getting terribly lost ...

Possibly one of  artist Jeff Thomson's herd of 13 elephants which graced Albert Park in 1985.

On to Pridelands.

Zebra, likely 1920s. Ref 35-R164, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library.

 Possibly 1920s. Ref 35-R167, Sir George Grey Special Collections

Part of the original 1920s redevelopment and landscaping of the site, I do like this bridge. It helped me get the heck out of the Te Wai Nui exhibit when I got lost and confused in a maze of pathways and security gates. Climbing the steps up to the bridge helped me get home. I therefore have a great fondness and appreciation for this bridge. (Memo to the Zoo -- please make things easier for the easily confused, such as myself. Ta.)

A model kauri timber dam. Well, that's what the info panel said ...

I blundered into the bush part of the Te Wai Nui exhibits. Trying to get out -- I spotted the kereru (native wood pigeon). The shots aren't the best, but -- it's the first time I've seen the species alive.

Artificial whale bones?

This is the entry. I, of course, did things the wrong way ...

The meerkat just beyond caught my eye.

I didn't cover the whole zoo -- hot day, tired feet, and a strong urge to go home commanded that a visit to the tiger enclosure was my last destination.

Gradually, I worked out a good vantage point from which to photograph the tiger far below.

Then told others there of the good spot.

I hope to return later this year, to see what the rest of the place is like, so there could be a Zoo Part 2 post. As a rather jaded person when it comes to zoos and other wild animal collections, and their place in conservation/education etc, I must say that, yes, the $22 was worth it for a bit of a look.

Update: Yes -- here's part 2.


  1. I really seriously need to get down to visit and soon!

  2. Some great photos. I especially like the last tiger one.

  3. These are the best Zoo photos I have ever seen. The enclosures are wonderful to see, just like having the animals in their natural environment and 200% better than the cages I remember as a child.
    I haven't been to my Adelaide Zoo in a long while, but I plan on going soonish.

  4. Thanks very much, River. I've visted the zoo again today, to see the older areas, so -- Zoo Photos part 2 will be coming soon. Cheers!