As of December, Western Sydney will basically become some kind of modern Rome—with an actual coliseum and lifestyle arena (at West HQ in Rooty Hill) and, near Blacktown, a brand new, sprawling zoo packed with exotic African animals.
Keith Urban fans will be happy to know he’s kicking off the opening of the Sydney Coliseum just before Christmas—but if you’re more into safaris, Lion King and awe-inducing furry friends (like lions, cheetahs, spider monkeys, orangutans and zebras), you’ll be happy to know Sydney Zoo is set to open Saturday 7 December.
Set across 16 hectares, Sydney Zoo isn't quite as big as Sydney's iconic Taronga Zoo, but it is set to be a rival attraction. And it’s now home to more than 2,000 animals including the aforementioned Lion King cast and 11 chimpanzees, 13 baboons, African painted dogs, red pandas, zebras and hyenas. It’s also got an aquarium and Australia’s largest reptile and nocturnal exhibit (yes, there will be scary snakes, bats and giant bugs).
Aussie animals will also get a look in too, with endangered national treasures like koalas, wombats, echidnas, dingos, emus and Tasmanian devils, as well as a couple of Kangaroo Island kangaroos also on show.
There’ll also be animal encounters, animal feeding, a petting zoo and one-off events like a 12km fun run that navigates the zoos rolling boardwalks.
The zoo’s conservation schemes are yet to be set out in detail, but in NSW's current native wildlife crisis and the serious loss of habitat due to excessive land clearing and absolutely devastating bushfires, we’re hoping Sydney Zoo's conservation efforts are pointed towards home.
To help out those affected by the NSW bushfires, including our native animals, head over here.
Image credit: Sydney Zoo