A mere 10 minutes from our home is the prettiest zoo I've ever been to! The National Zoo + Aquarium is amazing - it has all the animals that most zoos have - except no zebras or elephants, and the panda exhibit was closed the day we went. It's nestled inside the foliage as though it has always been there. There's very little concrete + the most AMAZING kids playground at the back, next to the cafe (well played, Canberra:) complete with a zip line. It has a small aquarium attached, as well as a lodge for overnight guests - you can wake up with a big cat right outside your 6" thick window!
We immediately bought an annual membership before we even went inside - the press about this place was that good. It starts with the teeniest monkeys, and works it was back to the big stuff - tigers, rhinos + giraffes. The aquarium is really sweet - quite the collection of snakes, I'll say! You can set up a "feed the large animal" experience, where you can feed hyenas, or even a white lion! We watched a group feed the hyena, and as cool as it was, my heart broke a little - an animal like this DOESN'T want to be fed raw meat from the supermarket through a hole in the glass. There's an area where emus and wallabies hang out - no barriers! You can pet them if they'll let you - the emus were WAY more in to this notion than the wallabies :)
We were there almost 4 hours, got lunch at the cafe + even spent a little time with our newest friends and their ADORABLE 2 year old :) On the way out, the boy took a header in the parking lot and scraped his chin, but all in all, it was a really successful trip ( he's fine :) ! Now that we are members, we can go whenever we want - maybe I really can become a National Geographic wildlife photographer ;)
We'll be returning many times - we have to put that membership to good use!! ;)