There’s no cooler place to be on a Friday night than the Melbourne Zoo. Thanks to the Zoo Twilights series, you can enjoy some of the biggest names in music (think: José González) amidst the trees and the animals. I’d been wanting to go to Zoo Twilights ever since I moved to Melbourne, so jumped at the chance to have a fun Friday night with The Plus Ones co-founder Ruki.
Walk in the Zoo’s gates and you’ll be directed by the friendly staff to head to a large grassy area where the main stage was set up. On the first Friday of Zoo Twilights, we were impressed to see that the rain hadn’t dampened Melburnians’ go-getter attitudes. Every inch of grass was covered with picnic blankets. People were just starting to take off their ponchos when we arrived. Nothing, not even some rain, was going to stop them from seeing main act Tex Perkins and the Tennessee Four and Rachel Tidd do their stellar Johnny Cash tribute show.
Neither Ruki nor I realised you were allowed to bring a picnic, but that’s just fine — there are food stalls set up for those who aren’t food-savvy selling everything from Japanese to American fare. Drinks-wise, Fat Yak was doing a roaring trade.
The sounds of the Man in Black echoed throughout the Zoo as Ruki and I went off to explore the grounds. I recommend getting there early so you can not only nab a spot for your blanket, but also explore the zoo. The doors open at 5.30pm, with the animal precincts closing at 7pm (the same time the main acts go on). Thankfully for latecomers like ourselves, there were still some animals out’n’about. We spent time ogling the giraffes and the zebras, and a crazy African animal we didn’t even know existed: the Eastern Bongo. But by far the highlight of the evening was heading to the Aviary. Inside the enclosure was a cage where lurked at cassowary; above, black cockatoos preened while waterbirds took flight. We were the only people there, and the birds all went about their business, flying and calling to one another. In the background, the music soared. There’s nothing else like it.
You’ll never get a cooler experience at any zoo. Grab your friends, a picnic blanket, and take it in turns to wander around the animals as the world-class musicians perform.
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Theresa loves exploring Melbourne more than (almost) anything in the world.
Zoo Twilights run 29 January to 12 March 2016. Many shows are sold out, so make sure to book ASAP.