The Melbourne Zoo is the perfect venue for a fun-filled day out and about. There are over 320 species of animals to be discovered over a sprawling 55 acres of diverse terrain, dotted with cafes, parks and picnic grounds. For the more adventurous at heart, the zoo also has daily animal feeding encounters and they are fantastic.
My plus one and I got to experience a close up encounter with the squirrel monkeys before indulging in the zoo’s decadent ‘High Tea’ experience. Yes, high tea at a zoo (and it’s friggin’ fabulous). Anyway, back to the gorgeous squirrel monkeys. If you don’t know what a squirrel monkey is, think: fluffy grey cat meets yellow furby. They are insanely cute.
Each experience is able to accommodate up to eight people, starting with a quick overview of what to do once we got into the enclosure. We then got to don groovy smocks before it was all systems go. I got to enter the enclosure with my plus one and a fantastic zoo keeper. We got super lucky and had senior primate keeper, Ulli Weiher, escorting us. Having hand raised one of the zoo’s silverbacks, Ulli has an exceptional wealth of experience in her role.
Once in the enclosure, Uli entices the monkeys with some juicy grapes. It was a ridiculously cute feeding frenzy. The monkeys are super friendly and come straight up to sit on your shoulders and arms. I could not believe how soft and light these little guys were. They felt like little teddy bears clambering all over me.
It feels like the experience is over in a flash, but the memories made are definitely for a lifetime. If you do want to get up close and personal with some of the furry inhabitants, there are plenty of options. The zoo offers close ups with seals, giraffes, lemurs, meerkats and kangaroos. I think these experiences would make a fantastic gift and are worth booking in advance, especially for a weekend session.
Ashanie Perera is a foodaholic and avid eater. When she’s not dreaming about her next meal, she can be found running around the block to continue fitting into her current clothes. @thepursuitofchubbyness