If you’re like me and enjoy going to the zoo, Zoo Friends is the way to go.
Why I’m a Zoo Friends Member:
Cost of entry:
While the cost of entry for a one time visit may not be something you’re all too excited to spend when you’re a relatively broke twenty-three year old, the zoo friends membership is truly something worth buying, especially once you realise that if you go more than twice a year you’ve already saved money. The price of the membership helps fund Taronga Zoo and their conservation projects, which makes me feel like my money is worth something.
Kids go free:
Not just the usual under 4 years old either.
In 2017, Taronga Zoo introduced a new sign up system where each paying adult or concession can have up to two children (under 16) added to their membership. Keep in mind these two children have to be the same two children for the duration of that membership, so it’s not a transferrable guest pass.
Despite that small concession, it works out that if bought online 2 Adults and 4 Children could visit the zoo for a year for $198. Split evenly that works out to $33 per person and if you pack your own lunch it is quite a reasonable expense for a single day out, let alone unlimited days out for the year.
Freedom to leave:
After watching a mother at Disney Word try to get her children to behave by threatening to leave even though they’d just arrived, I appreciate the sense of security that Zoo Friends gives you. While you likely wouldn’t follow through on that threat unless you had an annual pass to Disney, it’s the same thing with the zoo. By having the Zoo Friends membership if you happen to go on an off day (whether it is an off day for yourself, the people your with, the animals or the weather) you can leave with absolutely no worries about how much that visit just cost you – except maybe petrol and parking or public transport costs.
Having spent 1 hour waiting to get on the ferry because so many people were trying to leave the zoo at the same time, I have a new appreciation for driving to the zoo. Yes the ferry brings with it it’s own excitement but once you’ve done that enough times, parking for (I believe) a $12 flat fee is something I will be eternally grateful for. Especially as it allows the tired zoo trekkers to fall asleep without having to worry about herding them on and off the ferry and subsequent other transportation.
Discounted prices around the zoo:
There’s something weird about having fish and chips at the aquarium but I have no such qualms at the zoo, I generally split the adult serving between myself and another adult or myself and two kids because I find it is too much food for me. Despite this reducing the cost of the meal I do appreciate the 10% off food that Zoo Friends provides. I am also definitely a fan of the 15% off the Zoo Shops because one of my little cousins seems to live for the souvenir shop whenever we go somewhere.
Free admission to other zoos:
Not only does Zoo Friends give you free admission to Taronga Zoo and Western Plains Zoo, you also get free admission to Adelaide, Melbourne, and Perth Zoos. (Note: the free child pass does not transfer in Perth and Adelaide.)
While you will have to pay for your transport and lodging (unless you’ve got some very nice friends) having the ability to go to something for free in another city is always something I enjoy.
While these are some very nice perks for me it always comes back to cost per visit, for as long as I know I’m going to visit the zoo a few times a year I will be a zoo friends member and if it suits you I’d definitely recommend it too.
See you next time,