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Going Wild!

Find out what various zoos and wildlife parks around Australia have to offer K-3 students.

Alice Springs Desert Park and the Territory Wildlife Park

Northern Territory

Territory wildlife parkThroughout the Northern Territory, the Parks and Wildlife Commission operates many parks which showcase the diverse natural habitats for which the Territory is famous – from the tropics to the desert. To complement these, the Territory Wildlife Park, near Darwin, and the Alice Springs Desert Park in the Centre offer extensive interpretive displays to provide visitors with a window on the wider landscape. They are both popular tourist attractions and scientific research facilities, and one of their main aims is education for all ages.

While the Alice Springs Desert Park concentrates on the arid environments of Australia, including the traditional use of the desert plants and animals by Aboriginal people, the Territory Wildlife Park focuses on the tropics.

Each park is unique in its environmental presentation – with landscaped plantings of native flora, aviaries, aquaria, nocturnal houses and birds of prey displays. Other exhibits include interactive models, artwork and photographic displays, familiarising visitors with issues relevant to the area. Both Parks also offer a diverse range of talks, aimed at arousing curiosity about the environment, as well as enhancing knowledge and understanding.

Each Park is an absolute must for young visitors to each region of the Northern Territory. Throughout their visit at each Park, the children are wide-eyed and excited and their chatter and amazement at the natural environment is long lasting. Children’s open responses to these exciting experiences give teachers and parents the opportunity to commence the education process about the environment, ecosystems and conservation in a subtle and fun way.

Educating young people is an important part of the aims of the parks and in association with the NT Department of Education, both parks have a full-time Environmental Education Officer, who are qualified teachers. These officers are available for schools and specialist groups to assist other educators with developing programs to make the best use of each park as a teaching/learning resource. A variety of materials for a wide range of student ages and curriculum areas are available.

Information and bookings to Alice Springs Desert Park: Ph: (08) 8951 8711 or Fax: (08) 8951 8720

Information and bookings for Territory Wildlife Park contact: Ph: (08) 8988 7200 or Fax: (08) 8988 7201 5000.

Healesville Sanctuary

Badger Creek Road, Healesville

Healesville SanctuaryAustralia’s foremost wildlife sanctuary is nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, a one-hour drive east of Melbourne. Exploring fern gullies, wetlands and forests of the Sanctuary, students will encounter a diversity of Australian animals in a natural setting. Animal ‘close-up’ presentations by Sanctuary staff, including the popular ‘Birds of Prey’, provide an exciting and memorable experience for students during their visit.

Melbourne Zoo

Elliott Avenue, Parkville, Vic.

Experience the wonders of wildlife with a walk through Australia’s oldest award-winning zoo – Melbourne Zoo. More than 350 wildlife species are on view every day of the year. The zoo exhibits animals and plants, offers educational programs, undertakes zoological research and works with other organisations for the conservation of animals and their habitats.

Melbourne zooSome of the Prep–Year 2 programs offered by the Melbourne Zoo are:


Fur, Feathers, Scales and Skin (Science) Bird, Mammal, Reptile (Science/SOSE) Through close-up encounters with our Zoo School animals, explore the differences between birds, mammals and reptiles. Compare and contrast these differences and look at the characteristics that make them unique.

Students will observe a range of animals and relate their features to their need to find food and avoid becoming food for other animals. This topic focuses on the differences between the features of predator and prey animals. Observing the interrelationships between animals will help students to actively develop food chains.

Feeding Times

For further information: Ph: (03) 9285 9300 Fax: (03) 9285 9350