Building a Better Zoo

Building a Better Zoo

What's in the works?

Taronga Conservation Society Australia continues to improve and expand on its animal habitats, conservation and research programs, whilst delivering highly immersive, engaging and interactive experiences for our guests. 

Our capital works program will continue to deliver transformational outcomes post 2020 following several new funding announcements from the State and Federal Governments in November 2020. These exciting new capital projects will enable Taronga to expand its important research and conservation works for our endemic wildlife following the devastating bushfires of 2019 – 20 summer along the NSW and Victorian coastline. 

Both Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo will continue to boost their transformational guest experiences, by creating increased wildlife tourism and hospitality offerings as well as fostering unparalleled conservation research and education outcomes.

Learn more about the plans for Taronga Conservation Society Australia Capital Programs below.

Taronga Zoo Sydney

Taronga Wildlife Hospital, Sydney

Australia's first specialist wildlife veterinary teaching hospital.

Did you know Taronga is the largest contributor to veterinary services in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in NSW and a major national training ground for veterinary staff specialising in native wildlife treatment? 

The new facility will replace the existing veterinary, quarantine and animal nutrition facilities. The relocated and expanded hospital will not only provide modern facilities for wildlife care, nutrition and research but also significantly increase capacity for the treatment of resident animals in addition to expanding and improving capacity for the treatment and rehabilitation of wildlife species.

A central part of the design and purpose of the new hospital is the critical role it will play in education. The proposed new facilities will double the current teaching space and upskill future conservationists, students, veterinary practitioners, scientists and wildlife carers.

This new specialist hospital will also play a vital role in engaging the public in wildlife conservation by deeply engaging Taronga Zoo's visitors in previously ‘back of house’ activities including opportunities to view animal treatment, surgeries, and breeding centres.

The new Hospital will:

  • Increase capacity for wildlife treatment, rehabilitation and improved wildlife first response times
  • Increase space for training and educating 1,000s of veterinary professionals, volunteer wildlife carers and students
  • Increase space for quarantine and care of confiscated wildlife
  • Expand capacity for breeding endangered birds and mammals for release to the wild


  • June 2021 - Community consultation
  • July 2021 - State significant development application is lodged
  • Late 2021 - Early site preparation works will commence
  • Early 2022 - Subject to approval, Phase 1 construction of Nutrition Centre will start
  • Late 2023 or early 2024 - Subject to approval, Phase 2 construction of Taronga Wildlife Hospital to start

Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Centre

Bolstering reptile and amphibian species from the brink of extinction. 

Taronga is a leader in reptile and amphibian conservation in Australia. We have brought back seven reptile and amphibian species from the brink of extinction.

The development of the new centre will allow Taronga to continue to lead the recovery of species that would otherwise be lost to future generations.  It will provide critical breeding space to support zoo-based conservation programs to ensure important species, such as Corroboree Frogs, are protected for decades to come.

The proposed centre will provide a new modern experience for guests to engage with reptiles and amphibians which will be designed with the latest best-practice standards for animal care and welfare. It will be an educational and multi-layered experience for guests that showcases the beauty and diversity of some of the most misunderstood and most imperilled creatures on the planet under threat, from climate change, disease and habitat modification.


  • July 2021 - State significant development application is lodged
  • Late 2021 - Early site preparation works will commence
  • Early 2022 - Subject to approval, construction will start
An artist's impression of Taronga Wildlife Hospital, Sydney (final design subject to change).
An artist's impression of Taronga Wildlife Hospital, Sydney (final design subject to change).
An artist's impression of Taronga Wildlife Hospital, Sydney (final design subject to change).
An artist's impression of Taronga Wildlife Hospital, Sydney (final design subject to change).

Upper Australia Habitat

One of Taronga Zoo’s most popular native animal exhibits will receive a $16 million revamp as part of NSW government funding, featuring an up-close Australian animal habitat experience. The new exhibit will house a specially designed koala encounter area with canopy walk, significant extensions to the kangaroo and wallaby walkthrough experience, refurbishment of Taronga's much-loved nocturnal exhibition and incorporation of underwater viewing of platypus. The revamp will also include a new western pavilion, tree top walkways and back-of-house and infrastructure upgrades.

This development will breathe new life into one of Australia's most iconic tourist destinations, particularly once international visitors can be welcomed through the gates to help Taronga recover following devastating impacts and challenges from the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.

This revitalised precinct allows for greater focus on giving visitors the opportunity to interact with animals that are unique to Australia and are vital improvements that will continue to give people a special connection to our wildlife and environment.

Demolition works are scheduled to begin in early 2021 and primary construction works scheduled to commence post mid-2021, with a target to have the precinct re-opened as soon as possible in 2023.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

Taronga Wildlife Hospital - Dubbo

This project will deliver a brand-new state-of-the-art Wildlife Hospital and Wildlife Clinic that will enable Taronga to expand its service offerings as well as continue to deliver excellence in wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and conservation, as well as ensure its at the forefront of delivering excellence in animal care and welfare. This project will increase the size of Taronga’s rehabilitation facilities and recovery capabilities, which were in high demand through the last drought and bushfire season.

Construction of the Taronga Wildlife Hospital Dubbo is currently scheduled to commence early 2021.

Taronga Platypus Conservation Centre

The new Taronga Western Plains Zoo facility expands the Sydney operation to regional areas throughout NSW, QLD, Victoria and Tasmania.

As part of an NSW government commitment to secure platypus populations, Taronga Conservation Society Australia (TCSA) will deliver a new multi-purpose Platypus Conservation Centre at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, NSW. 

The facility will deliver:

  • The capacity to support a catchment-scale insurance population of up to 65 platypi
  • A research centre to observe and understand platypus breeding behaviour
  • A visitor centre to engage communities and inspire students
  • A naturalistic pre-release creek to observe platypus in a wild setting & build condition before releasing animals into the wild.

Construction of the Taronga Platypus Conservation Centre is currently scheduled to commence in 2022.

African Waterhole and Overlook Cafe - officially open

The waterhole café offers an opportunity to interact with mischievous meerkats while providing an interactive water play picnic spot.

This African-themed café precinct was successfully opened to guests in mid-2020, and has received highly positive feedback from guests.

Awards and Recognition

Over the many years of capital development from our first masterplan in 2001 to the current, Taronga has achieved many industry awards with its bespoke buildings and unique landscapes which are industry recognised as design and delivery leaders of exhibits, tourism, sustainability and hospitality assets throughout Australia and around the globe. 

Taronga Zoo Sydney

Capital Program - Awards and Recognition

  • Taronga Institute of Science & Learning – World leading 6 Star Greenstar environmental rating
  • Wildlife Retreat at Taronga – State and National Master Builders Association’s Excellence in Building and Construction Award in its category. Find out more and book a stay at the Wildlife Retreat
  • African Savannah recently won the Master Builders Association award for best public building in its category and sits along other buildings and exhibit landscapes as industry winners in design and construction
  • Taronga Conservation Theatre – State and National Master Builders Association award in its class
  • Taronga Top Entry Plaza - Master Builders Association award
  • Asian Elephant Rainforest - Master Builders Association award
  • Backyard to Bush Exhibit – Master Builders Association award

Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

Capital Program - Master Builders Association Awards (MBAA)

  • Children’s Playground – Master Builders Association Award winner
  • Elephants – Master Builders Association Award winner
  • Zoofari Lodge – Tourism and Master Builders Association Award winner
  • Billabong Camp – Tourism NSW winner