Taronga Zoo celebrates its 95th birthday this month, with the official opening of the famous Edwardian Entrance building and a new visitors’ plaza.
NSW Environment and Heritage Minister, Robyn Parker will officially open the new buildings today and said the Taronga Master Plan project included a heritage renovation of the copper-domed building, brand new admissions offices and new visitor facilities incorporating a café and shop.
“The completion of this wonderful joint project between the NSW Government and the Zoo just adds to this world class facility. If people don’t have time to spend wandering around the Zoo they can pop in for a coffee and see some wildlife without paying to enter.
“The Plaza and the renovation were completed earlier this year after about 20 months of construction enabling the Zoo to gradually introduce the computerised admission systems.”
The whole project was designed to make the Main Entrance easy for everyone to use. The new development also incorporates a bus interchange to bring visitors quickly and easily from the Zoo Ferry or from the North Sydney transport hubs.
The whole project is very green incorporating recycled or plantation-grown timbers, an underground water catchment system in the green park around the car park to utilise rainwater at the top of the Zoo’s hillside site, and careful location of the car park to avoid the need for electrical ventilation.
Visitors can now stroll through a green park to the Main Entrance, which also houses the upper Sky Safari Cable Car terminal and is surrounded by many of the Zoo’s popular Australian wildlife exhibits, including koalas, the recently refurbished Rainforest Aviary, the Australian Walkthrough with its wallabies, kangaroos and emu, the Platypus exhibit and the Australia’s Nightlife nocturnal exhibit.
“The renovation of the heritage-listed Main Entrance has really returned the building to its original 1916 glory. It includes accurate period colour schemes and magnificent statuary on the Edwardian Entrance building, which was completely recast, the original copper dome was replaced and the balcony at the rear was re-opened.
“The construction of the $16 million project was jointly funded by the NSW Government and the Taronga Foundation under the Zoo’s 12 year redevelopment Master Plan. The Zoo has already completed the children’s environmental adventure exhibit, Backyard to Bush, the Rainforest Trail exhibit which is home to Taronga’s successful Asian Elephant conservation breeding program and the Great Southern Oceans mega-exhibit, Ms Parker said.
Media contact: Kelly Stevens 0419-469-367