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Adelaide Zoo

Adelaide Zoo is one of Adelaide’s most iconic attractions and home to more than 2,500 animals and 250 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. These are exhibited over eight hectares of magnificent botanic surroundings just to the north of Adelaide City’s parklands.

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Adelaide Zoo

Adelaide Zoo is one of Adelaide’s most iconic attractions and home to more than 2,500 animals and 250 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. These are exhibited over eight hectares of magnificent botanic surroundings just to the north of Adelaide City’s parklands.

Our Places

Adelaide Zoo

Adelaide Zoo is one of Adelaide’s most iconic attractions and home to more than 2,500 animals and 250 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. These are exhibited over eight hectares of magnificent botanic surroundings just to the north of Adelaide City’s parklands.


With the pandemic crisis drawing to an end, restrictions are easing and there has never been a better time to visit the zoo.

It is the second oldest zoo in the nation and represents a significant part of South Australia’s heritage and social history. Since Adelaide Zoo first opened to the public in 1883, generations of South Australians have shared in the wonder of a visit to the zoo. Five buildings within the zoo have been listed as state heritage places on the South Australian Heritage Register.

A visit will take several hours as it’s an adventure and discovery experience for the family. There is lots of walking and sightseeing to do. It’s important to bring water, snacks and sunscreen. There are two on-site food options for quick snacks and lunch options.

Curious Red Pandas

Charitable Organisation with a Conservation Focus

Adelaide Zoo is administered by the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia Inc (trading as Zoos South Australia and Zoos SA); which also administers the Monarto Safari Park. The zoo also has a focus on educational programs. There is a selection of “get to know the zoo” type of tours, a large “children’s zoo” area, and from April 2009, an educational area for secondary school students and their teachers.

As a charitable society dedicated to conservation with a mission to save species from extinction and to connect people with nature, Adelaide Zoo works collaboratively with the Department for Education and Child Development to design and implement programs that connect people with nature by informing, empowering and inspiring people to take action for conservation.

Adelaide Zoo offers self-facilitated and Zoo staff facilitated programs that reflect ‘big’ educational ideas around conservation and sustainability with an emphasis on youth voice and agency. The programs incorporate action-based learning and inquiry methodologies. The Zoo relies on the generous support from the community to care for endangered animals, undertake research and conservation programs and delight and educate zoo visitors.

We save species from extinction by breeding endangered animals and conducting research into animal welfare. We connect people with nature by providing access for the general public and education providers to our zoos.

Royal Zoological Society Of South Australia Inc. A large-scale charity established in 1882. 

Elaine Bensted, Chief Executive of Zoos SA (Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park)

Elaine Bensted has been Chief Executive since 2012 of Zoos SA which operates both Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park. Prior to her appointment as Chief Executive, Elaine held the position of Chief Executive for TAFE SA and preceding this held senior roles in both state and local government.

Elaine’s qualifications include an MBA and a Masters in Public Policy and Management. Elaine also holds qualifications in accounting and finance. In 2014, Elaine was the recipient of the Australian Institute of Management’s Not for Profit Manager Award (the Australian Institute of Management is now known as the Institute for Managers and Leaders).

Elaine Bensted approaches challenges with a mindset of learning. Her unique perspective comes from her extensive experience working in the education system.

Outside of her work with Zoos SA, Elaine is also Vice President of Zoos & Aquarium Association (ZAA), Board member of Children’s University Advisory Board, the University of Australia Business School Program Advisory Board, The Australian Rhino Project Board, International Koala Centre of Excellence Advisory Board, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) Membership & Ethics Committee and member of the Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland Board.

Since being in the role of Chief Executive of Zoos SA, Elaine has led an improvement in the financial position of the charity and has increased the Zoos SA membership base.

Elaine is married with an adult daughter and is the proud long-time owner of German Shepherd Dogs. Elaine has never seen work-life balance as a challenge and doesn’t really the term. This is because work isn’t ‘work’ if you love what you do. Elaine believes in putting all energy into what is most important: for example, she doesn’t iron, because she doesn’t think it’s important.

Elaine is grateful that she’s always had the freedom to pursue both career and family, as her husband was a very active father. Her daughter is now grown up and lives abroad. Elaine is a life-long animal lover and hopes to inspire a love of all creatures to the community and future generations.

I see it as a privilege, honour and huge responsibility to lead such an iconic organisation that is delivering on such a critical mission. I enjoy working with immensely passionate staff and volunteers in an amazing work environment with a lot  of opportunities for “wow” moments that no other job could ever provide. 

We’re a conservation charity that works around the globe to help save species.

Elaine Bensted – Chief Executive of Zoos SA

Elaine Bensted

Fully Immersive Experience

Adelaide Zoo offers an interactive experience with free Wi-Fi access and their own ‘Adelaide Zoo App‘ (with KernWi-Fi assistance), which was a first in Australia to use ibeacon technology. This allows plenty of chances to get up close and personal with the animals as its like having a virtual animal keeper and tour guide in your hand. The app provides an interactive map featuring information about the zoo, its animals and conservation work.

Adelaide Zoo has a focus on the historical Gondwana “supercontinent” which later emerged into South America, India, Africa, Australia and South East Asia. The botanic similarities between the regions are featured in exhibits and cleverly incorporated into the well maintained fauna and gardens. This includes an Asian Rainforest and an Australian Rainforest Wetlands walk-through aviary.

The app is a fantastic educational tool, allowing students to unlock previously unseen information and use it to learn about important animal and conservation issues.

iBeacon technology provides location-specific content to visitors through the use of Bluetooth technology via 65 ‘beacons’ distributed throughout the Adelaide Zoo site.

Chief Executive, Elaine Bensted

Adelaide Zoo Features and Facilities

The best way to learn more about Adelaide Zoo is to visit heir website. In addition to browsing ‘What’s On’‘News’ and ‘Online Gift Shop’ (gift vouchers available), you can also plan your visit by downloading the Adelaide Zoo map. Make sure to plan your route beforehand so you get to see all of the animal exhibits, beautifully maintained gardens and adventure experiences.

The Bamboo Forest, surrounding the Giant Panda Exhibit, is breathtaking. The South East Asian Exhibit combines two parts and was finished in 2006. This brought together the exhibits to Sumatran orangutans and siamangs & Sumatran tigers. Adelaide Zoo is famous for having the best bird collection and display in all Australia. A large walk-through aviary takes visitors past the two gibbon islands towards the tiger enclosures.

Adelaide Zoo recently constructed a nature inspired adventure playground which is suitable for all children’s’ abilities. The new play space is a lovely environment where visitors can let their imaginations run wild, have fun, challenge themselves and explore the natural world. The Variety Children’s Zoo opened in late September 2019 and is located right near nature playground and Wisteria Café. This allows you to sit back and enjoy a coffee while the kids learn, explore and meet some new animal friends.

Adelaide Zoo is a relaxing green city oasis and vibrant sanctuary that gives you the feeling of stepping into an exotic and wonderous environment. It’s full of diversity, bright colours and unique things to see and do. The ongoing objective to offer families, visitors and learners an intimate zoo experience is commendable. With elements of curiosity, fun and surprise, you can enjoy one of the free daily keeper tours, an exclusive behind the scenes animal experience and keeper talks. You can also join an Adelaide Zoo free walkabout tour throughout the day. Tours and animal experiences are once again emerging as the pandemic crisis eases (visit the website to learn more).

Adelaide Zoo is in close proximity to the Botanical Gardens of South Australia, South Australia Museum and the Migration Museum, Adelaide. If you and the family have the energy, you can combine these experiences for a fun packed day out!

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