National Zoological Gardens - Family Outing and Tourist Attraction
The National Zoological Gardens, or better known as the Pretoria Zoo, was established in 1899. It attracts thousands of local and international visitors every year. The Pretoria Zoo is the only zoo within South Africa that has the honor of having National Status, making this zoo a leading attraction in Pretoria.
With a total of 4,340 different creatures roaming their enclosures, all with different needs and habits, the National Zoological Gardens have tried to recreate each enclosure, to resemble each animal's natural habitat, as closely as possible. The Pretoria Zoo houses endangered species such as babirusa, sloths and maned wolves. Walk through aviaries have 161 species of birds overhead, from four different habitats. The National Zoological Gardens also has a free roaming farmyard, and a nursery where animal babies are cared for. Most importantly, there is a fully equipped veterinary hospital, to ensure that the animal are always in good health, and to take care of unexpected injury as quickly as possible. Other species that live in the National Zoological Gardens are 7 amphibian species, 97 mammal species, 297 fish species and 106 reptile species.
The National Zoological Gardens also plays an important part in the conservation and breeding of endangered animals. Their projects include two breeding centers namely Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre and the Mokopane Game Breeding centre. Lichtenburg concentrates on animals such as the white rhino, cape mountain zebra and Arabian oryx, and Mokopane specializes in species from Africa, South America and South East Asia. The Pretoria Zoo also has a satellite zoo and animal park, Emerald Animal World.
Whilst visiting the National Zoological Gardens, children are able to join the Adopt-An-Animal Club. This will include their entrance fee, and they will be issued with an adoption certificate for the particular animal they wish to adopt. This is just another incentive from the National Zoological Gardens to bring awareness to children of the importance of protecting nature.
The Pretoria Zoo has a restaurant and various kiosks for light refreshments, and a Zoovenir Shop, to remind you of your unforgettable experience. There are picnic spots and braai areas around the park, or take a ride on the Zoo Choo Choo Tractor Train, through parts of the zoo. For a bird's eye view on the Zoo and surrounding area, there is a cable car facility available. Aquarium Tours, Camping Tours and Night Tours are hosted by the Zoo, as are daily and specialized School programmes.