Over 40 Association members and friends (including Councillor Jackie Watts who was happy to see the Association in action) attended this year’s Winter Warmer at Melbourne Zoo on 9 August 2016 at the invitation of the Zoo’s Director, Kevin Tanner.
The enthusiastic group assembled at the Zoo entrance in spite of the inclement weather. Kevin initially provided an overview of the Zoo’s long and fascinating history from its establishment on the site in Royal Park in 1862 in the earliest days of the Colony – complete with showing some original artefacts dating from the 19th century.
The group then was lead by Kevin on a walk around some of the older parts of the Zoo including ‘back of house areas’ not usually accessible to the public. Elements of particular interest included one of the very old River Red gum trees that predates the establishment of the Zoo, the food preparation room for the carnivores, and the sophisticated waste recycling plant.
The highlight of the tour for most attendees was the opportunity to have a ride on the historic carousel – bringing back childhood memories for many. Kevin outlined development plans for the predators’ area and progressive redevelopment of other areas to continue to make the Zoo attractive to visitors – including changes to the main entrance to bring back some of the heritage features.
The evening concluded with more drinks and finger food while Kevin explained the Zoo’s efforts in working to ensure that no Victorian terrestrial vertebrate species goes extinct and answered questions from attendees. Association President thanked Kevin and Jacquie O’Brien (Communications Director) for their hospitality and encouraged members and friends to support the Zoo through visiting regularly, becoming members of Friends of the Zoo, and attending the summer concerts.