Zoo’s Waterhole Precinct officially opened

Environment Minister Matt Kean and Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders today officially opened Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s newest precinct the Waterhole.

The Waterhole precinct, a $10.2 million project jointly funded by the NSW Government and Taronga, features an open style café with integrated animal exhibits.

Guests can enjoy a meal or relax with a coffee whilst watching meerkats forage, and kids can explore a fun play area.

The Waterhole, which was built by local firm David Payne Constructions is situated at the halfway point of the zoo circuit overlooking a number of herd species including blackbuck and zebra. It has revitalised part of the zoo that was first developed at its opening in 1977, including a small kiosk that served guests for decades.

Mr Saunders said the Waterhole precinct will add to the unique visitor experience provided at the zoo

“Taronga Western Plains Zoo is the number one tourist attraction in regional NSW, and the Waterhole precinct takes the visitor experience to a whole new level,” Mr Saunders said.

“As we come out the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic we want people to come and visit our region, and what better reason than to see the new Waterhole precinct at the zoo as well as the wide range of animals on exhibit.”

Mr Kean said the Waterhole is a fantastic new addition to Taronga Western Plains Zoo and is now a must-do for visitors when on safari in Dubbo.

“The Waterhole precinct is the perfect place for zoo guests to relax outdoors with animals and nature,” said Mr Kean.

“The play area will be a real highlight of the overall zoo experience especially during the warmer months, with the unique space designed to allow water play so kids can cool off in the summer.”

Taronga Conservation Society Australia director and chief executive Cameron Kerr said the new facility will also continue the zoo’s commitment to education and the environment, and will complement the Lion Pride Lands and Wild Herds precincts opened in recent years

“This new precinct and the water play area will allow us to help communicate the importance of healthy waterways and encourage guests to make changes at home that will ultimately benefit the local environment,” Mr Kerr said.

“Visitors to Taronga Western Plains Zoo will definitely notice the changes and be inspired by the stories of conservation and wildlife that each new precinct shares.

“We are really proud of this new precinct and we are sure it will be a popular space for families to relax and take a break throughout the day whilst exploring the Zoo,” said Mr Kerr.

The new Waterhole precinct is set to be a highlight for guests in the upcoming July school holidays, with the zoo already experiencing a high volume of enquiries for this period, a positive sign for tourism in regional NSW and the road to recovery from one of the most severe droughts on record and the impacts of Covid-19. The Waterhole is open from 10am daily. For more information about planning a visit to Taronga Western Plains Zoo including purchasing tickets online visit www.taronga.org,au/dubbo.

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