About Hamilton Zoo

With its focus on conservation, expansive site and an array of exotic and interesting animals, Hamilton Zoo is the second most popular visitor destination in Hamilton. It is an accredited member of the Zoo & Aquarium Association (Australasia).

Hamilton Zoo was founded in 1969 as Hilldale Game Farm, a private operation run by the Powell family.

In 1984, with closure imminent due to financial pressures, Hamilton City Council took over the operation in response to community concerns over its future.

Sinc​​e assuming ownership of the zoo, Hamilton City Council has gradually expanded both the site and operation.

On average, the zoo attracts about 125,000 visitors are year – many of them local families who make return visits.

Hamilton Zoo is also noted for its lush green appearance. The site is tree-clad, an important feature of the many and varied enclosures and exhibits.

The zoo's total land area is now 28 hectares, with more than 600 animals housed in 49 different enclosures.

The zoo's most popular animal exhibits are chimpanzees, rhinoceros, giraffes and tigers, and visitors can experience "Face2Face" encounters with selected species.

Conservation is a major focus for Hamilton Zoo, and it keeps important relationships with several native conservation groups. These include the Department of Conservation, Kea Conservation Trust, Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, the neighbouring Waiwhakareke Heritage Park and Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust.  International organisations supported by Hamilton Zoo include the Red Panda Network, 21st Century Tiger, Save The Rhino, Traffic and the Jane Goodall Institute.

The zoo is supported by the Friends of Hamilton Zoo, and Hamilton Zoo Hosts. Currently comprising about 100 committed volunteers, these two groups efforts contribute to both the running of the zoo (man hours) and also investment through fundraising, with donations going toward development and maintenance of the zoo's physical assets and new enclosures.

Hamilton Zoo operations are overseen by Zoo Director Stephen Standley, who has been in charge since 2006.

Hamilton Zoo is open 364 days of the year – the only day it's closed is Christmas Day.​

Page reviewed: 15 Sep 2016 3:53pm