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Hamilton Zoo

Hamilton Zoo is located in Hamilton, New Zealand and opened in 1969.

The zoo is operated by the Hamilton city council and is accredited by the Zoo and Aquarium Association.


Meet the keeper talks

A range of talks are held each day at the zoo. Check the website for which ones are on when you plan to visit.

Children’s Playground

At the top of the zoo is a playground where kids can let off a bit of steam.

hamilton zoo



New Zealand

Year Opened


Land Size

25ha (61.8acres)

Number of Animals

600 (2020)


In 1969 Mr and Mrs Powell founded the Hillside game farm where birds were raised for the acclimatisation society. Alongside of this they assembled a small collection of exotic birds and mammals which people could view.

The 1960s and 70s had seen the creation of a large number of zoos in Western countries. Hillside was part of this renaissance but after a few years it was struggling to survive. Many of these zoos went under at this time but Hamilton Zoo was lucky with council stepping in during 1976 to save the zoo. They brought the 14 hectare site, the animals and the buildings. They then appointed a trust to run the zoo.

Up until 1984 the council ran the zoo but in this year they looked at closing it. A large public petition sought to stop this from happening. The council decided to keep Hillside open and its management was transferred to the Department of Recreation and Welfare.

Officials decided the zoo needed a clear direction and work began on a concept plan. Its first improvement was adding the zoo education centre in 1987. Zoo facilities were upgraded with new exhibits, paved paths, boardwalks and large amounts of plants added.

So that the zoo could be better lead a zoo director was appointed in 1989.

During 2001 the tiger habitat was completed.

In 2004 the zoo welcomed six chimpanzees from Auckland Zoo to live in the newly finished chimp enclosure.

2009 saw the zoo receive a pair of siamangs from Auckland Zoo.

Main Exhibits

Savannah Paddock

A mixed species enclosure where blackbuck, giraffezebra and ostrich roam together.

Free Flight Sanctuary

One of the Southern hemispheres largest walk in aviaries. Visitors can enter the enclosure to see the birds.

Chimpanzee Habitat

Built in 2004 this habitat is home to a group of chimpanzees that moved from Auckland Zoo along with a female from Adelaide Zoo.

Parrot Court

Home to a number of birds from Australia, India and South America.


A home for the zoos lemurs, capuchins, tamarins and agoutis.


Hamilton Zoo Website –

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