This month marks the celebration of Sydney WorldPride 2023, a LGBTQIA+ festival which provides an opportunity to commemorate the history of Pride activism and celebrate our diverse global communities. As the first time in over 50 years a city in the southern hemisphere has been chosen to host WorldPride, zoos and aquariums have embraced the unique opportunity for positive engagement within the region and truly brought the spirit of pride to life.


One such example was Zoos Victoria’s participation in the Midsumma Festival Pride March in St Kilda on Sunday, February 5. Marching to embrace all people and animals, Zoos Victoria said they couldn’t be prouder to support making Victoria a safer and more inclusive place for Australians from diverse backgrounds. Their participation in the Pride march truly embodied their values of compassion, inclusivity and trustworthiness. The day was a wonderful success for all involved.

(Zoos Victoria marching at the Midsumma Festival Pride March on February 5, Credit: Zoos Victoria)



At SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, the gentoo and king penguins proudly marched over a city skyline of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Sydney Tower Eye in a world-first Pride Penguin Parade. Accompanied by rainbow flag waving keepers, LGBTQIA+ representatives; Allie Selvaraj and Scott Brazelton and well renowned male gentoo couple; Sphen and Magic - spectators marvelled at the experience. 
Penguin Parade commentator and Keeper, Allie Selvaraj said “Our gorgeous penguins are so full of individual personality and are fitting representatives of love taking many forms in the animal kingdom. They are the perfect ambassadors for our fun, Sydney WorldPride tribute!”


(Left - Right: 1. King Penguins participating in the PRIDE Penguin Parade on February 24. 2. Gentoo Penguins and SEA LIFE Sydney Staff celebrating Pride Credit: SEA LIFE Sydney)


The event was featured alongside WILD LIFE & SEA LIFE’s Dating and Mating Campaign, which showcased love, breeding and youngster rearing in the animal kingdom from February 14 to March 5., The campaign featured educational wildlife talks, free face painting, photo moments and plenty of fun.  


(Left - Right: 1. Festive fun at SEA LIFE Sydney’s Dating and Mating Campaign. 2.Snake breeding Pride theme exhibition at SEA LIFE Sydney. 3. Dating and Mating Campaign Poster. Credit: SEA LIFE Sydney)



This year, Wellington Zoo will host their very first Zoo Pride event with the theme of ‘celebrating the diversity of the living world – across both animals and people!’. Scheduled to run over the second weekend of March, events including drag performances, face painting, rainbow-themed snacks and kapa haka (Māori performing arts) will be on show. They have also installed the rainbow artwork; Beacon by Shannon Novak which takes inspiration from kea features, the vibrant Wellington green gecko and Pride Flags, representing different sections of queer communities. Wellington Zoo looks forward to continuing their commitment to create a welcoming and safe environment for all members and allies of the Aotearoa’s rainbow communities. 

(Left-Right: 1. Omaka, tuatara gets in the spirit of Pride with a rainbow shining on her at Wellington Zoo. 2. Robin Yablind (pictured) will be performing at Wellington Zoo this weekend. They are featuring their tūī outfit – a native New Zealand bird often seen around Wellington and known for its bolshie personality. 3. Rainbow installation; Beacon by Shannon Novak has been installed at the entrance of Wellington Zoo to coincide with their first ever Zoo Pride event. Credit: Wellington Zoo)



Taronga Zoo Sydney’s giant bronze gorilla, Queen Nyani (formerly King Nyani) created by public artists Gillie and Marc was adorned with a giant rainbow cape and hanging disco balls above to celebrate Pride. On February 23 guests also enjoyed a relaxing ferry ride and day exploring the delights of native flora and fauna at Taronga Zoo, as keepers, volunteers and drag charity; the Sisters of the Order of Perpetual Indulgence hosted an informative and spirited WorldPride themed tour. 

Taronga’s annual Twilight at Taronga Drag Gala hosted by Karen From Finance on March 2 further featured performances from some of Australasia’s biggest names in drag, comedy and music. Held in Taronga Zoo’s natural amphitheater, guests enjoyed Sydney’s glittering harbor as a backdrop to the festivities. 

Twilight at Taronga’s inaugural Drag Gala was hosted by Drag Queen, Karen From Finance on March 2. Video credit: Taronga Zoo Sydney