Orana Wildlife Park is New Zealand's only open-range zoo and is the place to come to glimpse endangered animals, both native (kiwi and tuatara) and exotic (tigers, wild dogs, cheetah, and zebras).
Check out the different animal feeding times; hand-feeding the giraffes is a real highlight and even small kids manage with a bit of help. For a seriously close-up view of the lions being fed join the Lion Encounter; and watch from inside a specially modified vehicle (an extra cost but a memorable experience). A zebra-striped Safari Shuttle with commentary loops around the park, or you can join a guided walk. It's about a 15-minute drive from Christchurch airport, or there's an Orana Wildlife Park door-to-door shuttle (details on the website).