News from the Zoos
Has it been a while since you’ve headed to one of Australia’s many fantastic animal attractions? Never fear, Holidays with Kids has hunted around to bring
you the latest inside scoop.
Adelaide Zoo, South Australia
If you have a youngster that can’t get enough of a specific species, then you’re sure to find a perfect animal encounter in this zoo’s range of Behind the Scenes tours. Meet Australia’s favourite panda duo, Wang Wang and Funi, in a VIP Panda experience, or in a Panda & Friends option that also jumps in on the red pandas’ morning feed. There are a few playful cubs to spy here as well. On top of this there’s a half-day Junior Keeper offering, a visit to the Bears at Breakfast, chances to get interactive with the Big Cats and more. Age restrictions vary for each, so check online for more details. Visitors to Adelaide will now also enjoy first sightings of a baby female white gibbon – which is a great success for the endangered species.
Perth Zoo, Western Australia
Australia’s west coast certainly doesn’t miss out on animal delights. Perth just welcomed four baby otters into its family (the smallest otter species in the world), as well as a surprise delivery of shingleback skinks over Easter. And while these bubs are exciting, the real hype is happening over at the new Orangutan Boardwalk. Rising 2.1m above and winding 125m around the zoo’s 12-strong furry orange colony, the $3.6-million structure reflects the
feel of the rainforest with special mists, sounds and plants, allowing visitors to be immersed in the world of these creatures like never before. If you visit during school holidays make sure you check out Zoo Crew, which (for a little money) lets your eight- to 13-year-olds have a day of educational zoo adventure where they get crafty, meet and feed animals, and enjoy guided walks. For those living close by, ‘A to Zoo’ for kids aged two to five is an eight-weekterm programme that introduces little ones to the animal world in a fun, creative way.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Queensland
Nestled in the Gold Coast sunshine, Currumbin makes for a fun day out with some amazing chances to get close to Australia’s wildlife: cuddle a koala, feed the wild lorikeets and friendly kangaroos, or experience the Free
Flight Bird show. Take time to marvel at an Aboriginal didgeridoo and dance showcase, and let kids loose on the Wild Island outdoor playground. Ride the 50-year-old miniature train to the Wildlife Hospital precinct where you
will also watch vets in action. Adventurers can jump aboard a Segway Wildlife Safari or head to the Adventure Parc High Ropes Course. The latter has opened up an all-new course, ‘The Croc Shock’, which adds 16 new activities to
the existing 64, now with five courses to enjoy.Croc Shock’s ultimate feature is the 150-metre zip line over the saltwater crocodile and kangaroos that will thrill even the most extreme adrenaline junkie. All guests at Adventure Parc are also supplied with the new smart belay system Clic-it: 100 per cent safe and super easy to use.
Australia Zoo, Queensland
The perennial ‘Home of the Crocodile Hunter’ and his conservation legacy continues to flourish on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. It’s not just us that have noticed: the zoo recently won the title of ‘Best Family Day Out’ at the
national ‘What’s On 4 Junior Awards’. The parent-voted honour celebrates businesses that excel in providing children’s activities, classes, clubs, and so on. As one of the most interactive zoos in the world, families will
stumble upon a wild den of goodies: koala cuddling, crocs galore (of course), animal feeding, and a range of special school holiday fun (this winter they’re running a zoo-wide Treasure Hunt). It also runs Zoo Keeper for a
Day programmes that cater for kids seven and up, with a Khaki Sensory Program for kids with special needs.
Werribee Open Range Zoo, Victoria
Though just 30 minutes from Melbourne, it’s easy to make believe you’re on safari in Africa here. Join up for a Mini Zoo Keeper experience and you’ll find yourself enjoying meerkat feeding and a gentle 40-minute ride in an open
vehicle, spotting beasts like giraffes, zebras and rhinos. There’s also the fully-hosted Slumber Safari: an overnight glamping experience where you’ll peruse the zoo by night, enjoy scrummy meals, toast marshmallows, and get two days’ zoo entry. On Thursdays and Fridays this winter there’s even a 10 per cent discount (outside of school holidays). Imaginations will go even wilder in the free Ranger Kids’ space, a realm of indoor play stocked with dress-ups that’ll have young ones make believing they are vets, or maybe even a Leopard Tortoise, whether out on the savannah or in a field hospital. Children under 16 years receive free general entry to Werribee
Open Range Zoo every week during Victorian school holidays and on public holidays, too.
Taronga Zoo, New South Wales
While winter might not always seem like the time to head to the zoo for newborn animals, babies are all the buzz right now at Taronga. Visitors are able to get their first glimpses of a female Southern Hairy-nosed wombat joey, Sydney, who grows more adventurous each day. There’s also three koala joeys – Sydney, Milli and Tucker – all around 18 months or younger that enjoy cuddling together in trees. “Koalas enjoy a cuddle when they’re juveniles, but as they get older they become more independent and want their own space,” says koala keeper Laura Jones, however if this trio stay this friendly then there won’t be reason to separate them. Of course all the regular delights of the iconic zoo are as charming as ever, from the Seal and Bird shows and encounters like giraffe feeding, to Roar & Snore’s wild overnight experience: all with that iconic view of Sydney Harbour.