World famous? Well yes indeed it is. The Australia Zoo, founded originally in 1970 as the Beerwah Reptile Park, became the Australia Zoo in the mid 1990’s. The zoo has been showered with awards over the decades for conservation, energy efficiency, tourism and business. World famous. So we wanted to spend A Day at the World Famous Australia Zoo.
Raised in Queensland, Steve Irwin helped his parents with the Beerwah Reptile Park and grew to be an expert wildlife rehabilitator just like his mother. Steve was called upon by the local government for crocodile relocation and rehabilitation. He met Terri Raines, a predatory animal expert, in 1991 and they married in ’92. The team began to expand the zoo and began the docu-series The Crocodile Hunter. As the Crocodile Hunter grew in popularity, Steve and Terri were able to expand their conservation efforts. They also expanded their family with the birth of Bindi and Robert.
Steve and Terri, with the help of Steve’s mom Lyn, created a world class facility that rescues, rehabilitates and release over 7000 native Australian animals every year.
After the tragic accident that took Steve’s life in 2006, Terri vowed to continue the work in his honor and today along with her grown children they remember and keep the legacy of the greatest wildlife warrior of all time, everyday at the Australia Zoo.
Conservation Through Education
It’s been 18 years since Steve passed but his dream of “Conservation Through Exciting Education” lives on. He left a legacy with the Australia Zoo which today encompasses over 700 acres (110 open to the public) and employs over 500 staff.
The Australia Zoo is a world leader in conservation of both wildlife and habitat. Much more than just a place to view animals, the Australia Zoo works around the world on conservation projects, education, and crocodile research. Support is generated through the Wildlife Warrior program to fund the many efforts the zoo undertakes.
Unique to this global wildlife operation is the Australia Zoo Hospital where you can actually view surgeries and recovering animals through a glassed-in viewing area. The Australia Zoo Hospital never turns an animals in need away, and accepts up to 30 animals a day. Many of the animals have been injured by cars, dogs, or other encounters with ‘civilization’. The day we visited we saw a koala undergoing surgery, a frogmouth bird, flying fox, and reptiles in incubators.
It’s also possible to book a behind the scenes tour of the hospital when you purchase your entry ticket.
A Day at the World Famous Australia Zoo
We arrived at the zoo at 8:30am and headed straight to the hospital. We purchased our tickets online and added the $2 fee to get a sneak-peek at the hospital. It was a great way to start the day.
Using the map and event list provided at entry, we planned our day around the activities we wanted to see. We wanted to see the Bird Feed Out and the Crocodile show at the Crocoseum. So we worked our way around 110 acres of the zoo between these shows. It’s possible to hold a koala, pet a Rhino, and have a behind the scenes tour of the zoo. But we decided to just see as much of the zoo as possible on our own.
The zoo is home to some 1200 animals and birds (see the list here) and is laid out in a lovely, clean and meandering way with beautiful flora, frequent facilities and friendly and helpful staff.
Wandering with a Purpose
We were ready for A Day at the World Famous Australia Zoo. Using our map we headed to see the wombats and reptiles before moving on to Grace’s Bird Garden for the morning feed out which was fun and informative. Next we visited the ‘roos, koalas, Asian elephants and tigers. Moving on to Bindi’s Island, home to boa, lemurs, echidna and giant tortoises. We took a trip to Africa to visit the giraffes, rhinos and meerkats.
Backtracking a little we headed up to see the large birds included the emus, cassowary, jabiru and brogas. A quick visit over to view the darling smiling quokka and then a brief lunch break at the Crikey Cafe. Next it was the dingoes and the Tasmanian devil before leisurely enjoying the wide variety of crocodiles and alligators. Now it was time for the show.
A visit to the Australia Zoo would not be complete without enjoying the daily (sometimes more than once a day) Crocoseum Show. I loved this.
The show begins with some fun activities to get the audience involved, and a short video about the beloved Steve Irwin. Next a wonderful display of some of the zoo’s incredible birds in flight, and a few snakes thrown in for good measure. Then it was time for the crocs.
Casper the Cranky Croc
The day we visited, Casper the Croc was our guy. Casper actually has a reputation as an aggressive and bit “cranky” croc and if you search online there are lots of videos of a near disaster a couple years ago when Casper came after Robert Irwin. Here are some details about Casper;
- Casper is one of two leucistic (albino or light pigmented) Saltwater Crocodiles at Australia Zoo
- Being leucistic basically means the animals have a dramatic reduction in dark skin pigment
- Australia Zoo describe Casper as ‘one of the most aggressive crocodiles we have ever seen’
- He has been paired up with the zoo’s other leucistic croc, a female named Wendy
- Casper measures in at 3.7 metres long and weighs a whopping 350 kilograms
- According to Australia Zoo his condition means he likely would have been picked on in the wild
The staff managing Casper during the show made it clear that Casper makes them nervous too, and there was no fooling around. This is serious and dangerous work, and watching them feed this amazing creature was heart stopping. But a not to be missed experience when visiting the Australia Zoo.
Visiting the Australia Zoo is a must when in Queensland. Crikey, Mate – it’s an easy day trip from Brisbane, or enjoy one of the lodges or hotels in the region. Adult tickets are $67 AUD about $41 USD (which includes the hospital sneak peek). Child tickets (3-14) are $42 AUD about $26 USD. Multi-day and Annual Passes are also available as are Family Group Rates. Additional costs for behind the scenes tours, Koala Photo Opportunity and other wildlife encounter experiences.
Thank you for reading my post Visit the World Famous Australia Zoo. I highly recommend this if you are interested in wildlife conservation, protection, education, and rehabilitation and release.
For our wildlife “we are both their greatest enemy and their only hope” – Bradley Trevor Greive
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