Lions and tigers and bears…oh, my! Plus plenty of native Australian animals to meet: wallabies, cuddly koalas, and kangaroos.
Australian zoos, animal parks and wildlife sanctuaries are plentiful, making it easy to find the perfect animal adventure to share with your kids in every corner of the country. The late famed “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin headquartered at the Australian Zoo and visitors can follow his path on the Crocodile Train from Brisbane to this internationally recognized and award-winning zoo for a chance to see over 550 animals and 300 crocodiles. One of the country’s premier animal attractions is the Australian Reptile Park, specializing in snakes and spiders – and well known for lifesaving work with the production of snake and spider venom used as an antidote to bites. Their work has helped to save over 300 lives in Australia each year, but kids will just love the creepy, crawly fun!
The Alice Springs Desert Park presents a habitat-based approach that allows visitors to discover the desert…landscape, animals and plants, and traditional uses of the area by its original inhabitants who manage it today, the Aboriginal people. The Cairns Zoo adds food to the fun: try their Night Zoo Safari and Barbeque Dinner, or get up and at ’em early for the Tropical Zoo Morning Breakfast. These three to four hour tours let you peek at all the animals and enjoy a great meal with other explorers. For something a little different, let the kids spend time with the animals at Fairfield City Farm. This working sheep and cattle farm is located less than an hour from Sydney.
The largest koala sanctuary in the world is at Lone Pine. This sanctuary is dedicated to the preservation of Australian wildlife through education and especially cares for the nation’s koala population. At the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary over 1400 mammals, birds and reptiles co-exist and visitors see these native species face-to-face in natural surroundings. Marapana Wildlife World features a large flight aviary, and kids are thrilled when invited to hand-feed the babies: kangaroos, emus and deer, and can have lunch with the koalas on the veranda! They’ll also get a close look at other Australian animals including dingoes, wombats, and kookaburras.
Want a look at a rare southern white rino? Monarto Zoological Park has them as part of their breeding program for endangered species. The park is located 45 minutes from Adelaide, and is at the gateway to the beautiful Murraylands region.
All major Australian cities have zoos, and there are many open-range sanctuaries to explore with conditions that are meant to simulate natural habitats. Australia’s wild world of animals is educational and loads of fun, so grab the kids and sample an animal adventure!