Crikey!

Wombat you looking at?

Wombat you looking at?

Since we were driving to and from Grandma & Grandad’s house and Brisbane this trip, we were able to take in some scenery and attractions on the way.

A major stop on the way home was a day spent at Australia Zoo.  The Dad had visited this place once before, way back in the mists of time when Steve Irwin was a teenager and his parents ran the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park.

It has changed a little bit since then.

Changes. I've seen plenty in *my* lifetime.

Changes. I’ve seen plenty in *my* lifetime.

Babess was mad keen to feed an elephant, and Fainjin wanted to see the tigers.  Luckily, they are close together.  Oh, and I should add that there is a “birthday club” – if your child’s birthday is within a week of your visit, they get in for free and the rest of your party gets a 10% discount.  Well done Fainjin for being born at the right time of year!  So anyway, we wandered towards the tigers, admiring various animals on the way, and made it back to the elephant feeding at exactly the right time to spend just a few minutes in the queue.

Babess was still mad keen to feed an elephant.  I wasn’t quite so keen, but took her in the line.  We were warned that if anyone hesitated, the elephants might get bored and wander off, ending the feeding session.  We got to the front of the line and were given a chunk of carrot each.  I held mine out, and Sabu took it neatly off my outstretched hand, leaving me with a slightly slimy palm.  Babess froze, her eyes wide and her hand clenched around the carrot.  “Hold it out!” I urged her, but she was fixed to the spot, staring at the 4-tonne hungry animal in front of her.  Fearing the reaction of the crowds behind us if the elephant decided we weren’t worth the effort, I grabbed the carrot and held it out.  Sabu took that one too, and we moved away from the feeding mat.

Babess was more relieved than disappointed, luckily, and we have some nice photos of her nearly feeding an elephant that she can show her friends at daycare.

We saw the Wildlife Warriors show with the Irwin family.  Pearl was breathless at the experience of seeing Bindi in real life.  Bob fed a crocodile:

Bob Irwin feeds a croc

Bob Irwin feeds a croc

And then Terri fed one too:

Terri's bigger than Bob... so is her croc

Terri’s bigger than Bob… so is her croc

Bindi wasn’t left out.

Bindi is just a little bit older than my niece... eeek!

Bindi is just a little bit older than my niece… eeek!

Of all the exotic animals in the zoo, the one the kids were most keen to see was… a pony.  They all had a pony ride, and we got some lovely photos from the zoo’s photographer (these are not those).  Babess got scared when her tiny pony moved, though, and had to be rescued without actually getting a ride.  We were offered our $5 back, which I declined – after all, we got the lovely photo, and it wasn’t their fault Babess baulked.  I was impressed at the offer though.

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Pony rides!

In general, the customer service at the zoo was exceptional.  Any time we interacted with the staff they went just a little bit further than you might expect to make sure our day was a great one.  We saw a keeper walking a very large snake towards the “Wildlife Experience” photography studio.  He stopped so Fainjin could pat it.  I was very disappointed that the family had split up briefly, and The Dad had the girls with him – and the camera!

The kids got to pat a koala, and meet a kangaroo:

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In short, a great time was had by all.

If you’re thinking of going, I recommend taking your own lunch – there are lovely picnic spots and this is encouraged.  The food in the food court is pretty good, but it all adds to the cost of the day.  Take plenty of water too.  Splash out on ice-creams or a photo session with a huge snake, instead of the basics.  Make sure you see the Wildlife Warriors show, and take the opportunity to feed an elephant or interact with the camels, or whatever other activities they have on the day.  And definitely take a kid who has a birthday within the week!

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

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