Sunday, February 22, 2009
Australia Zoo: Crikey indeed!
OK, I admit it. I was fully prepared to be cynical about Australia Zoo. How can you not be, when you can't travel more than about 100 metres in Australia without seeing a billboard or magazine ad with a picture of Steve Irwin or his precocious daughter Bindi? It does get a bit tiresome.
But you can't come to Queensland without going at least once, particularly not when we're living less than an hour's drive away. So on Sunday we went.
And what a great day it turned out to be! The zoo is fantastic, with plenty of opportunities to see animals and even touch them, without making you feel like you're in an artificial environment that is stressing the animals.
Even better was the tour we got of the new animal hospital (part of a media package I arranged, since I was also on assignment for this one). The hospital cares for any injured wildlife, both from the zoo and from the community. We spent about two hours touring it.
One photo shows the kids and a "wildlife carer" with a brush-tail possum she had brought in for treatment of contact dermatitis. The other shows us getting a chance to feel how soft a koala's paws are. We also fed elephants and kangaroos, got to feel a python, and saw just about every kind of Australian land creature you can imagine, from dingos and tasmanian devils to cassowaries and wedge-tailed eagles. And yes, there were plenty of crocs. And no, they don't let you hand-feed them.