For our second day in the Southern Queensland area, we took the long drive from the apartment we were staying in up to the town of Beerwah, to visit a place that had been very high on my list in Australia, the Australia Zoo! For those not familiar with the Australia Zoo, this was the zoo that was operated by the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. Unfortunately, Steve had passed away in 2006 from an incident with a sting ray, but his legacy lives on in part through his zoo. Steve had always been one of my favorite TV personalities, and so I knew that coming to his zoo was a must if I ever made it to Australia.
One of the first things that I noticed about the zoo was that there were some fairly large lizards wondering freely around the zoo. I was used to seeing smaller lizards roam free in Florida while I lived there, but these guys were quite a bit bigger!
Now what would a zoo be without some animals! Let's take a look at some of the critters that they had. Some of the larger reptiles they had included the Rhinoceros Iguana, and the Aldadra Giant Tortoise.
For their birds, they have a large aviary that features a large variety of species, and there is an area that features the Cassowary, a fairly large bird that appeared to be a possible relative of other flightless birds. They had a very distinct look because of the funky looking horn thing on their head.
Some of the mammals that are featured include Dingos, Echidnas, Wombats, and one of the most beloved Australian animals, Koalas.
While koalas are commonly sleeping in the daytime, there is a neat place here called the Koala Walk, where you can get up close and personal with these furry guys while getting your picture taken with them. You were allowed to lightly touch some of them, and their fur is so soft!
One of the big highlights of the Australia zoo were the Kangaroos. Their Kangaroo areas were in open spaces where you can walk right up to them. What I came to find out is that these guys were almost like dogs (probably thanks to being around people a lot) as they enjoyed a nice scratch, and they loved you if you have food for them. Definitely one of the best parts about this visit. There were areas for both gray and red kangaroos.
Of course, anyone who watched the Crocodile Hunter or is familiar with it, there were a couple types of animals Steve was best know for working with or handling in his show. One of those animal types, Snakes. It is fitting that they are a featured part of the zoo in a building dedicated to them since they were often a part of his show.
But the stars of Steve Irwin's show, and one of the biggest attractions of this zoo...the Crocs!
With Steve being considered one of the leading experts on crocodiles and instrumental in taking care of them in the wild and at his zoo, the zoo has this exhibit that talked about these large beasts, and how he had become involved in helping to relocate them.
Speaking of Steve, there was a large exhibit that paid tribute to him, as they had plaques in his honor, a collection of items such that paid tribute to him, and articles written about him after his passing. Walking through this area and seeing the displays shows you how influential he was.
The main attraction of the zoo, the Animal Planet Crocoseum! This is where Steve and his crew would host feeding demonstrations for the crocodiles. This is also where they held a memorial service in his honor after his passing. Coming to watch a show here was definitely a highlight of the day.
The show being presented at the Crocoseum was Wildlife Warriors, a show that features members of the zoo staff sharing information about the importance of conservation, a message and belief that Steve held very strongly. Then they bring out the animals. You actually can have some up close moments as they have various birds fly around, from parrots to falcons to vultures. Some of the zookeepers would also bring snakes through the crowd for closer viewing.
Of course, it's the feedings that people want to see. One of the feedings involved bringing a zoo guest to the center to help them feed a smaller alligator.
Once the guest feeding takes place, the main event follows with the big guys! The croc featured for this show was Mossman. Upon introduction, they led him into the Crocoseum, and then did a few feedings from various spots.
And the show ends with a montage of clips from Steve's work, and sharing his message about the importance of conservation. Again, this was a highlight of the day!
On the way out, we found several more tributes to Steve as well as his family with their hand and foot prints, as well as the paw prints of his trusty dog Sui. There is also a statue of the family near the entrance.
While this update doesn't quite show it, both of Steve's children, Bindi and Robert, as well as his wife Terri, are still quite involved in the work that Steve had taken part in. At the gift shop they sold a variety of books based on his children, and of course you could also buy an Australia Zoo khaki shirt, which was a signature look for Steve.
And with that, we end our visit to the Australia Zoo. While it is a shame that Steve is no longer with us, his zoo does a great job of sharing these incredible animals with those who visit. I was incredibly happy to have an opportunity to visit, and would strongly suggest that you find your way up to Beerwah for a visit.
Up next, we take a short drive to the next amusement park of our trip.
See more of 2016 New Zealand & Australia Trip:
1: Arriving in New Zealand / 2: Walk to Mission Bay / 3 : Mount Eden / 4: Rainbow's End / 5: Arrival in Sydney /
6: Mrs. Macquarie's Point / 7: Sydney's Luna Park / 8: Sydney Habour Bridge & Rocks Tour /
9: Bondi Beach & Darling Harbour / 10: Walking Through Cairns / 11: Green Island & The Great Barrier Reef /
12: Warner Bros. Movie World / 13: Australia Zoo / 14: Aussie World / 15: Sea World & Wet'n'Wild / 16: Alice Springs /
17: Kings Park & Indian Ocean / 18: Fremantle / 19: Perth CBD & Elizabeth Quay / 20: Adventure World /
21: Walking Through Melbourne / 22: Luna Park Melbourne & St. Kilda / 23: Victoria Parliament / 24: Back to Auckland