Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo

Trip Start Nov 16, 2008
1
15
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Trip End Dec 31, 2008


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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, March 28, 2009

so i finally went. yesterday, i finally got to the Australia Zoo... and it was awesome!

Lana had decided to come with me because a friend of hers that works in the reptile department at the zoo got her a family pass--so we got in for free! we were especially lucky because the weather had decided to cooperate and it had turned out to be a gorgeous day. 75, sunny with a few clouds, light breeze and low humidity--perfect. we got to the zoo around 10/10:15 am and breezed through admissions with our pass. i felt i had my own personal tour guide as Lana had been there quite a few times before and though we had a map we rarely used it. as we walked around throughout the day, Lana commented on how empty the zoo was. we never had to compete with crowds or lines and sometimes we had entire exhibits/enclosures to ourselves! i was very impressed with the zoo--all the exhibits and grounds were very well maintained, all the animals looked really healthy, and the keepers we spoke with were both very helpful and friendly.

Lana's friend made a call to one of his reptile buddies and was able to get us into the "Totally Tortoise" Encounter (for free!) at 12:30 so we headed over after grabbing a sandwich at the "Feeding Frenzy Foodcourt." the tortoises were of the Aldabran Giant species from the islands of Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelle Islands (north of Madagascar). similar in size and shape to the famous Galapagos Giant Tortoise, their shell averages 47 inches long and can weigh over 600 lbs! the two we saw were only in their early 30's and (only) weighed around 350 lbs --teenagers really. the Giant Tortoise species are known to live upwards of 160 years and in fact, the previously oldest living tortoise was the much loved Harriet, a Galapagos Giant Tortoise who died in 2006 at the Australia Zoo at the ripe old age of 176. Lana and i were with just four or five other people in the encounter, so we both got to feed Igloo and Goliath some salad and hang out with them for a half hour. although they look slow and cumbersome they were actually incredibly strong and have been known to ram through fences and doors. if they were moving, you either got out of the way or got run over! it was a special treat to be in the presence of such an extraordinary organism. in the words of my grandfather, "it was neato-fleeto!"

after the encounter we thought we'd catch the Asian Short-clawed Otter show so we meandered over to the exhibit and got a premo spot to watch them. Bonnie and Maria are Otter sisters and came from the Auckland Zoo about 9 and 1/2 years ago and have been living at the Australia Zoo ever since. they were very cheeky and extremely cute! Bonnie kept making these little sounds before the keeper came in with the food... i'm sure she knew it was feeding time!

some other highlights for me were patting a Koala, watching the Wombat sleep sprawled out belly-up and then getting to pet one when we saw Meg the Wombat out for her afternoon walk. of course the peak of the day was walking through the huge Kangaroo enclosures and getting to pet, sit with and feed them. they were everywhere, just hopping around or lazing under a tree in the shade. i got to pet and feed Eastern Grey Kangaroos as well as the larger Red Kangaroos. i got pretty close to one of the beautiful Red Necked Wallabies but it was too timid to let me pet it.

and lets not forget the crocs! there must have been at least 13 or 14 of them, all with their own enclosures and a special writeup with their name and a little about each animal. i saw both kinds: the smaller freshwater or "freshie" crocs and the larger (or MUCH larger) saltwater or "saltie" crocs, as well as 5 or 6 American Alligators. we went to the 2 pm Wildlife Warriors Show at the Crocoseum which is the main crowd draw in the Zoo to watch the live croc feeding Steve Irwin was so famous for. the star of the show happened to be none other than Monty, the Zoo's very first crocodile and he was quite impressive. besides Monty there were several kinds of parrots that flew around to trainers stationed throughout the stadium, water birds that swam and dove for fish in the center pool, and snakes brought around by keepers through the crowd. 

it was a memorable day for sure. i have hundreds of pictures (literally) and about 10 videos that i took throughout the day. i have tried to sort out only the very best to post, so that you don't spend half your day just looking at pictures!

*** UPDATE: 3.29.09 ***

i have finally fixed my video problem!!!!

i can now upload videos onto Travelpod without a problem again! there are 11 new videos in this post alone, as well at least one new video in each of the "walking brizzie", "twin waters", "taming wind and wave" and "noosa festival of surfing" posts.

they seemed to play ok to me, i hope they do for you! try to let them load completely before playing them.

enjoy! :o)
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