Take a Walk on the Wild Side – Animal Encounters

Crocodile display Australia Zoo

If you read this blog consistently, you’ll notice that I have a family of animal lovers. The kids have been bringing home hurt and lost animals since they could walk (not always consensually, as I learnt from a particularly miffed possum one year). As a parent, I couldn’t be prouder of the fact that my wife and myself have been able to so successfully imbue our passion and love for animals and the environment into our children’s good natures. Being us, we spend a lot of weekends at zoos and aquariums marveling at the amazing diversity of creatures we share our planet with, and sometimes getting the opportunity to get up close and personal – sharks and seals to name just a few. This weekend, we managed to interact with some land dwellers.

australia_zoo red panda

At Australia Zoo there are a number of animal encounter packages, many of which you, quite literally, cannot get anywhere else in the world. My daughter loves everything cute and fuzzy, as little girls tend to. She was so excited when I told her she was going to get the chance to pet and feed a real life Red Panda. If you haven’t heard of these adorable fuzz balls before then take yourself directly to Google, right now. The Red Panda is a small mammal from Asia and has the most striking and beautiful orange, white and black fur. These adorable little fellas are about the size of a small dog and are the most adorably goofy things to ever potter around on four legs. My little ankle biter has been obsessed since seeing young Red Pandas falling over themselves in surprise when faced with an unexpected handler and so when I heard about the encounter I had to set it up. For $79 I was able to watch my little princess lose her mind as a young Red Panda literally ate out of her hand and let her pat its fur – absolutely worth the price.

red panda

This trip wasn’t an entirely kid-focused expedition. I myself have a great affinity for reptiles, and there is no creature I find more amazing than the Komodo dragon. For those of you who aren’t reptile geeks, a Komodo dragon is the largest species of lizard in the world, growing up to 3 meters long and weighing in at over 100kg. Australia Zoo just happens to be the only Zoo in the world where you can get up close and personal with these massive beasts. This is a lizard big enough, powerful enough and fast enough to survive mostly off a diet of deer in the wild. They’re incredible predators that are known to take on humans – so of course I wanted to touch it! $195 later and I had the biggest, goofiest grin on my face and an incredibly unique experience you cannot find anywhere else in the world.

Komodo Dragon


There are tons of other animal experience packages offered at Australia Zoo, in addition to all the other attractions and fun. For more information on the packages on offer, visit the Australia Zoo website.

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