Monday, May 5, 2014

3 Most Memorable Wildlife Encounters on the Gold Coast for Your Kids

This is a guest post from Theme Parks, your one-stop site for your Theme Park needs.

Australia’s unique birds and animals are splendidly showcased on the Gold Coast. Indeed, once you have had your fill of adrenaline at the Gold Coast theme parks, head off for a fix of nature’s extraordinarily wildlife. It’s great for kids to see these iconic creatures.

Children love these parks. See the stunning lorikeets at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, or the inspirational work at David Fleay Wildlife Park, or perhaps the cuddly koalas and farm animals at Paradise Country Aussie Farm Tour. The choice of wildlife is yours.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Formerly called Currumbin Bird Sanctuary, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was founded in 1947. It is somewhat of a rite of passage for Australian families, and is captured in faded family photo albums the country over: the feeding of the lorikeets. Or rather, the photos capture faces filled with delight or tension, nearly hidden by hordes of bright-green lorikeets with their distinctive red, yellow and blue feathered highlights.

Founder Alex Griffiths began feeding the area’s wild lorikeets to stop them from eating his prized flowers. Originally a beekeeper and flower grower, his colourful feeding rituals drew curious locals, then developed into a tourist attraction, which grew alongside the Gold Coast’s burgeoning tourism industry.

Today, the park is a world leader in preserving Australia’s natural heritage. It has more than 1,000 birds and animals in natural habitat, as well as commando training, safaris and survival trips. To date, millions of visitors have passed through its gates.

David Fleay Wildlife Park

A must-see experience for kids is David Fleay Wildlife Park, founded back in 1952. David Fleay was a remarkable man: after leading an expedition in the early 1930s looking for thylacines (Tasmanian Tigers) in Tasmania and photographing and filming the last thylacine in the Hobart Zoo in 1933, he went on to successfully breed platypus in captivity. Yes, this is the only wildlife park on the Gold Coast with a platypus.
Nowadays the park is run by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services, with a focus on breeding programs and threatened species. It has three distinct wildlife habitats: wetland, rainforest and open eucalypt forest.
Explore the park on your own – there’s plenty of space for kids to run off some energy – or join one of the daily presentations on wildlife. There is a range of environmental educational programs for schools. Visitors can see eagles, brolgas and cassowary, crocodiles, koalas, kangaroos, snakes, gliders and butterflies.

Paradise Country Aussie Farm

A fabulous farm experience for the family: see sheep being sheared, cows being milked and, while you’re at it, organise a photogaph of yourself cuddling a koala. This is the ultimate farm fantasy for kids, adults, corporate groups or international tourists.

At the stockman and sheepdog show, watch these amazingly clever dogs herd sheep and see how to show a boomerang, milk a cow and crap a whip. Or take in the traditional Australian sheep shearing show, or catch the stock horse arena, where the actions of skilled horsemen will impress with whip-cracking and riding demonstrations.

From farm animals, to perhaps a glimpse of a platypus and the feeding of the fabled lorikeets, checking out wildlife provides a great family day. And don’t forget – it’s the photos you take with these iconic birds and animals that will stay in the kids’ memories forever.