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Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Irwin family bought 1.6 hectares of land that became Beerwah Reptile Park. By 1972 they had realised their ambition to run a zoological facility in their dream location — Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Bob Irwin was respected globally as a herpetologist and helped pioneer reptilian husbandry in Australia. Lyn was one of the first people to rehabilitate sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in south-east Queensland.

The park gained a good reputation, and in 1980, a further 1.6 hectares was added as the menagerie expanded and it was renamed the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park.

Every cent earned was pumped back into the park and into conservation. Bob and his son, the late Steve Irwin, spent much of the 1980s in partnership with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service capturing and relocating rogue crocodiles. Crocodiles unable to be returned to the wild were taken to the Irwins' to live in the newly created Crocodile Environmental Park.

On Steve's death a year ago, his widow Terri declared she would make Australia Zoo even bigger, and that is exactly what's happening.

The zoo is home to over 1000 native and exotic animals, 550 staff and a twenty-four-hour wildlife hospital.

The epicentre of it all is the Crocoseum. It's the fulfilment of one of Steve’s lifelong dreams. He wanted people to see crocodiles in clear water ponds, and to learn how they live and behave in the wild. The wily creatures use murky water as camouflage from their prey, but in clear water, the game is up and the dangers can be highlighted just below the surface.

Steve was able to use an intricate system of channels and gates to allow several male saltwater crocodiles to live alongside each other in private enclosures. He disproved his critics and the crocodiles are successfully taken individually to the centre of the Crocoseum.

The zoo is the perfect arena for showing some of the earth's most beautiful animals — Bengal and Sumatran tigers, snakes and incredible free-flight birds.

Near the zoo is the Australian Wildlife Hospital. It was opened in 2004 in memory of Steven's mum Lyn. Her work lives on and provides a lifeline for nature's sick, injured and orphaned animals. They are cared for and rehabilitated in state-of-the-art facilities until they are well enough to be released back into the wild.

The hospital has a veterinary facility, intensive care room, laboratory and separate facilities for males and females, diseased and non-diseased animals. The orphan enclosure is where animals, particularly koalas, are hand fed and eventually develop climbing skills.

Staffed by permanent workers and volunteers, the hospital's team undertakes research into koala diseases, migration patterns and wildlife health management.

Steve Irwin Day on November 15 will be the first annual celebration of remembering the life of Crocodile Hunter. It will be a day packed with entertainment, activities and shows with an emphasis on the things Steve loved most — family, animals and conservation. All workplaces are encouraged to allow their staff to wear something khaki on the special day.

Location

Beerwah on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Cost

Australia Zoo entry is $49 for adults, $29 for children and $146 for a family of four. For further information on Steve Irwin Day on November 15, log onto australiazoo.com.au and see how you can be involved. All money raised goes to Wildlife Warriors Worldwide. Zoo opening Hours 9am - 4:30pm.

Virgin Blue has flights to the Sunshine Coast.

From fare
Sydney
$89
Melbourne
$109
Adelaide
$155
Perth
$305

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way on the Net. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at November 8, 2007, and are subject to change.

Prices quoted correct at 08.11.2007.

For more information

Australia Zoo
Glass House Mountains Tourist Drive
Beerwah 4519
Ph: (07) 5436 2000
Website: www.australiazoo.com.au
Email: info@australiazoo.com.au

Queensland Holidays
Ph: 138 833
Website: www.queenslandholidays.com.au

Virgin Blue
Ph: 13 6789
Website: www.virginblue.com.au

Have you been here? Or have you got a question you think other readers could help with? Leave your comments below.

User comments
hi guys just wanted to say hello to you all and little Bindi and Robert,my name is Geoffrey graham and i have 2 girls of my own who love to watch your shows sometimes 1 day i would love to bring my family over to your zoo because my first daughter needs to have heart operation by the year 2010 but at the moment i cant afford it but anyway just to please keep up the good work that you guys do there.
christmas hasn't been much of a hipe as usual coz myself and my three kids are counting down the days until our holiday to the Australian zoo. We have always been really big on Aussie day, decorating the house with Aussie flags and our lamb chops on the barbie. This Australia day will take the cake as we will be at the zoo, i'm sure the atmosphere will be aewsome with John Williamson as entertainment.
Went to Bindy,s birthday had a great time and are going to Robert,s birthday our 8yr old has been a fan since they started on air with their shows and hasn,t missed 1. He even catches lizards to have a closer look at then lets them go so keep up the good work.
We took a French family to the zoo last week. They were bowled over by the wonderful environment the animals live in and by the obvious care lavished on them. They also loved the opportunity to see the birds and animals at close range and to learn about their habitats and habits (from keepers and signage), as many of these birds and animals are not seen in European zoos. Six year old has not stopped talking about the birds and animals, and parents see it as a highlight of their Aussie experience. I have to admit we Aussies had a wonderful day, too!
i really liked the story on steve and terri irwon's zoo i was wondering what the opening song was that was used when showing the pictures of steve and his family
have been to australia zoo in 2004 i would recommend it to anyone p.s i hope wes enjoyed whem catriona was holding on him on tonights show

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