South Australia’s Monarto Zoo is the largest open-range zoo in the world, playing an important role in international conservation efforts – and it’s a fab family day out that kids won’t grow out of!
Parenting small children can be the busiest period in our lives but, while I’m pleased to get most of my life back now that my lot are grown, there is a lot that I miss. Obviously I’m not talking about the interrupted sleep (although, with young adults, that is still a thing), endless school commitments, homework panics and the thousands of kilometres clocked up behind the wheel while acting as a taxi driver. I’m thinking more about sharing the joy of family experiences with little ones – trips to the beach, holidays, visits to the zoo.
A visit to Monarto Zoo, in South Australia, has always been a family favourite of ours and it’s one that – happily – none of my children have grown out of.
Monarto Zoo is situated just an hour’s drive from the city of Adelaide and, at 1,500 hectares, it is the largest open-range zoo in the world, housing over 500 animals including 50 exotic and native mammals, birds and reptiles.
It features a range of totally unique attractions, including a drive-through cheetah habitat, a fabulous walk through lion experience, a white rhinoceros enclosure and the largest giraffe herd in Australia.
Over the years our family has enjoyed several of the exclusive animal experiences that are on offer at Monarto Zoo and recently my youngest daughter and I decided to head there to spend some up-close and personal time with the giraffes on their Giraffe Safari.
This experience is a very special behind-the-scenes opportunity to spend some private time with these graceful giants, hand-feeding them and gazing into their liquid, brown eyes. The Giraffe Safari takes visitors into areas that are usually off-limits to the public and introduces them to the males, who are kept together, away from the ladies, to cut down on the blokey bravado they are inclined to when competing for attention from the girls.
These boys are enormous – a male giraffe can grow to between 5 and 5.5 metres tall and weigh around 1,200 kgms. However, despite their ungainly appearance, they are elegant and fluid in their movements and so very gentle and delicate when being hand fed.
The experience is kept to very small groups – in fact, we were the only ones feeding on the day we went – and is available daily during the week and twice daily on weekends. Prices vary, with family packages, concession tickets and gift vouchers available and Zoo members always enjoy reduced prices.
Any of the special Monarto Zoo Animal Experiences make for wonderful family adventures, offering uniquely exciting memories that will last a lifetime. They make a perfect family gift, as does the gift of annual membership.
Zoo membership is a way that we can all support the important conservation work being done here and in other zoos. We’ve been members of Zoos SA for many years and enjoy the benefits, including free visits to Adelaide and Monarto Zoos and most major Australian zoos, discount at the zoo shops and cafes and discounts on the various animal experiences.
Consider zoo membership for your family – it’s the perfect gift for those who have everything!