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Day 7 - Danger! Danger! Danger!
Monday November 25

No mom, you don't have to worry, we were not in any danger at all. Today we went to the Australia Zoo, which is owned and operated by Steve and Terri Irwin, otherwise known as "The Crocodile Hunter". OK, so the guy is this big freak celebrity right? And he has GOT to be raking in some big bank right? And like any good business man you figure he is GOING to capitalize on that right? He is going to merchandise the heck out of himself right? And make a killing right? And live large right?

Well, almost.

First Impressions

Breakfast at a Theme Park. We got a huge plate of food (on a real plate with real silverware). Think about how much a meal would cost you at Disneyland. At the Australian Zoo breakfast was $7.50 AUSTRALIAN. That means with the exchange rate it only cost us about 4 bucks each. I asked a local and he said that breakfast in a restaurant would cost you about 6 or $6.50 so $7.50 is not TOTALLY expensive like things are in most theme parks. A Coke was $2.30 verses $2.00 from a vending machine in town. So basically he isn't trying to take you to the cleaners on the food.

Look how beautiful the green and blue is together. The skies were amazing.

Next were the drinks. No straws and no ice. Why you ask? Because the animals could choke on a stray straw and the guest at the park have been known to throw ice at the animal exhibits. Bottom line, the safety of the animals is more important then ME having a frosty cold beverage.

Me: dreaming of a frosty cold Pepsi
Roo: thinking... "who IS this guy?"

Next was the shows, the Koala show, the Otter show, the Croc show, and even the Snake show. At all of the special animal exhibits the trainers or handlers will go on and on about how the animals don't like this or that. Basically it's animals first... My entertainment second.

Asian Small-Clawed Otters

Lastly was a conversation with a park volunteer. You must volunteer your way into a job. Now, this could be a way to get free labor but it is also a way to screen who is really willing to put the animals first. We talked with this girl and I asked her, "Is Steve Irwin the real deal?", She responded with a resounding, "YES, Steve Irwin is EXACTLY the same is real life as he is in person". Both he and Terri truly love the animals they have at the park.

Oh, as for the park, Steve Irwin ran The Australian Zoo back in 1986, long before "The Crocodile Hunter". He and Terri met one day after she watched a Croc feeding and hung around to chat with Steve afterwords. You see the park is not a BY PRODUCT of the fame but rather a benefactor of his fame.

In the last year the park has doubled in size and over the next 10 years there are COUNTLESS expansion projects planned. Yes, there is a gift shop with every possible piece of Croc Hunter branded merchandise in it but apparently it is all going back into the zoo.

The long and short of it is this, you feel really good spending your money at The Australian Zoo. You feel as though you are partaking in an "eco friendly" vacation activity. It was a pleasure.

Waiting for the train back to our hotel. Notice the girl in Yellow,
she is the one who told us what Steve and Terri are really like.

We also met a "little rippa" from north Queensland who had the strangest way of whistling. Reese would suck air into his mouth over his tongue in a way that made the loudest whistle I've heard in a long time. I asked his dad if he had taught him how to do it and the dad just laughed and said he had no idea where he picked it up.

"Reese the Whistler", his mum and dad, and Chris waiting for the Croc Feeding.
Beth was getting us some drinks with no ice or straws.

Day 7

Copyright 2002 • Chris and Beth Fenwick