The Australia Zoo is not Australia’s preeminent zoo, but is probably that country’s most famous one. Founded in the 1970s by the Irwin family, this zoo received worldwide fame because of its association with popular television host Steve Irwin, better known as the Crocodile Hunter. Although Steve Irwin has passed away, the family still maintains this famous reptile park which is one of northeastern Australia’s most popular attractions.
The Bob and Lyn Irwin founded the Beerwah Reptile Park in 1970. Their children, including Steve, were very involved with the running of the park and took it over in 1992 when their parents retired. They renamed it the Australia Zoo and began expanding it. One sibling, Steve Irwin, began a wildlife television series in 1996 which became an international hit. This made the Australia Zoo extremely popular. After his untimely death in 2006, the family continued to run the facility, adding to it the world’s largest wildlife hospital. There are currently plans to further sexpand the park.
The Australia Zoo is big and growing, with expansive exhibits on fauna from Africa, Asia and elsewhere. But the star attraction here is, not surprisingly, the crocodiles. The original residents of the park, and Steve Irwin’s trademark performance partners, these animals are kept in the Crocoseum, an enormous combination exhibit and stadium where crocodiles, snakes and birds are showcased.
The Australia Zoo is located on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, approximately seventy miles north of Brisbane. It is open year round and hours vary seasonally. The cost of admission is A$59.00. Web: www.australiazoo.com.au (official website).