Dreaming of an African safari escape (possibly because you’ve been watching I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ or ‘Survivor’)? We hope it’s not because of those shows because they are rubbish but if it is then at least they’ve ignited your spirit for adventure.
To haul yourself from Australia to Africa will set you back a few thousand dollars and at least three weeks. So if you don’t have spare cashola or time then a visit to an open range zoo might be your answer. In Melbourne there is Werribee and in Adelaide there is Monarto zoo – one of the largest open range zoos in the world. That is seriously impressive. If that’s not reason enough to stop lion about (and incase you’re wondering, no I am NEVER going to get sick of that pun), here are a few more:
Monarto hosts more than 50 species of exotic and native mammals, birds and reptiles into its 1500 hectares like these guys:
The whole experience is pretty easy. Jump in the car and head south, in about an hour (from the city centre) you’ll be at the gates of Monarto. Buy your tickets then leave your car in the carpark and head into the visitors centre. You can look around for a bit or choose to head straight for one of the buses which come along every 15 minutes. These are ‘hop on, hop off’ buses that travel the circuit of the zoo and allow you to see the whole thing at your own pace.
There are several ‘experiences’ you can book in for – seeing the lions at night time, various feedings, breakfasts with the rhinos as well as bushwalks and behind the scenes tour. If you want to you should book these ahead of time.
We hopped on and off the bus and roamed the zoo to our hearts content spending our time comparing the meerkat (fistpump!) with these delightful gents and ladies:
A trip out to Monarto will cost you $35 (price of single entry adult ticket) and less for children and concession. There are combined ticket options if you want to also see Adelaide zoo. If you think you’ll be a regular at either zoo then there are options to sign up as a member which gets you unlimited entry to both zoos for a 12 month period along with discount tickets for the animal experiences and invitations to special member only events. Set aside the day, and pack a picnic lunch if you want (there are picnic tables near the visitors centre) or stop for lunch at the reasonably priced café.
Verdict: BEEware of missing out!