Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Originally published on Mummy Smiles

I will admit that I am really struggling trying to find the balance with gifts this year. We really do have enough “stuff”, so I am being very selective and careful with the gifts that we are putting under our Christmas Tree. One of the best ideas for families is to give them the gift of an experience. Last week I told you about my amazing photographic experience, so now this week I’d love to share a new RedBalloon experience with you – a day at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary is home to one of the largest collections of Australian native wildlife in the world and is a world-leader in the display and preservation of Australia’s wildlife and natural heritage. Your entry ticket does include access to all displays and shows, including the adventure playground and high ropes course – however as a not-for-profit organisation that relies heavily on the tourism dollar for it’s existence, there are lots of extras (parking $5, kangaroo food $2 per cup, wildlife cuddles $20, photos $15) that do have to be paid for throughout the day if you want to get the full experience. My best suggestion if you are buying RedBalloon vouchers for this experience as a gift is to include a little cash in with the voucher, as even though our tickets were paid for it did end up to be quite an expensive day.

So here is what we got up to…

As soon as we walked inside the kids were completely obsessed with the train. It is a fantastic way to travel around the park as there is a LOT of ground to cover and little legs get tired really quickly. There is plenty of room to put the prams (and our driver was incredibly helpful at putting it on and off for us), and with the train coming every 15-20 minutes there is no queuing or waiting around.

It actually goes at a fair pace (with no seat belts or side rails which I admit did freak me out a little) but the children had a BALL – Lucy’s face says it all!

We decided to have a quick play in the playground over morning tea, while we waited for the first show. There is a huge sand pit at the entrance which has lots of digging and excavating equipment with brushes. It was great to uncover some bones and try to work out what they belonged to – definitely kept the children busy for a good half hour!

The playground is quite spectacular. It caters for a variety of ages with tunnels, smaller slides, and taller areas for the bigger kids.

The flying fox was very popular – up and down, up and down, up and down.

The shows are very educational and entertaining. We started with the reptile show and got to see a great range of snakes, including this red-bellied black snake!

Afterwards we caught the train to the kangaroo paddocks. They would have to be the most placid and easy-going ‘roos I have ever seen. What a fantastic chance for the kids to get up so close to these beautiful animals.

It’s really hard to resist giving them a bit of a cuddle and a scratch behind the ears!

The Sanctuary operates one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in Australia, and one of the operating rooms is open for observation from the outside of the hospital complex. There was nothing happening when we visited – which is probably a good thing??

There were some great activities set up for the kids – such as looking at x-rays of different animals, diagnosing some common injuries in soft toys, and bandaging up an injured koala.

There really is so much to do and we didn’t get to cover all of the park. We would have loved to see the crocodiles, and I would have loved to have on a turn on the high ropes course, but that will have to wait until another day. This was as close as we got to the crocs!

We were really looking forward to feeding the lorikeets at the end of the day (costs a donation to buy a plate of food) as I have such great memories of this from when I was a little girl, however for some reason they decided not to show up in the afternoon. It can be pretty spectacular when they do arrive so it might be an idea to try to be there for the early morning feed rather than the afternoon feed.

We had a great day – it was so nice to be able to enjoy a day out with the kids, and there were so many options for what we wanted to explore, see and do. We could definitely spend another day there to cover the bits that we missed. If you’re looking for an experience that is educational, entertaining, and interactive, then this might just be the answer for your family.

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