Interested in poisonous snakes, deadly spiders and weird animals? Kids bored? Visit one of Australia’s reptile gardens or parks.
Deadly Australian Snakes
Watch deadly spiders and poisonous Australian snakes being milked of their venom at the Australian Reptile Park.
Several hundred specimens of dangerous snakes are maintained in the park’s venom production unit – housed in a separate building.
The sanctuary is the supplier of venom for all snakes and funnel-web spider anti-venom in Australia and New Guinea. It helps save 300 lives each year.
Talks and shows are given throughout the day. They include tips for identifying snakes and first aid demonstrations of what do do in the case of a snake bite.
You’ll learn the symptoms of a spider bite and get spider identification information during the day.
The Australian Reptile Park houses the only live tarantula spiders in Australia. Held behind bullet-proof glass and comprising only females, they include the world’s largest spider living, the Goliath bird eater.
There are lighter things to do when bored with the serious stuff. Check out the seriously cute rap-dancing spider-rapper ‘Syd’ at the entry to Spider World.
Further in, a three-metre-high animatronic funnel-web spider emerges from the scenery. Step too close and it dramatically springs to life – rearing up in a very menacing way.
Spider world pokes fun at many Australian traditions, as well as going right back to almost everyone’s childhood with an animated ‘Incey Wincey Spider’. Yes it’s fun.
The Reptile Garden’s Friendlier Animals
If these all appear rather scary don’t worry, the park also has friendlier animals and reptiles.
The park is home to many other native Australian animals including wombats, Tasmanian devils, koalas, echidnas, dingoes and the duckbill platypus.
Echidnas are spiny anteaters. They have long snouts and sticky tongues and they snuffle around looking for their food.
The underside of the belly is their main weak point, so they roll into a ball, preferably under a log, when they need to defend themselves.
And you can go talk to a red kangaroo, with lots of chances to get a good kangaroo picture. You can get very close, especially if you have something it likes to eat!
You’ll find extensive information on kangaroos as you stroll around.
The duck billed platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is an improbable creature.
So much so that when the first specimens were sent back to the old world they were believed to be someone’s idea of a prank – the bill of a duck sewn onto the fur of another animal.
But they were real. Don’t miss seeing them live – they must be one of the world’s most weird animals.
There are not many places you can see platypuses in the wild today, and they’re shy, so take the chance to shoot your own platypus pictures.
What do Lizards Eat?
Find out in the Lost World of Reptiles.
Entry to the lost world is through the gaping jaws of a 30 metre-long model crocodile. Inside you’ll find a five metre tall crocodile god, Sobek, guardian of the pharaohs and ambassador of the reptile kingdom.
He sits on a golden throne, with his feet in a pool full of live crocodiles. There are billowing puffs of smoke and bursts of thunder and lightening around him.
The exhibition houses many of the world’s most fascinating reptiles from tiny geckos to awesome king cobras.
Within the Lost World of Reptiles visitors can see the biggest, the deadliest, and even the rarest of the world’s reptile species (the rough-scaled python).
And what about dragons? Well, you’ll have to go and see for yourself!
Big Snakes and Koala Pictures
The Australian Reptile Park houses some of Australia’s largest reptiles – alligators, tortoises and huge pythons.
You can be photographed with cuddly koalas or large pythons, it’s your choice.
There are presentations every thirty minutes or so, many dealing with the most dangerous creatures that you are likely to meet in Australia.
Kids will find entertainment in Spider World and The Lost World of Reptiles
And there are many other animals to meet and greet, be awed or scared by, or ooh and aah over – joeys (baby kangaroos), baby koalas and lots more.
As well as being entertained, children and adults alike will find lots of useful information here – even more so if you plan to get off the beaten track after you leave Sydney.
Australian Reptile Gardens – the Details
This is the website for the Australian Reptile Park.
About an hour’s drive north of Sydney, it is open daily from 0900 to 1700 (closed Christmas day). Entry tickets at the gate or you can buy them in advance online, along with BBQ packs and extra tours.
The Australian Reptile Park is set in bushland. You’ll see native plants and birds all around. You can buy food and drink there or bring your own. Free barbecues are provided.
More for Children
Only in December – but not to be missed if you’re in Sydney then – is Carols in the Domain. It’s a very family-oriented Christmas celebration held outdoors in the Domain. It’s worth taking your children to.