Australian Reptile Park

This is a zoo with all the buzz and fun of a theme park. It starts from the moment you arrive and see the giant frill-necked lizard crouched over the gate. A rap-dancing ‘spider’ will invite you into Spider World, where everything is larger than life, seen from the viewpoint of a small spider. Your kids will scream with delight at the sight of giant 3-metre-high animated spiders, not to mention the real bird-eating spiders, red-backs and deadly tarantulas! The kids will also dive eagerly through the mouth of a 20-metre-long crocodile into the Lost World of Reptiles, where weird, live reptiles are watched over by the glowing eyes of a giant Egyptian crocodile god.

Price range

MID-RANGE

Contact details

Pacific Hwy, Somersby; (02) 4340 1022

 

www.reptilepark.com.au

Don't Miss

■ The world’s only funnel-web spider ‘milking’ show. This is not just for entertainment – the venom milked from the spiders is used to make antivenom and save lives.

■ The other entertaining and educational shows running throughout the day.
 
■ The giant python and the 160-kilogram Galapagos tortoise, both huge favourites with the kids.

Fabulous Facts

Sadly, in the year 2000, much of the Australian Reptile Park went up in flames, and most of the reptiles and spiders perished. One of the only survivors was an alligator snapping turtle who crawled through the hot embers and out of the collapsing building. Over the next few weeks there was a frantic effort to source new animals and reopen the zoo in temporary buildings. Some of the most urgently needed replacements were funnel-web spiders because antivenom supplies were needed in hospitals. Local residents hunted for male funnel-web spiders and brought them in so the program could start again.

Insider Tips

■ There are entertaining and educational shows about the different animals throughout the day. If you’ve ever wanted to get up close to a giant python or a 160-kilogram Galapagos tortoise, this is your chance!

■ Besides the reptiles and spiders, the zoo has exotic birds and various Australian native animals. You can cuddle up with a wombat, feed a kangaroo and have your photo taken with a koala.
 
■ As well as animal exhibits, there’s an adventure playground.
 
■ There are picnic areas and free barbecue facilities if you want to bring your own food, or you can eat at the Hard Croc Cafe.

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