You hold up your underwater camera and snap wildly. Your kids wave and grin; just centimetres away, crocodiles longer than they are twist and paddle through the water. The kids bob up for air, then dive down again, revelling in the experience of swimming with crocodiles – well, it feels like they are anyway, with only a clear acrylic wall as a barrier. In a few hours your camera will be filled with amazing images. You’ll capture the kids holding and patting baby crocodiles, draping snakes over themselves, and watching round-eyed as a python devours two rats.
■ Your chance to hold a baby crocodile – this is available all through the day, just keep an eye out for a staff member in a yellow T-shirt. Have your photo taken, then turn it into a postcard at the photoshop (extra cost).
■ The Fishing for Crocs platform where you experience the excitement of having juvenile crocodiles leap up and snatch meat that you are dangling over an acrylic barrier.
■ The Meet the Reptiles activity where you might get the chance to drape a snake around your neck.
■ The crocodile feeding times when a handler gets right inside the enclosure with a large ‘saltie’!
Crocodiles are the oldest ‘living fossil’. They have barely changed in millions of years and their origins can be traced back to the dinosaurs. The largest crocodile skeleton ever found belonged to a 100-million-year-old Sarcosuchus. A modern saltwater crocodile can grow to about 6 metres, but this skeleton found in the African Niger Desert was 12 metres long!
■ Allow at least two hours to see everything.
■ The crocodiles in the swimming tank are juveniles, and have reached a length of 1–1.5 metres. Make sure the kids bring bathers so they can hop in the water ‘with the crocodiles’. This activity runs all day; no extra cost.
■ Crocosaurus Cove has much more than crocodiles. There are over 70 species of reptiles from northern Australia on display, as well as a two-storey aquarium filled with huge fish, stingrays, freshwater crocodiles and turtles.
■ Bring sunscreen and hats as many activities are in unshaded outdoor areas.
■ When you need a break from the heat, move indoors to the air-conditioning.
■ Check the program of events (available on the website) to make sure you don’t miss anything. The program is different for wet and dry seasons.
■ This park is famous for its Cage of Death experience (extra, high cost), but the minimum age for this is 15 years. If the adults want to have a go, be aware the crocodiles involved are not usually very active or aggressive.
■ If you visit in the evening, you can have the thrill of spotlighting for crocodiles from the viewing platform.
■ There is a cafe on site and it remains open for dinner.