Friday, April 2, 2010

Alma Park Zoo

My kids are a marketer’s dream.

They see the ads, they want the product. And they’re not just keen on theme parks and toys; Oh dear me, no. They are also convinced we need loads of the ubiquitous handy household stuff that are regularly spruiked on daytime TV.

“Mum, we need one of those,” says Mr 9, of miraculous inventions called ShamWows and Steam Mops. And also, those Zumba weightloss DVDs. Hmm ...

Anyway, for years now, the ankle-biters have been taken with television ads for Brisbane’s Alma Park Zoo.

Located on the other side of Brisbane, I’ve always whipped out that useful Mummy staple answer of ‘one day’, whenever they’ve asked to visit.

Eventually, One Day actually came, and the kids couldn’t quite believe it when we pulled up at the entrance.

It’s a weird set-up, where you pay at the entrance to the car park ... which means much fiddling with credit cards and cash, and I imagine, some delays on weekends and holidays.

Luckily, this wasn’t the case for our visit, but I couldn’t help but wonder why they do it that way. Perhaps it’s because, compared to other zoos and tourist attractions we’ve been lucky enough to visit, the entrance isn’t actually that inviting. Perhaps some would-be visitors might scarper after clocking the comparatively steep entry fee! (It cost $A72 for the three of us.)

It was pleasing to see free picnic and barbecue facilities under shady trees, and I wish we’d thought of bringing a hamper of goodies and drinks instead of having to make do with snacks from the cafe.

Perhaps we’re spoiled but the zoo wasn’t a patch on similar attractions we’ve visited. The enclosures seemed small and run-down, and in some cases, it was hard to get a good look at the animals via the cages.

“It wasn’t as good as they make it look on TV,” Mr 9 said glumly. And I had that sad feeling in the pit of my stomach that you get sometimes when you see wild animals in cages ... a feeling which doesn't come as frequently in these enlightened times.

To be fair, Alma Park Zoo is some 40 years old, and like many 40-somethings (myself included) could probably do with a makeover. There were loads of animals though, including red pandas, lemurs, and even a sun bear; and the kids got to feed a host of furry and feathered friends.

It was an enjoyable afternoon, though I wouldn’t rush back. And at least the ‘can we go there?” requests have ended – for now!

"Mumma, this aminal (sic) is dead!" said Miss 7 dramatically. Er no, it was just sleeping.

A sleepy koala

Mr 9 feeds the donkeys ... he was game!

Poo ... I don't think this dude has heard of breath freshener

Feeding the farm animals

It can't be helped, but it's always disappointing when exhibits are closed
There were some really cute two-legged animals there too!


Not Quite Nigella said...

As Taronga is our local, I always seem to get disappointed by other zoos although I was quite pleased at the compactness of Melbourne Zoo! :) Oh dear, that animal does look rather expired though!

Bronnie Marquardt said...

Quite a few of the animals looked rather, erm, expired, but in fairness it was a boiling hot Queensland day.