This weekend we were lucky enough to do an overnight stay at Taronga Western Plains (Dubbo Zoo) and I put together a little review, and a lot of pictures.
Anyone who follows Patchwork Cactus in Instagram knows that last weekend we were lucky enough to do a Zoofari at Taronga Westen Plains Zoo (Dubbo Zoo to anyone born before the 90's) and It was a total bucket list experience.
My parents joined us for the trip which was awesome – we all stayed overnight in the luxury Savannah View Lodges inside the actual zoo. Think private tours, an African inspired buffet dinner and breakfast, fluffy robes, the world's biggest bath – all in a tent that is actually nicer than any house I have ever lived in. Yeah, it was insane. Your veranda is about 4 meters from the Savannah where Giraffes, Zebra, Eland and the occasional kangaroo roam. The keepers kindly hang the feed from 'trees' right near you so the giraffes stay close. They sweetly left us binoculars in the tent, which were not needed at all. Like not even nearly.
*This is not a paid post but we were given a generous discount in exchange for editorial consideration. All content and opinions are strictly my own.
It was a totally different zoo experience, the way Western Plains is set out challenges the conventions of zoos from the past. It more like an ark. The part we, as visitors, play is simply to fund the animals' existence, it doesn't feel at all like they are there for our entertainment. The zoo is actively ensuring genetic diversity in many endangered species, breeding others and researching all that is involved. That is where the Zoofari comes in, a massive amount of the proceeds from the overnight stay are put straight into the conservation projects and without the income that these programs create the zoo would be flat out keeping the elephants in food. The slightly hefty price tag is justified by the one on one experience you get. Not to mention the sweet digs.
The Itinery is packed and I went a bit overboard with pictures so let me walk you through them.
1) Two awe struck kids standing on our tent's veranda, if you want to see more details of the accommodation you can check out the outfit post we shot in the tent.
2) Little hands holding a stone from the 'riverbank' that separated us from the animals.
3) Hand feeding the giraffes on the first of three private tours. Squawk was the only one who didn't do it, he ate the carrot himself.
4) Behind the scenes in the rhino enclosure, watching this little girl have her lunch.
5) The African themed Zoofari Lodge, complete with bar, open fire, restaurant, pool and fire pit.
6) And a box of toys for the little ones.
7) A loosely African dinner that was pretty awesome, made more awesome by the cranky three year old who passed out and slept through the whole meal giving us some peace in quiet. The waitress even whipped her up a honey sandwich to go.
8) A pre-breakfast lima feeding exhibition, we also watched a cheetah being fed – the coolest part according to Scout.
9) Then my favourite part, getting up close and personal in the elephant shed, did you know that the elephants there get a mani every morning?
10) Scout and Nanna enjoy our private visit to the meerkats, oh my god they are so so so cute.
11) I hadn't ever seen a tiger wandering around before, this guy walked with such authority and weight, it was pretty intimidating.
12) Exploring around the 'tent'.
13) Squawk on the veranda with Gogga, the giraffes were this close, it's not a trick lens, it was crazy.
14) Hitching a ride out of there with the mountain of stuff people with toddlers end up dragging around.
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