The next morning we were in for a long day, so we woke up early to get packed up, check out, grab some breakfast, and get to the Australia Zoo right right when it opened, around 9 am. It was only about a 20 minute drive from Mooloolaba, but by the time we got there the parking lot was already quite crowded! But we found a spot and paid the $57 (per person!) entrance fee. I always have conflicting feelings about zoos. They are, of course, all very different, with different policies and missions. I don’t like that most zoos are geared towards children – can’t animals – zoology – be an adult interest, as well?? haha, anyways, Australia Zoo has a strong conservation message, which is great, and donates a substantial portion of money towards conservation projects. It seems to be doing a good job carrying on the dreams of Steve Irwin, as now his wife runs the zoo, and their children play an important part in it as well.
We grabbed a map of the zoo and saw that at 11:00 they were doing the croc show – which of course, we couldn’t miss! So we got to the “Crocoseum” and grabbed some seats in the blazing sun and waited. We were early, so we were subjected to an interesting sight – Bindi Irwin performing an animated song & dance routine with her “Jungle Girls” on stage for a mass of children below. After a little bit of waiting, out came Terri Irwin, Steve’s widow, to begin the croc show…but unfortunately there was some commercial things before the show could start – first, I guess this just happened to be on the day we were there, but Terri spent a good 20 minutes talking about a child recovery bracelet plan for Queensland, having the police chief and a representative from the company there and saying how she uses it for her children for a slew of news reporters. It was so random. Anyways, after that, those people left, and Bindi came out to join her mom, and then it was time to introduce Bindi in her first feature film – Free Willy 4 or 5 or something. They played the trailer for it on the big screen. After all that was out of the way, the croc show finally started!