Max Fun at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Enjoying Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Blinky-Bill.jpgHolidays are supposed to be a time to relax, experience something new and enjoy each other’s company; preferably, all at once.

But sometimes things don’t go according to plan and at the end of the day, feeling like a tattered sock after too long in a spin cycle seems an unjust reward for attempting to do the right thing. This can be an all too common occurrence, especially when entertaining young children amid a smorgasbord of viewing and playing opportunities.

The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary can be one of those places. But, with a few tried and tested tips, this doesn’t need to be the case.

That said, here are JWK’s list of the top ten ways to better ensure your Sanctuary visit is memorable for all the right reasons.

1. Have a general plan of attack in place before entering the grounds.
Remember this if you remember nothing else: the Sanctuary is big. Sixty six acres full of animals most people only read about and play areas children dream of. Even with only one child, it can be real easy to get pulled in five different directions at once with a new and exciting sight vying for you or your child’s attention around every corner. Save yourself the headache and download both the Sanctuary map and daily show timetable here BEFORE beginning your visit. Have a meeting of the minds, decide what’s a must see and what would be nice if you still have the time and the energy. Then do your best to stick to that plan. You’ll be very glad you did.

2. Turn off your phone.
I’ve been to the park too many times to count but I still remember our first family train ride and the massive smile it generated on Kaia’s face. No call or text message is worth missing a chance at that sort of memory and the park provides many such opportunities. Nuff said.

3. Wear good shoes.
With this one, ask yourself just how big 28 hectares/66 acres really is? The answer—just a little shy of 50 American football fields—might just surprise you. That’s how big the grounds of the Sanctuary are with some of that area involving a fair bit of up and down. Not exactly ideal for breaking in a new pair of high heels to chase the little one around in. Take care of your lil’ doggies and they’ll take care of you. If not, you could be in for a long day of sightseeing.

4.Understand most of the park inhabitants are not TRAINED animals.
To the contrary, they’re essentially wild animals. Wild animals that, though accustomed to humans and much of the interaction that goes with them, are not circus animals ready to perform at a moment’s notice. That said, it’s very possible that the kangaroos and Rainbow Lorikeets may not want to feed from you hand, the wombats, dingoes or Tasmanian Devils may not be as active (or even visible) as you’d prefer or that ‘Boss Hog’, the park’s 4.8 meter long saltwater croc, may not be in as ideal a photogenic location as you’d hoped would be the case. Don’t get discouraged. Just remember that Mother Nature works on her own schedule and, the reality is, coming back for a second or, even, third viewing attempt might be required.

5. Don’t try to squeeze your Sanctuary visit in between anything else.
Once again, don’t underestimate either the size or the variety of animals and activities on display at the Sanctuary. If you have a lot on your plate for the visit day in question and think you’ll easily be able to pop in and out to keep everyone happy, you may be setting yourself up for a bit of heartache. In the end, you’ll only end up rushing and, invariably, short changing yourself. If this is your predicament, definitely check out number six.

6. Consider the practicalities of becoming a National Trust Properties member.
At first it might seem strange to buy what amounts to a 12 month unlimited entry park pass when you’re only going to be in the area for, say, a week. Yet, upon closer inspection, the flexibility of being able to come and go at over 300 sites throughout Australia whenever you choose during that time just might net you the best of all worlds; especially when dealing with a crowded schedule. Membership also includes entry to Superbee Honeyworld, Surf World Gold Coast (both located across the street from the main park entrance), a 15% food and retail discount, free parking and more. Check with the Visitor Services desk for the various individual and family memberships that just might work for you.

7. Utilize the playgrounds and the train as adult rest stops.
Between there being so much to see and what are often limited amounts to time to take it all in, it’s hardly surprising you may find yourself in need of a break (Note: for an added charge, Segway tours of the park are an option). Do this by utilizing either the Wild Burger or the Wild Island Adventure Playgrounds (the latter having a zip line that brings out the child in every parent). Sit back and let the little ones run to their hearts content. And if this doesn’t work, take a load off by hopping on at any of the Sanctuary’s four train stops for a tour (or two) around the park. After this, you’ll be ready for more.

8. Get to the Aboriginal Dance Performance 20 minutes early.
In addition to being the only Sanctuary show which doesn’t have both a morning and an afternoon show time, the Aboriginal Dance Show area (show time at 3:30) can be another place to catch a relatively quiet moment. There, 20 minutes before show time, allow yourself to sit among towering Bangalow Palms, Eucalyptus and Paperbark trees and take in the sounds of the indigenous group, The Saltwater Band, playing over the sound system. Assuming your children are content to entertain themselves in the area or your better half is willing to take the young ones over to the Wild Island Adventure Playground– which is located directly across from the dance area—the area’s natural beauty has a way of recharging the system.

9. Maybe pack a lunch.
There’s no denying that, regardless of whether you’re going the National Trust Membership route or not, a family day outing to the Sanctuary can put a dent in the wallet. Especially if you have to factor in feeding the natives into the equation. But it doesn’t have to be this way. That is, so long as you’re content to pack an esky/cooler and utilize the multiple re-entry option of your day pass. Head a block over to the beach or barely 200 meters to Len Wort or Alex Griffiths parks where picnic tables await, have a feed and come back in for more when you’re ready. Everything will be right where you left it.

10. Talk to a volunteer.
It probably comes as little surprise that a park the size of the Sanctuary doesn’t run itself. A LOT of man/woman power goes into keeping the various animals cared for, the grounds maintained and guests catered to. As such, the place relies heavily on more than 400 individuals serving across five volunteer programs to help get the job done; one hundred and fifty plus of these in the visitor engagement and customer service department alone. Donning easily recognizable yellow long sleeve shirts, they’ve been put through an 11 week training program and are a goldmine of information just waiting to be discovered. Considering many have been volunteering for upwards of five years, with one at 20 years and counting, it should go without saying, they love what they do. Maybe just ask one why and your family’s visit will be all the more better for it.

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