Freelance writer living on Brisbane's north side. Studied creative industries - currently studying library and information services.
Published August 11th 2012
Alma Park Zoo, located in South East Queensland is home to many exotic and native Australian animals. I personally love going to zoos and crooning over the different animals I see, but I always wish to get closer to the animals Alma Park Zoo can cater for that.
Alma Park Zoo offer VIP Animal Experiences. These 'experiences' enable you to feed and interact with beautiful animals inside their enclosures with the guidance and support of their keepers. There are four VIP animal experiences available at Alma Park Zoo. You can choose to spend time with either: Marmosets, Ring-Tailed Lemurs, Red Pandas or Eastern Quolls. It is highly recommended that you pre-book your chosen experience before your visit to save missing out. Tickets for these can be posted out or held until your arrival.
The VIP experience with the marmosets, lemurs and pandas costs $75 per person with a maximum of between two and four people per day. The Eastern Quoll experience costs $40 with a maximum of two people in the enclosure at any one time. These experiences are available all year round, apart from June-September when the Eastern Quoll becomes unavailable due to breeding season.
When we were planning our day at the zoo, my partner and I decided (much to my excitement) that we would choose an animal experience. After much consideration, we ended up choosing to visit the red panda brothers: Nima and Dawa I was thrilled. I called up to pre-book and pay, and then counted the days until our zoo visit 5 to go.
On the day of our experience, we arrived at the zoo and received our little passes for our chosen experience. The red panda experience is at 11:15am daily, so we had a few hours to take a look around, meet and feed the other animals first before meeting Nima and Dawa.
Alma Park Zoo: the Red Panda brothers Nima and Dawa
When 11:15am rolled around, we were waiting by the Red Panda enclosure, having watched the two red pandas for the past couple of minutes. They were gorgeous. Two keepers met us; we entered the enclosure through the back and were given a bowl each to hold filled with fragrant fruit and vegetables. As we sat down, Nima and Dawa began to descend from their branches, knowing it was feeding time.
Nima, the cheekier gutsier panda, hopped up onto my partner's legs and began to scoff out of the bowl. Dawa, a little shyer, crept up onto my skirts, looked at me, and began to eat. Dawa's weight was nothing, and he was quite happy resting on me as he ate from his bowl. The keepers were taking photos so we would have something to take home, but I was happy just holding and patting Dawa as he peacefully ate.
After a while, Dawa hopped down to lick his paws and Nima jumped up to see if Dawa had been eating anything different/better. Nima ate from the bowl I had and I was able to pat him as well. After they both had eaten their fill, we placed more food down for later and patted them as they began to fall asleep. We asked questions about them and the zoo and the keepers were more than happy to talk about their beloved animals.
If you're planning a trip to Alma Park Zoo, I would strongly recommend booking a VIP Animal Experience. The keepers are wonderfully helpful and supportive and the animals are just amazing. The experience is something that you would not be able to do in your normal everyday life, and that makes it a very special occurrence in my opinion. You can visit Nima and Dawa, the Red Panda brothers, the Ring-Tailed Lemurs, the Marmosets or the Eastern Quolls.
If you're not yet convinced, or would like further information, hit up the Alma Park Zoo website here, email them at email@example.com or call them on: (07) 3204 6566.