By day a Business Consultant in a black suit. By night a writer incognito, pink slippers and cat fluff tracky dacks.
Published June 17th 2012
Visiting Monarto tends to leave its visitors riding home, slumped in their seats with a pleasant exhaustion stretched from ear to ear. However cordoned off from the masses are the demanding tasks of caring for and tending to the exotic animals. The keeper's daily routine provides an opportunity for the general public to fulfil the dream of assistant keeper.
Observe lions in their habitat
Snack distribution Herding cats (wild and large) Serve dinner to rowdy, unruly crowd Tuck in lions for nighty night
Loads of patience A certified lover of animals
Attention to detail A strong constitution. The lions are a bit smelly. Spatial awareness. Lions are big cats so beware the scenting. It's at head level.
Influencing skills. 'Here kitty' might not cut it.
Practice with the domestic variety is favourable
Must be 10 or older. There's no teasing the lions with meal upgrades.
Hat (there's no shade on the savannah)
Water (water is scarce too)
Own transport or arrangements required
Monarto isn't your typical office environment so no need to bring your personalised staple remover. As the animals are free to wander within their boundaries the atmosphere is quite friendly and relaxed. Take care at the water cooler though as there is pushing and the occasional scuffle. The work team is intimate allowing for plenty of personal tuition.
The lion dining hall is impressive for getting really close up experiences. When an adult lion roars it can be felt it in your bones and he's just asking to pass the salt - please. For most people lion experiences are limited to documentaries or embellished characterisations. The real ones are disarming and you find yourself calculating how long it might take them to devour your scanty bones.
This is a great gift idea to say thanks or for someone needing a break from daily life. Being immersed in an unfamiliar world that is as engaging as it is enriching and is a guaranteed healthy distraction.
Other attractions include walking tracks, bus tours (30 minutes apart), rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, wild dogs, meerkats and a centrally located café.
Where is Monarto? 65 km or 40 miles from Adelaide (1 hour)
When: Tues, Fri, Sat, Sun
What time: 3.15pm
Cost: $125 (Zoos SA members receive a discount)
Transport: Try Link SA
Near by attractions: Murray Bridge, The River Murray, Tailem Bend
We happily fed the lions and tucked them in for bed last Tuesday - a fantastic experience and highly recommended! Only problem was forgetting that lions are NOT vegetarian and eat large amounts of meat!! As I am a vegetarian it was a bit confronting having to pick up a head of beef!! :)