More of a dreamer, explorer, philosopher and "migrant"...I have a different perspective on almost everything I experience. My passion for WRITING is the only thing I know for sure...in this ever-changing world.
Published August 10th 2014
Animal encounters you don't think possible
Blink and you would miss it. Not your regular zoo or sprawling animal park, Maru Koala and Animal Park is twice as good and many times more interactive. It is located on the way to Phillip Island, more specifically : 1650 Bass Hwy, Grantville VIC 3984.
Open every day -9:30am to at least 5:30pm. Open till late during the summer school holidays.
Keeper presentations (lots of fun facts and supervised interaction) at the start of every hour between 10 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday. Every day – Sheep Shearing Show at 3pm
1. You get to see koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, dingoes, tasmanian devils, emus, parrots, wombats, an albino kangaroo,snakes and much more...up close and personal.
2. Touch, pat and feed the kangaroos...they are very docile, scattered in the enclosure lazily sunbathing and eager to be fed and loved. A rare sight compared to far-away chance sightings or stuffed representations at your local museum.
3. Your kids will get unforgettable memories...whats more, you can capture these memories by going for the "close encounter" option where they can pat and cuddle it as well as learn about the animal, its name and habits and have a professional photograph taken with it as a souvenir.
4. Click as many animal selfies as you want - no photography restrictions.
5. Attend the sheep-shearing show everyday at 3 pm...it will be filled with laughter, fun facts and an actual live sheep shearing session demonstrated by an experienced person. I don't know about you, but I always wondered what the sheep would look like after that!
6. Actual pirate ship on the side with life-size pirate figures including one of Captain Jack Sparrow and skeletons.You will also find a waterfall and an impressively huge false shark figure hanging (leads to many inspired funny clicks!).
It has been transformed into a pirate wonderland which you must see to believe. No wonder this surreal experience has led them to organise Grantville Pirate Festival each year-dress up and attend! It is usually held during Autumn.
7.Homestead Bistro, their on-site breakfast and lunch area is open everyday with delicious options for all ages and can also cater to vegetarian,halal and gluten-free options as requested. It was especially hot the day I went there, I quite enjoyed their icecream selection.
8. Golf lovers rejoice! There is Pirate Pete's mini-golf area upgraded in 2008 next to the pirate section, with entertaining props and a variety of terrains along the way.
9. As wild life patriots, you contribute towards their authorized wildlife shelter because the place is not government funded in any way, just a family owned business.Many native animals crippled by injury or orphaned are nursed and returned to the wild.
Money raised from your purchase of Kangaroo-food helps with operating and maintenance costs. Who doesn't like to help animals while making memories on the side!
10. Even if you don't make a day of it, you can continue later towards Phillip Island which is literally 15 minutes away from this place. In fact for me, this was a pleasant surprise discovery on the way to the island and I am glad I found it.
From its modest beginnings, Maru Park has developed into an award winning and professional tourist attraction that is still very proudly family owned and operated. It was a finalist in the Victorian Tourism Awards 2011 and 2012 and originally founded by Mrs. Ruth Heffer and her late husband George.
Their kids Marilyn, Stephen and Ian were all involved and operate it to this day. Tragically in January 2009 the building and all contents were burnt in a major fire. The charred remains of the original building were cleared away and later rebuilt with over a million dollar investment in 2011.
Now it has a bistro, souvenir area, Pirate wonderland, mini-golf area and dining area with an indoor playroom overlooking the animal park which houses most of its wild residents.
My final verdict would be - for wildlife enthusiasts, people who have never seen/been close to Australia's native animals before, skip the lifeless museum, skip the binoculars for an endless wait of a chance encounter and put your foot on the pedal towards Maru Park NOW!