We’ve just got back from another fab morning at the Cairns Wildlife Dome and I thought it was high time I shared the fun. Entry to the Dome is included in the locals annual 4 park pass (you can read more about it and another of the included parks here) and it’s probably the place we’ve visited the most since signing up. Everything about this place is easy – it’s located right in the heart of Cairns (above the Casino) with loads of parking, it’s open every day and you can walk around the attractions freely – coming up close to all sorts of wildlife along the way. It’s absolutely brilliant for the boys (who are both now toddlers) as they can walk around the paths and spot snakes, dragons, ducks, birds and fish all at their own eye level. There are different wildlife experiences throughout the day too – and they are all interactive and perfect for little ones with short attention spans (I’m including the husband in that last group too).
Our favourite thing to do if we time it right (at the time of writing it’s 3pm daily) is to go and see Goliath the saltwater crocodile getting his daily dose of chicken on a stick – the keeper hooks up some chicken entrails on a big fishing rod type affair and dangles it into the enclosure for the hungry croc to feast on. OK so this doesn’t exactly sound like toddler entertainment but the boys LOVE it and I often find Mr 2 year old running round the house with a tennis ball (chicken) in his butterfly catching net being chased by the ‘snap snap dog’. Also I think it has fostered a nice and healthy fear of the big green guys – prior to visiting the Dome I think the boys thought all crocs were soft, green and fluffy and something to sing about (never smile at a crocodile…). Every time we’ve been to the feeding it’s not been too busy and due to the setup of the enclosure you are right in the action and up close to the feast (check out our short video clip here) It doesn’t matter how many times I hear it, the jaw snap of a saltie is one of the most incredible and fearful sounds in the world and it always makes me jump – the acoustics created by the huge dome overhead just adds to the awe!
Oh and for anyone mad enough you can zipline over the top of Goliath’s enclosure as part of the Zoom course – this is way beyond my boys’ age but is something we are very much looking forward to in the future! I did the course with work when the attraction first opened and it was brilliant – I felt part monkey and part kid all over again as we scaled the obstacles and clambered up into the Dome – you even get to walk around the outside of the dome and see 360 degree views of Cairns and the Coral Sea and do a freefall drop once you reach the top. The Zoom part of the Dome isn’t included in the 4 park pass though so make sure you take funds if you’re keen to do this (WELL worth it!)
We also love the reptile show where a baby croc and big snake are brought out for viewing and handling, and also the bird show with the feisty characters of the feathered variety. There is SO much personality in the Dome it’s not possible to be bored there or have the same experience twice.
There are also beautiful koalas and pademelons to see, lots of amphibians and smaller reptiles and an immersion feature of birds – all doing their thing with the backdrop of the ocean and the stunning Cairns skyline. Beautiful.
My personal fave are the tawny frogmouths – they are just the cutest looking things and exude pure attitude (wait that sounds like my children!)
For locals or tourists we cannot recommend this place enough – and if you’re visiting with the grandparents you can always send them off with the kids to the fab Treehouse playground across the road afterwards while you visit the Casino below for a cocktail and a Keno!***
***(In. My. Dreams)