Our kids have access to a range of fun activities during school holidays, but my family’s favourite things to do is head to the zoo.
Over the years, my kids have spent a fair amount of time at Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. We’ve hung with the hippos, celebrated birthdays with the baboons and enjoyed weekends with the wombats.
For me, it’s allowed me to relive my own wide-eyed childhood visits to the zoo. But every time I take my kids now, there is something new to see, a new area to explore or a new bit of interesting info to digest. Instead of tugging at my leg and asking when we’re going home (as they often do when we go on outings), my kids never want to leave. Case in point below.
These school holidays, I'm taking my kids to try out the new 'zoo passport' offered by Zoos Victoria. Sure, the word ‘passport’ makes a lot of parents think of harrowing long haul flights with grumpy kids. But not in this case.
The Zoos Victoria passport is all about adventure and fun - and it will bust the holiday boredom while ensuring your kids get outside instead of watching Moana for the 200th time.
Aptly titled Wild About Play, you and your kids can head online and use the digital passport to find different play zones at the zoo. It's like the stamp map you used to get at the zoo, but better.
You then hop in the car and head to either Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary or Werribee Open Range Zoo. Once there, you use your zoo passport to find the play zone and take some happy snaps of you and the kids enjoying a play. Extra activities will be on at each indoor or outdoor play zone too.
I'm excited about it because it will appeal to their natural sense of adventure and add an Indiana Jones vibe to the visit. The sense of accomplishment the kids feel when they find the play zone is sure to put a massive smile on their faces.
Not only do you get to enjoy a fun day surrounded by awesome animals, but Wild About Play has a prize element too, with a family holiday up for grabs to Kangaroo Island. Just upload a pic to Facebook via the digital passport, and you could find yourself walking along the pristine beach of Kangaroo Island or visiting one of the island’s many conservation parks.
OK, I need a break so I might visit more than one zoo with my selfie stick...potentially more than once. Sorry for embarrassing you in advance, kids.
While the zoo is great for the kids, it’s also great for parents. I mean there are only so many school holiday play dates we can handle, am I right? Going to the zoo gets us out of the messy house while offering up a good dose of nostalgia. It never fails to remind me of all the fun I had visiting the animals as a kid - some of my favourite childhood memories.
I credit our frequent zoo visits with fostering my kids’ love of animals and educating them on conservation and animal welfare.
Thanks to the zoo, my five-year-old has developed a real affinity for wildlife, and he sleeps with a fluffy hippo we bought at Werribee Open Range Zoo (her name is Primrose). Perhaps inspired by the real hippo he was besotted by on our visit, as you can see here.
So if you’re keen to get involved in some zoo action these Easter holidays, Wild About Play kicks off on March 30 and runs through to April 30. Plus, during school holidays and on weekends, children under 16 can visit for free!
For all the info you need on how to access the zoo passport and enter the competition, head to www.zoo.org.au/wildabout. See you soon, my meerkat friends!
What's your best zoo memory? Any school holidays ideas we should try? Tell us in the comments below.
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Zoos Victoria.
Zoos Victoria is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fighting the extinction of local wildlife through our zoos; Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo. With Australia experiencing wildlife extinction at a rapid rate, it is critical that zoos play a leading role in fighting the extinction of both local and international species. We know that every Victorian is capable of playing a role in saving these species from extinction and we’re committed to working together to preserve a future rich in wildlife.