18 April 2024

Exciting school holiday adventures await at Mogo with lions, tigers, gorillas and more

| Claire Sams
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lioness and cub

Here, kitty, kitty … Fluffy (and super cute) lion cubs, and their protective parents, are among the animals waiting for you at Mogo Zoo these school holidays. Photo: June Andersen.

It’s a strange feeling looking at the cute lion cubs as they run about and explore their new home, all the while knowing a protective (if not overprotective) mother is never far away.

“Mum’s always keeping an eye on them,” zookeeper Chad Staples said.

“They’re very curious about people, so you find them doing a lot of people-watching and interacting with visitors to the zoo.

“People are just loving that!”

Born in January, Baako and Evelyn’s clubs are among the key attractions at Mogo Wildlife Park on the NSW South Coast, which is also home to gorillas, rhinoceros, giraffes, zebras, meerkats, tigers and more animals native to Australia and from far-away lands.

Like young children, two young lion cubs are finding their feet and busy exploring the world around them under the watchful eye of mum and dad.

“The cubs are getting braver and braver and bigger and bigger every day,” zookeeper Chad said.

“At the moment, the cubs are learning how to climb trees and are watching how mum and dad sit up on the rocks and their beds and search their environment for different things to play with.”

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Visitors to the zoo will also be able to see the hyenas – and maybe a baby hyena if they are lucky.

“We’re waiting for our pregnant hyena to pop, but there are no signs yet, unfortunately, but we know we’re getting close,” Chad said.

“It’s always hard to gauge exactly how far along animals are.

“To pick the exact date is very difficult because we obviously don’t know exactly when she fell pregnant, but she’s looking like it is close to when she will give birth.”

At a time of year when parents are looking for activities that will keep the kids busy – and out from under their feet – during the school holidays, Chad said the zookeepers and other zoo staff are hard at work getting ready to welcome kids and their families over the break.

“The autumn holidays are a nice time because it’s generally a pretty nice temperature – not too hot, not too cold,” the zookeeper said.

“Our preparations are more about making sure the park is looking its best, as well as the animals people come to see.”

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Those who are travelling to other parts of NSW do not need to miss out – Australian Wildlife Parks also operates Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park in Sydney and Hunter Valley Wildlife Park in the Hunter Valley region.

Youngsters can take advantage of the Kids Go Free campaign – which gives free entry for up to two children aged three to 15 years old when an adult ticket is purchased – while the young at heart can try their hand at being a Zookeeper for a Day.

“School holidays are often the first introduction they’ve had to animals from around the world – the very first time they might get to see a lion or giraffe or a gorilla,” he said.

“We just always want to encourage more of that.

“The school holidays are a great time to be out and about exploring the natural environment rather than being stuck inside.”

Mogo Wildlife Park is located at 222 Tomakin Road in Mogo and is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm.

Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park is located at 217 Kildare Road in Doonside, while the Hunter Valley Wildlife Park is located on Lomas Lane in Nulkaba (near Cessnock).

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