The Australian Reptile Park at Somersby will reopen its gates on June 1, following the further relaxing of social restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Director Tim Faulkner said the park had been inundated with daily requests for it to reopen.
“After weeks of lockdown, the public have been craving outdoor activities to experience with their family and connection to nature and now the Australian Reptile Park is ecstatic to open the doors and deliver this,” Faulkner said
To welcome back visitors, the Park is offering free one-hour guided tours included with the price of general admission.
“During these unprecedented times, visiting a wildlife park with your family is the best way to connect with nature and each other,” Faulkner said.
“Connecting with nature and experiencing the natural world is what we do, and I can’t wait to share that again with our visitors.”
Faulkner said tens-of millions of people had watched the Park’s educational videos and live streams during lockdown as staff continued working to care for more than 3,000 animals on site.
He said the park was taking extra precautions to keep visitors, staff and animals safe with all details on upgraded health and safety measures available on it is website.
The guided tours will be limited to nine visitors per group and will take visitors throughout the Park and behind the scenes and will include animal encounters between 9.30am and 2.30pm daily.
Visitors will be allocated tour times upon arrival at the Park and are encouraged to pre-book.
In what will be an alluring feature for many, the Park has just welcomed the first koala joey to be born since the catastrophic bushfires this summer.
Staff said the arrival of “Ash” is the good news that everyone has been waiting for since January.
Park Zookeeper, Dan Rumsey, said it was an incredible moment when staff saw Ash poke her head out of her mum’s pouch for the first time.
“Ash represents the start of what we’re hoping will be another successful breeding season,” Rumsey said.
“Last year, we had seven healthy koala joeys and we’re very keen to help bolster their numbers after wild populations were ravaged during the horrific bushfire season.
“Ash has also been seen ‘papping’, which is a great sign that she is developing well and is growing into a healthy little koala.
“Papping is a process that involves the joey feeding on its mother’s specialised form of faeces.
“This strengthens the joey’s essential gut bacteria which is needed to break down eucalyptus leaf.
“Ash is estimated to be five months old and is right on track to be emerging from the pouch for the first time.
“Her mother Rosie has shown exemplary parenting skills and we know that Ash is in good paws.”
Media releases, May 25 and May 27
Australian Reptile Park