Imagine this: In the space of only a few hours your kids can experience everything from exploring a nature playground and scoffing down ice-cream – all the way through to meeting a family of chimps, feeding giraffes, patting a rhino, walking with wallabies, climbing a giant buried rhino sculpture, watching an endangered Tassie Devil devour a kangaroo leg and so much more. (On the bus trip, the little ones also get a particular kick out of watching the giant bison herd poop out their lunch, because who can get through a day with little kids without some sort of discussion about digestive systems!).
Seriously though, if you’re after a family adventure to remember, you’ll definitely want to add Monarto Safari Park to your must-do list.
Between up-close experiences with lions, to discovering native animals on a secluded bushwalk, you can easily spend a whole day answering the call of the wild on safari.
With more than 500 animals and 50 different species from around the world (and some favourites from our own home turf), Monarto is well on its way to becoming the biggest safari park outside of Africa.
With so much to discover, here are our top reasons for why your kids will love exploring Monarto Safari Park.
(Before you hop in the car – remember to book your tickets ahead of your visit to avoid disappointment. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a date-specific ticket or reservation will be required for all visitors).
The kids will love unleashing their inner Indiana Jones on the Monarto Safari Park’s nature playground. It’s the perfect spot for an active adventure. You can find it close to the Visitor Centre – where you can also take a happy snap of the kids poking their heads through the meerkat sign (it’s so kitsch it’s cute!).
Check out the giant Shandu Rhino Sculpture too – the upside down feature is always a hit with kids, who love the challenge of climbing a rhino foot.
Got energy to burn? Monarto Safari Park’s extensive trail network will get the kids out into nature on a journey of discovery. Most of the trails are 25 to 30-minute self-guided experiences – long enough for a decent adventure, but not too gruelling for little legs (many are pram-friendly too).
Download the Monarto Safari Park app before you arrive, so you can access a virtual guide and maps as you go.
There are lots of star animal attractions at Monarto, but for something different the kids will get a kick out of discovering some of our amazing natives. Love hide and seek? Check out the Wallaby Gorge. Look out for Monarto’s resident queen Myrtle and her other Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby friends – the kids will love the challenge of spotting these masters of camouflage.
Monarto’s feisty Tasmanian Devils are also a must. These little guys might look cute and cuddly – until you see them tackle their breakfast! Don’t miss the daily keeper talk for a fascinating insight into these Aussie icons.
There are lots of amazing – wild – natives who make the park their home. As you drive and walk, you might be lucky enough to see the resident emus, goannas and even mallee fowl.
Sure, the animals are the big drawcards at Monarto, but children also love the thrill of exploring the park by bus (and Mum and Dad get to take a load off their feet!). Regular Zu-loop shuttle buses link the animal enclosures and popular viewing areas with the visitor centre making it easy and convenient to hop on and off as you make your way round. You’ll also get memorable views of the animals from a comfy seat as you’re driven through the exhibits.
For a truly unforgettable safari, you can’t go past coming face-to-face with one of the fiercest animals out there – the king of the jungle!
Take the walk of the brave with the Lions 360 experience – the only one of its kind in Australia. Not only can you get a spine-chillingly close look, you can even feed them!
Monarto has an impressive range of signature animal experiences – hand feed a giraffe on a Giraffe Safari, be charmed by the mischievous meerkat mob on a Meerkat Mingle, or get up close to the cheetahs in a Cheetah Experience.
Adults can also sign up for the ultimate luxury wildlife, food and wine experience with the Lions and Wines experience – including private helicopter flights, Lions 360 experience, and a five-course food and wine pairing at The Lane Vineyard.
How much does a rhino weigh? Why are giraffes’ tongues black? Why does a cheetah run so fast? Monarto’s daily Meet the Keeper sessions will answer all your kids’ burning questions about their favourite animals – and give them a closer look at the star attractions. It’s also a great way for kids to learn about what goes on behind the scenes at the park – and what life’s like for those who get to work closely with the animals. It’s also a great educational opportunity for those budding vets and zoo keepers in the family!
As a sanctuary for some of the world’s most at-risk species, Monarto Safari Park has an impressive track record with its breeding programs. That means there are usually some seriously cute new arrivals to spot, no matter how often you visit. Look out for lion cubs, a Southern White Rhino calf, giraffe calves, zebra foals – and even wild emu chicks!
If the kids are acting a little wild, head to the Visitor Centre for their own feeding time. The Monarto Safari Park café is open daily, with a tasty range of treats, small bites and hot meals. (There’s also coffee available to restore the adults’ energy levels.)
You can also pack a picnic and enjoy a relaxing lunch or break at one of the many sheltered picnic areas, or on the lawn close to the Visitor Centre. This is a great spot for families as it’s close to the sandpit, slides, swings and toilets!
Over the school holidays there’s even more for you and the family to get their teeth stuck into! Running from April 10 – April 26 visitors will find out all about the tasty Safari Snacks that Monarto Safari Park’s animals love to nibble, gnaw and chomp. Even better, there are recipes dotted around the park so that kids can make their own treats when they get home, as well as enter a competition to win a yummy Robern Menz Indulgence Box and a double pass (incl. 1 Adult + 1 Child) for a Giraffe Safari.
Located in the beautiful Murray River, Lakes and Coorong tourism region, Monarto Safari Park is just a stone’s throw away from plenty of amazing places to extend your safari adventure.
If you want to make a day (or more!) of it, why not add one of these to your Monarto experience:
1. Get those energy levels up before you head to Monarto with coffee, treats or a light meal from MOJOs in the Murray Bridge Marketplace. They also do great takeaway options – so you can pick up something tasty to enjoy on safari, or extend your trip with a picnic and play down at the riverfront at Sturt Reserve (no wild adventure is truly complete without a sighting of Bertha the Bunyip!).
2. For a truly memorable experience, enlist your own safari driver for a personal tour thanks to Juggle House Experiences. Mum and Dad can even jump onboard for special Lions, Wine and Limousine and Monarto Wild Gin tours.
3. Refuel after your safari experience with lunch or dinner for the whole family at the new Bridgeport Hotel. This spectacular new addition to Murray Bridge’s main street will open to the public in June.