Luckily, Brisbane is only an hour south of this fantastic zoo and animal-rehab center run by the family of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, who died in 2006. While the zoo's focus is on wildlife conservation, it offers visitors more than 20 up-close encounters with creatures. You can spend quality time with a Komodo dragon, ride a camel, walk with a wombat and hand-feed a lemur, red panda or giant tortoise. At the Tiger Temple, you can view tigers swimming underwater. Asian elephants bathe below a waterfall at Elephantasia, and crocodile shows take place in the 5,000-seat Crocoseum. In all, the zoo shelters more than 1,000 animals.
Steve Irwin—who shot to fame with the wildlife-documentary series The Crocodile Hunter—grew up at this zoo. Though the star died while snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef (he was hit in the chest by a stingray barb), his legacy lives on at this 28-hectare (70-acre) sanctuary. It houses over a thousand native and exotic animals from koalas to cheetahs and Asian elephants. Many visitors schedule around the noon show at the Crocoseum; it features several slithering, snapping male "salties," who can hit seven meters (23 feet) and 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds)!
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