Tuataras in our hands at Rainbow SpringsLike many of you, I had vague memories of visiting Rainbow Springs as a kid – memories that involved feeding really, really big trout and lots of native bush.  The good news is that the trout and the bush are still there (and they are slightly bigger than I remember), the better news is that seeing a kiwi up close at Rainbow Springs is pretty damn cool.

You can see a kiwi during the day in the nocturnal house.  It is a great way to see them up close especially if you have real littlies and a return night time visit is out of the question.  Do not miss the most recently hatched kiwis in their little burrows at the entrance to the kiwi house.  The staff write key details including Date of Birth next to their burrows and even the busiest of kids can be easily captivated by these tiny fluff-balls.

Rainbow Springs is perfect for a family visit in either winter or summer.  Go during the day and you are guaranteed to leave with some very special family memories.  The people at Rainbow Springs have paid real attention to the things that can make or break a family day out:

  • the toilets are clean and bloody good for kids;
  • the staff are helpful, friendly and (unlike other similar places) actually happy to see you when you walk through the door with a bunch of kids;
  • there is plenty of seating, shade and shelter for mums who are feeding;
  • your Big Splash ticket gives you access to an unlimited number of rides (no whining for “just one more go”) - do be aware than when they say splash – they mean splash – you will get wet – but it is very much worth it;
  • the playground is brand new and suits a range of ages with seats nearby for the adults;
  • you can bring your own drink bottle and fill it up with pure water from the Fairy Spring;
  • the walk through the bush to view a range of kaka, kea, kakariki, tuatara etc is push-chair friendly;
  • the parking is safe and close to the entrance – no mad dashes across busy main roads;
  • for those with a committed dinosaur fan in tow there are dinosaurs on the Big Splash (and they roar);
  • all of the display areas (such as the tuatara nursery) are at a child’s eye level which means you aren’t breaking your back lifting your little people up to see things.
  • Kids under 4yrs of age are free.

But … if you can convince the kids to have an afternoon sleep so they can stay up late then you really have to do a return visit at night using your daytime ticket. At night, those kiwi are right there in front of you – as in centimetres away from your face. This isn’t any sanitised commercial zoo experience – you can smell the earth, you can hear them snuffling, you aren’t peering through the bars of a cage because there is no cage. There is a small barrier that comes up to about knee height – and then it is just you and a bunch of real live kiwi.

They are gorgeous, feathery bundles of busy-ness. Before you know it you have joined in with the other visitors – frantically whispering and waving your arms like a mad-woman to alert your new found friends to the fact that you’ve just spotted another one – “over here”.  The kids loved it, we loved it and we all went home feeling kind of privileged and that we’d seen something very, very special.

This post is brought to you by Rainbow Springs. Thanks for supporting these sponsors that allow us to provide such fabulous giveaways.

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