The Australian Reptile Park and Wildlife Sanctuary
Meet Hugo the galapagos tortoise Pet a friendly, fluffy wombat Have a picnic with a family of star tortoises Meet a cuddly  koala - so cute you'll die! Oooo... It's a snake! Bilby Cute little Devils A tastey meal Play in the park

The Friendly Hands-On Zoo

History

A Timeline Through History

1949: Park founder Eric Worrell opens his first tourist attraction, The Ocean Beach Aquarium, at Umina on the Central Coast
1951: Eric begins a long-term association with the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, providing snake venom required to produce antivenoms.
1958: The Ocean Beach Aquarium moves to North Gosford and becomes the Australian Reptile Park. During the next few years Eric becomes a well known identity Australia-wide as a naturalist and the Park grows rapidly from its two original snake pits and entry kiosk.
1963: Australia's first 'big' icon and the Reptile Park's mascot - 40 tonne, 30 metre, 'Ploddy' the Dinosaur - is built at the Park entrance overlooking the Pacific Highway.
1965-70: The Reptile Park grows in leaps and bounds under the Curatorship of Peter Krauss. Many non-native reptiles are imported. The first 'noctarium' in Australia is built to house nocturnal mammals of Australia and New Guinea. Crowds of over 170,000 are attracted each year.
1963:

Australia's first icon and the Parks mascot - 40 tonne, 30 metre, Ploddy the Dinosaur - is built and placed at the Park entrance.

First Park in Australia to import foreign snakes, including king cobras.

1970:

Eric receives an MBE personally from the Queen in recognition of his life-saving role in the development of anti-venom. The Reptile Park begins providing funnel-web spider venom to the CSL in the long process of developing an anti-venom.

The Park begins providing funnel-web spider venom to the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories to develop anti-venom.

1980: Finally, the long-awaited funnel-web spider anti-venom is made available
1984: The Reptile Park visitation down to less than half of what it had been in the 'golden days' and business must find a solution or close down. A "Save the Reptile Park" Committee is formed independently to help the Park through tough times. More than 100,000 signatures requested state government assistance, which was rejected.
1985: A management team is formed to steer the Reptile Park, which included future owners John and Robyn Weigel.
1986-91: Tremendous efforts are made to revitalize and promote the aging attraction.
1987: Eric Worrell dies of a heart attack, aged 63.
1989: 4.7 metre long 'Eric' the salt water crocodile is imported from the Northern Territory on a special jet freighter - named in honour of Eric Worrell. The Park enjoys big crowds.
1990: The park opens 'Reptiles Alive' in Sydney, a large budget reptile exhibit on the lower level of Sydney Tower. This exhibition attracted half a million paying visitors during its five year life.
1992: Launch of the Park's mobile education program, 'We're All Little Aussies', visiting more than 150,000 school children Australia-wide each year to the end of the decade.
John and Robyn Weigel become principal owners of the business, and make the decision to relocate the Park.
1993: A location for the new Australian Reptile Park is found: a beautiful bushland site is chosen at Somersby, near Gosford, adjacent to Old Sydney Town. The design process begins immediately.
1995: Construction of the new Park commences
1996: The new Reptile Park's grand opening is held on 7 September, signaling the first relocation of a fauna park of its size in Australia. The event is preceded by a parade through Gosford celebrating the relocation of Ploddy the dinosaur to its new home. Over 15,000 well-wishers lined the streets of Gosford and cheered as Ploddy was ceremoniously transported from the 'old' Australian Reptile Park - along her way to the future.
1997: The Reptile Park wins its first tourism awards for Major Attraction and Environmental Tourism at the Regional Tourism Awards.
1998:

The Reptile Park wins the regional, State, and National Tourism Award for Best Regional Attraction.

The Park has a birthday - and celebrates 50 years of saving lives and bringing smiles.

1999:

The Park once again wins Regional, State and National Tourism Award in the category of Best Regional Attraction. Additionally won an 'Award of Distinction' in category of Environmental Tourism for NSW.

The Park is honoured to win special 'Award of the Decade' commemorating the best regional attraction in NSW during the decade 1989 - 1998.

2000:

A devastating fire wiped out Reptile Park's main building, destroying Australia's largest collection reptiles, amphibians and spiders on the night of 16 July. All the external facilities and animals, including Eric the crocodile, escaped the fire. A fault in an electrical lead was found to be the cause.

The Reptile Park reopened in an abbreviated format on 9 September in time to capitalize on tourism surge generated by the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The exciting and unique Lost World of Reptiles exhibit opens on Boxing Day, attracting record crowds.

2001:

Spider World, the final part of the rebuilding process opens to the general public at Easter.

The Australian Reptile Park is the recipient of a $90,000 federal government grant from the Regional Tourism Program, the cheque is officially handed over by Jim Lloyd, federal member for Robertson.

June
2008

Australian Reptile Park Director Honoured
Australian Reptile Park Director John Weigel receives one of the nation’s highest civilian awards – Member (AM) of the Order of Australia. The award was announced by the Governor General as part of the Queen’s Birthday celebrations in recognition of John’s contributions to Australian tourism, herpetology, and snake venom production.

 

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