The Bali safari and marine park came so highly recommended from my many Bali connected friends that it was an easy choice as our one big outing for our week there.
It took us about an hour from our hotel to get there. We made sure to get there early as we knew it would get hot and we also wanted to be sure not to miss any of the special shows on offer.
The boys loved the safari bus that takes you from the front entrance to the park itself and the live traditional Indonesian music played as you get off the bus is a lovely touch.
The marine park is rather small – still in development apparently but it’s well presented and the kids enjoyed seeing some of the unusual fish on display. We stayed for the piranha feeding frenzy – they are actually quite menacing looking fish even before they start eating. They barely move when they swim and just seem to be looking out at you, sizing you up! I hope their lack of movement is natural and not related to how much room they have because the tank did seem rather full. Nonetheless, they didn’t stay still for long once the food arrived! It was astonishing to watch how ravenously and impressively they stripped away a whole chicken to the bare bones.
Next we moved on to the animal show. It was OK, especially watching the birds swoop in to eat, but I am never comfortable with performing orangutans and it seemed like such a poor experience after seeing them in the jungle in Sumatra.
Next we moved on to the elephant conservation show. Again, performing wild animals is not my cup of tea but I will readily admit to being blown away by this incredible show which tells the story of the relationship between man and Sumatran elephants. The show involved incredible action and movement – including an elephant rescuing a man from the water, an act which my boys have not stopped talking about and A has asked us to play out several times in the swimming pool since.
A is definitely our animal lover – especially elephants which seems fitting as I’ve mentioned before that he shares a birthdate with baby elephant Mali in the Melbourne zoo. So it was for him that again, despite me feeling a little uncomfortable about an elephant kept in a very small enclosed space, we paid a nominal fee (about $3 aud) to feed an elephant a bunch of carrots. I so hope that elephant is a happy one because my boys so so loved that opportunity of feeding him.
From there we took the safari bus around the safari track. There was an interesting rang if animals but some didn’t seem to have as much space to roam as you would hope – but that might just be how it seemed from the bus. Still was a great experience for the kids.
From there we had lunch at the Uma restaurant and we were impressed with the range and price of food there. We made it a quick lunch though because we wanted to catch the Drumming monkeys show – relax, not real monkeys! Just a very clever and fun interactive puppet show which the kids absolutely loved (it was a special event and not always there but can recommend it if you ever get the chance!).
And from there we hit the Water park. Seemed a bit of an odd mix to me to have a water play park in the middle of a Safari park, but not complaining at all as we were quite hot by that stage and the kids readily welcomed the chance to cool off and for younger kids it’s a really fun and well set up little water park – probably boring for teenagers but just perfect for our kids. And I was over the moon watching S climb up the two levels of stairs over and over on his own to go down the longer water slide – without even a blink of doubt or fear. Proud mumma moment! Not quite ad proud of how equally brave M was as he chose to climb back up the very same water slide nearly giving me heart failure as I watched from below! And A was super brave too. No sign of any life guards policing how the slides themselves were being used so it was on guard every minute for me and my husband – who had forgotten his bathers but was able to buy some there (quite nice ones actually!) for just $7. Towels are more expensive though so take your own.
From the water park we were exhausted and headed home with both A and M falling asleep on the way back. A highly recommended day out!
A couple of notes: you aren’t allowed to bring in food from outside. They were checking bags and taking any food to a storage area to be returned on departure. We were allowed to bring in our 2 big bottles of water. Wheelchair/pram access is excellent all around the park. However, they didn’t let us take our prams on the safari bus and didn’t explain that drop off was at a different point. Not too far away but too far to carry a heavy 7 year old! I ran back to the start point to collect the prams. The only other tricky access area is the terribly steep ( and wet and dangerous!) stairs down to the grotty change rooms/toilet in the water park. Free lockers are provided there though for safe storage of goods.
So a few down points, but all in all we were big fans. I just hope that their conservation message is one that gets taken home by many and that their actions speak louder than words. When we get home S has already asked if we can research the elephant conservation sites in Sumatra they talked about during the elephant show. You can actually watch the whole show online (google Bali safari park elephant show, a 21 minute video is one of the first to come up.
A few pics below – but none of ours from the water park as was far too busy (and wet!) having fun to take pics.