The day has arrived! Monarto Safari Park’s new Visitor Centre will open its gates at 9.30am with a Welcome to Country and Healing Ceremony by Uncle Moogy and a speech by Elaine Bensted, CE of Zoos SA.
Visitors will spill into the centre’s heartspace before exploring all there is to offer both within the centre and the park itself.
The Visitor Centre project, a jewel in the region’s ever-expanding offerings, received $11.25m of funding from the Australian Government under the Community Development Grants Programme and $4.55m from the Government of South Australia towards a total $16.8m cost of building the new entry and Visitor Centre. The Rural City of Murray Bridge also contributed to the project through the construction of a new slip lane entry from Monarto Road.
Construction on the new Visitor Centre began in early 2021 and was carried out by Mossop Construction + Interiors with lead architect Intro and design architect studio-gram.
“This is a very exciting moment in the history of Monarto Safari Park. Since Monarto Safari Park first opened its doors to the public in the early 1990s it has been hugely popular. We had to move with the times to accommodate more visitors and also elevate the entire visitor experience,” Elaine Bensted, CE of Zoos SA, said.
“As caring humans, the desire to see and connect with animals is huge. The appeal of visiting Monarto Safari Park is only bolstered by the knowledge that by coming, taking part in experiences, buying items in our store and a drink and bite in the cafe helps us to continue our conservation work here in South Australia and also around the country and the world.
“The new Visitor Centre is large enough to welcome an additional 55,000 visitors who will then go on to hopefully explore the rest of the region. And while that might sound like a lot of people as we come out of COVID, the space we have is so large that it won’t feel packed at all.
“The completion of the new Visitor Centre is the first of three phases that will see Monarto become the largest safari experience outside of Africa. Phases two and three will see the completion of a luxury hotel by private developer Gerry Ryan and the Wild Africa safari expected to finish late 2022 – early 2023 – an experience that will see guests driving through vast areas with animals such as Cheetah and giraffe and waterholes bobbing with Nile Hippopotamus and thriving birdlife.
“The Visitor Centre is surrounded as far as the eye can see by the Monarto Plains. When our members and visitors come here to see the animals I think they’ll experience a whole lot more that they might not expect – space, serenity, exploration and, of course, the wild!” finished Elaine.
Members were invited to two exclusive ‘sneak peak’ days on Wednesday and Thursday 23 and 24 March with today, 25 March, being the first day that Monarto Safari Park is open to all visitors.
Benefits for the region created by the new Visitor Centre include a growth of jobs with the building of the centre creating 136 jobs and 89 ongoing positions for the region. Additionally, the development of the Visitor Centre, the onsite accommodation by private investor Gerry Ryan and the Wild Africa safari experience will bring more visitors to the Murraylands region, making it an extremely valuable and job creating project.
Tickets to Monarto Safari Park can be purchased online at www.monartosafari.com.au/tickets.