Thrills at the Rotorua Rainbow Springs New Zealand

Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park first opened near Rotorua in 1932.

Spread over a 22-acre park with a natural fresh water spring, Rainbow Springs is a conservation and breeding haven for endangered New Zealand species such as kiwi and tuatara.

The park offers a unique wildlife experience for visitors, who can see animals in their natural environment, both during the day and night.

Attractions include New Zealand’s first ‘open to view’ Kiwi hatchery, and a range of wildlife including trout, tuatara and native birds.

It has also just got a bit more exciting has it has just opened a thrilling new family-friendly eco-experience designed to entertain and educate visitors about conservation and sustainability.

Called The Big Splash, it explores New Zealand’s ecological evolution and ends on a high with an adrenalin-boosting 12-metre plummet down a waterslide.

The Big Splash is a nine-minute journey through time that features narrative and realistic animation bringing to life dinosaurs and extinct giant birds such as moa and the prehistoric Haast eagle, and documenting the impact of human settlement on the natural environment.

The interactive attraction was designed to entertain and inform tourists about New Zealand’s ecological evolution. The boats travel through a native forest canopy, past a Maori pa settlement and a European timber mill town. Life-sized moa, Haast eagle and dinosaur models inhabit the dense one-hectare forest which has been populated with 7000 native trees and plants to represent how Aotearoa New Zealand once was.

An onboard commentary interprets the arrival, and later destruction, of native bird and plant species as the land is settled and exploited by the human settlers arriving from the Pacific Islands and Europe.

Another new attraction is the free-flight bird auditorium. The show will feature a flock of exotic birds that are currently in training.

These new attractions won’t distract visitors from the main emphasis of the Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park, which is the preservation of New Zealand’s unique fauna.

The park became involved in kiwi conservation in 1995 with the arrival of an orphaned egg, and the hatchery is now the largest kiwi hatching facility in New Zealand. Eggs are harvested in 13 areas around the North Island where brown kiwi are found.

Because some of the creatures are nocturnal the park is open for day and night experiences including evening strolls and a hosted dinner activity. Visitors can view adult birds foraging and feeding in a purpose-built nocturnal Kiwi House, or see conservation work in progress and learn more about the iconic bird in the Kiwi Encounter hatchery and nursery.

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