At least our marketing is working at home! My daughter surprised me in July when she asked for an "Ahipara Day" as a special treat for her birthday. I was delighted and put together something based around her interests - a helicopter tour over the city and visits to a few designer boutiques as well as a trendy little French cafe. She's a very mature 8-year old.
However, my second daughter cottoned onto this and asked for one too. Earlier this week. She's animal mad so I cast around for something special to do with animals.
Lucklily, up in Whangarei, two hours north of Auckland is quite a special venture. The Zion Wildlife Gardens are the brainchild of Craig Busch who has created a unique environment with 33 endangered big cats. Barbary Lions, White Tigers and White Lions. Not only can you get close, you can touch these animals and feed their cubs. Standing in the middle of an enclosure surrounded by three lion cubs and a tiger cub, all eager for the bottle or my daughter's shoes, my daughter with a bottle in each hand and the keeper trying to keep the cubs from nipping either of us - I thought "this is pretty special".
For people looking for a way to break the journey to the Bay of Islands with a once in a lifetime experience - try this out. There are only 250 Barbary Lions in existence, 120 white tigers, and even fewer white lions. And professional zookeepers come from around the world to get up close to these animals.
Visit the Zion Wildlife Gardens website