Visitors have been flocking to the Flying High Bird Park at Apple Tree Creek during the school holidays.
Helping to spread the message is the park’s own version of “Big Bird” with a brightly painted four-metre high parrot providing an imposing welcome.
Owners Ian and Tanya Dodds purchased the park about 12 months ago and were progressively opening up the attraction late last year.
“The pandemic stuck and, like so many other businesses, we were required to abide by lockdown regulations,” said Tanya.
“Ian can get bored quite easily so that lockdown period enabled him to throw himself into the development of various themed areas in the park.
“The big bird was certainly born out of boredom,” laughed Tanya.
She said a few sheets of recycled iron, some bright colours and and a good dash of imagination and Flying High had its own big piece to rival the Big Banana or Big Pineapple or even the Big Rum Bottle in Bundaberg.
Thomas Edison may have said that “genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration” but Ian Dodds has certainly injected high percentages of each of those criteria into developing Flying High.
If you think you’re in for a bit of a walk around a few caged birds then think again.
Themed areas add much to the charm of the Park. The Australiana section is eye-catching with its rusted vintage vehicles complementing a rural setting as well as providing perches for many of the Park’s 2500 birds.
“I sourced the vehicles from near a little town called Bell and one of those vehicles is a former US Army truck used here in the Second World War,” Ian said.
With Ian currently working at creating a new Farmyard theme, visitors can view the Japanese Gardens with its traditional buildings and red curved bridge or the open park area and enjoy interaction with a host of native animals.
“The Farmyard will provide an opportunity for an animal nursery-style setup with kids able to feed baby animals.”
The couple’s future plans include as far more expansive venture into landscaping utilising “greenery architecture” and an increased focus on interactive experiences with birds and animals. “We would like to maximise the entire six and a half acres of our site and keep creating attractions so there is always something new to see.”
“We have been reopened for a bit over three weeks and gradually we are bringing all staff back on board,” Ian said.
“With a weekly bird feed bill of $1400 it’s important to have numbers through the doors.”
Bundaberg visitor Julie said she and her family were captivated by the experience.
Julie said she had marvelled at the different species of birds from those fluttering around to those ground based and scurrying around and, of course, the more colourful and exotic birds.
“How great is it that the birds come and sit on your shoulder or eat from your hand?”
The family also enjoyed the numerous photo opportunities the park generates including a small “cell” designed to hold a “bird thief”.
Like so many others touring the facility, Julie and her family stopped off at the Tiki Café for coffee and toasted sandwiches to end the visit.
Visitors are advised to set aside a couple of hours to experience the Bird Park which is open daily from 9am until 3pm.
According to visitors, the Flying High Bird Park is rapidly cementing its place as a leading local attraction.
The eagle has landed!