Halls Gap Zoo open day attracts thousands

Thousands passed through the gates at the Halls Gap Zoo on Sunday to make the most of an open day sponsored by Horsham and Stawell Toyota.

The open day attracted visitors from across the region, as well as interstate, to enjoy all that the zoo has to offer, along with a host of other entertainment including jumping castle and face painting.

Staff from Stawell and Horsham Toyota were on hand to unveil two new Toyota models to the public. Vehicles were on hand to be test driven, but due to the volume of people, there was no available space.

Cars lined the Halls Gap - Pomonal Road for more than two kilometres and visitors were forced to find parking spots down side streets and walk to the front gates, where a line stretched for several hundred metres.

Zoo owner Greg Culell said by 11am, there had been 1500 people pass through the front door.

"People were telling me there were that many again waiting outside to come in," he said.

Mr Culell said he was pleasantly surprised by the volume of visitors, which would ensure a healthy fundraising figure for the Country Fire Authority's three brigades in the region and also the State Emergency Service.

By the end of the day, even Mr Culell's expectations were exceeded, with the final count showing an amazing 4130 people had passed through the doors to the zoo, with gold coin donations allowing $10,400 to be raised for the three local fire brigades and the Stawell SES unit.

A barbecue was being cooked all day by CFA volunteers and the line rarely disappeared, with Mr Culell estimating this would see a further $5000 to $6000 raised.

He said both he and his wife Yvonne were grateful to the many thousands of visitors who turned out for the open day and also to Stawell and Horsham Toyota for their overwhelming sponsorship.

Greg and Yvonne also welcomed a visit by The Nationals Member for Lowan, Hugh Delahunty, who officially opened the new giraffe complex which was funded by a State Government grant.

Mr Delahunty said the government had contributed $100,000 which was used to upgrade the giraffe complex, home to Sumari and Pumika, as well as erect a new biosecurity fence at the zoo.

The new biosecurity fence enables the zoo to undertake endangered species captive breeding programs and keeps the zoo's protected species safe from predators.

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