Alice Springs Desert Park

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Alice Springs Desert Park
Alice Springs Desert Park logo.png
Alice Springs Desert Park logo
Date openedMarch 1997
LocationAlice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
Coordinates23°42′23″S 133°49′57″E / 23.7065°S 133.8325°E / -23.7065; 133.8325Coordinates: 23°42′23″S 133°49′57″E / 23.7065°S 133.8325°E / -23.7065; 133.8325
Land area1,300 hectares (3,212 acres)[1]
No. of species120[2]
Annual visitors68,300 (2017)[3]
MembershipsZAA,[4] BGCI[5]
Major exhibitsDesert Rivers, Sand Country, Nocturnal House, Woodland
OwnerParks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory[6]
A kangaroo at the Alice Springs Desert Park

The Alice Springs Desert Park is an environmental education facility and wildlife park in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia.

It is sited on 1,300 hectares (3,212 acres), with a core area of 52 hectares (128 acres). It is an institutional member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI).

The park contains native animals and plants representative of Central Australian desert environments, and contributes to their conservation through research programs as well as through public education. It offers people the opportunity to experience the variety of the deserts of central Australia, exploring the relationships between the plants, animals and people.

The area is culturally important to the local Arrernte people. Much of the work of the park is under the auspices of their apmereke-artweye (decision-makers) and kwertengerle (caretakers) – people once known as the park's traditional owners.[7][8]

Exhibits and facilities[edit]

The park contains three separate walk-through desert habitat areas accessed through a 1.6-kilometre (1 mi) trail: Desert Rivers, Sand Country, and Woodland. In addition, it has a Nocturnal House and a nature theatre. The entrance area includes an exhibition centre, rest rooms, and café.[2][9]

Desert Rivers

In this habitat, visitors walk through dry river beds, and areas that have been flooded, and past swamps and water holes. The plants here include river red gums, coolibah trees, aquatic plants, and reeds. Animals in this habitat include finches, cockatoos, water birds, frogs, and fish. Demonstrations here show how the Aboriginal people use this habitat to harvest food and medicine.[10]

Sand Country

This exhibit is a re-creation of the sandy desert including clay, gypsum, and salt pans.[9]

Nocturnal house
Thorny dragon, also known as thorny devil (Moloch horridus)

The Nocturnal House is located between the Sand Country and Woodland habitats, and is home to many Central Australian reptiles, invertebrates, birds, and mammals that are active during the night. The collection includes some reptiles that may be active during the day but difficult to find in the desert.[9][11]


The Woodland habitat includes enclosures for kangaroos and emus.[9] Visitors can walk among the kangaroos in their exhibit area.[2]

Nature Theatre

Presentations at the Nature Theatre show visitors some of the animals that might be seen while walking through the park, including demonstrations with free-flying birds of prey.[12]

Aboriginal Survival

Presentations at the park, include information on Aboriginal survival one focusing on water gathering and another on food gathering. The food gathering presentation is particularly focused on the Arrernte People and includes information on sex roles, with the distinct jobs of men and women. Information on kinship focuses on Arrernte Skin names and the rules for relations ships built around the skin name groupings.[13]


  1. ^ "Alice Springs Desert Park". Australian National Botanical Gardens. Archived from the original on 7 October 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Review of Alice Springs Desert Park". Frommer's. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  3. ^ "Park visitor data". Department of Tourism Sport and Culture. Northern Territory Government. Retrieved 20 April 2019. Point of Sales.
  4. ^ "Zoo and Aquarium Association Institutional Members' Directory". Zoo and Aquarium Association. Archived from the original on 31 October 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  5. ^ "Botanic Gardens Conservation International Institutional Members". Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  6. ^ "Parks and Reserves". Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory. 26 August 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Our values". Alice Springs Desert park. Archived from the original on 17 October 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  8. ^ "Relationship to Land". Alice Springs Desert park. Archived from the original on 1 October 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  9. ^ a b c d "Park Map" (PDF). Alice Springs Desert park. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  10. ^ "Desert Rivers habitat". Alice Springs Desert park. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  11. ^ "Nocturnal House". Alice Springs Desert park. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  12. ^ "Nature Theatre". Alice Springs Desert park. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  13. ^ "Relationships". Alice Springs Desert Park. Archived from the original on 20 May 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011.

External links[edit]