Now visitors to Australia's Top End can experience saltwater crocodiles right in the main street of Darwin at Australia’s newest international wildlife tourist facility. Construction of the AUD$12 million Crocosaurus Cove was completed in March 2008.
In association with Burling Brown Architects and Aquatic Environmental Systems, Crossley Architects designed the exhibit component of the facility, incorporating a range of aquariums, enclosures and displays featuring crocodiles up to 5.5 metres, and reptile and fish life of the world-heritage listed Kakadu and Kimberly areas of Australia's far north.
The Cove is home to Australia's most valuable crocodile, a rare white croc known as Snowy. The star of the facility though is possibly the massive Bert, a 4.5 metre crocodile with screen credits including lunging at star Linda Kozlowski in the film Crocodile Dundee.
The intrepid visitor can even 'swim with' the crocs in safety of the 'Cage of Death'. The see-through acrylic cage is lowered into the exhibit with Snowy or Bert and his kin for the occupant to experience the thrill of being in the water only inches away from one of nature’s greatest apex predators.
Underwater viewing via acrylic tunnels also allows visitors to appreciate the size of these magnificent adult reptiles, and pop-up domes designed into juvenile crocodile exhibits allow children to have their noses inches away from the baby crocs. Visitors pass through a 5-metre deep fresh water aquarium of large Barramundi and other Northern Territory fishes.
The relationship of aboriginal people to these animals is a key part of the facility with aboriginal staff providing visitor presentations and cultural performances. The Cove is also home of one of Australia's best displays of native lizards and snakes.
Crossley designs maximize visitor and keeper safety, and create homes for the facility’s animals in a realistic replicated natural environment, designed in accordance with Australian Wild Life legislation and codes of practice.
Crossley and AES prepared all specialist design and documentation for the facility’s acrylic panel installation, rockwork, theming and life support systems.