I am not sure I could pick Michelle Jones — the public face and owner of Greenough Wildlife & Bird Park — out of a line-up. I would not recognise her without her crocodile-coloured uniform, wide-brimmed hat and dark sunglasses. Geraldton’s very own Steve Irwin and her wife Jo Tamburri run a tight ship south of town, which proved to be the perfect place for a Saturday date last weekend. Lucky for the Mid West, the sun gave us one last big kiss on the long weekend before going into hiding and leaving us with nothing but cold, wind and rain for the rest of the week. Walking through the front door of the office, Ms Jones was the first thing we saw. She was rushing around the room, tangled up with a snake. She offered to drape it around my neck, but I respectfully declined. My date heroically stepped up to the plate, allowing himself to be adorned with Satan’s necklace — all before we parted with our entry fee. Then, in a flash, she was gone. She ran away to feed a mob of joeys she had rescued from the side of the road. Making our way into the park, we came across a very enthusiastic 77-year-old bird named Wacca, who at first seemed rather impolite. “Hello! I am Wacca,” he squawked in a strange tone that almost made it sound like he was calling us something profane. Luckily, we read the sign with his name on it before washing his mouth out with soap. The little grey kangaroos were far more polite, each waiting their turn to be hand-fed from the brown paper bag of food we bought at the counter. The park has the only crocodiles in the Mid West, although I was not convinced they were real. We stood by one beast for about 15 minutes, waiting for it to move. It could have been concrete for all I know, but I certainly wasn’t going to poke my arm through the fence to find out. We also met a few emus, a pure-white goat with facial hair that made him look like a member of an early 2000s alternative rock outfit, a horse, and a bunch of other animal friends. The assortment of creatures was incredibly varied. Rather than building the park around a theme, the wildlife wonder women take in the animals they feel they can give a safe and happy home. Their primary mission is helping vulnerable animals and providing a home to creatures too feisty or concrete-like to be kept as a traditional family pet — I reckon that’s a mission worth getting behind. In Geraldton, we’re privileged to have the bush literally on our doorstep. Next time we have a mild-weather day, take your beloved for a short ride to the countryside to visit the Greenough Wildlife & Bird Park’s little family.