Irwin Family Opens Crocodile Hunter Lodge in Honor of Late Conservationist: 'Dad Would Be So Proud'

Steve Irwin’s wife, Terri, and children, Bindi and Robert, tell PEOPLE what the Crocodile Hunter Lodge means to their father's legacy

Terri and Robert Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter Lodge
Photo: Kate Berry/Australia Zoo/The Crocodile Hunter Lodge

Animal lovers now have the special opportunity to stay overnight at the Crocodile Hunter Lodge located at the Australia Zoo, where the Irwin family lives and works.

This week, late Steve Irwin's wife, Terri and their children, Bindi and Robert, officially announced the opening of the beautiful hideaway with high-end luxury accommodations and plenty of sight-seeing opportunities.

"Steve had a business plan mapped out for Australia Zoo, which included accommodation where guests could experience our beautiful wildlife," Terri, 57, tells PEOPLE exclusively.

The Crocodile Hunter Lodge
Kate Berry/Australia Zoo/The Crocodile Hunter Lodge

The family certainly made sure that plan was fulfilled, and Terri says the lodge has plenty of opportunities for guests to enjoy nature.

"At the Crocodile Hunter Lodge, our resident koalas, kangaroos, emus, and echidna enjoy their spectacular habitats, and native wildlife have also made the spacious lodge gardens their home. It's the perfect spot for nature lovers to relax and reconnect," she says.

Bindi, 23, tells PEOPLE, "The beautiful gardens around the lodge are full of wildlife, from kangaroos munching on the grass to kookaburras singing in the trees. We have nest boxes for local wildlife, and already have parrots moving in."

In addition to the multi-species habitat, there are also many sustainable features, the Crikey! It's the Irwins star adding, "We've planted thousands of native flowering trees, including some that are critically endangered and on the brink of extinction. The whole lodge is so focused on what Dad lived for, conservation."

The Crocodile Hunter Lodge
Kate Berry/Australia Zoo/The Crocodile Hunter Lodge

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And if guests want to admire the natural wonders around them while also enjoying a meal, there's an outdoor dining area appropriately named Warrior Restaurant.

"Warrior is the perfect name for the lodge's restaurant. Dad coined the phrase 'Wildlife Warrior,' and it's also our beautiful daughter's middle name. It's a wonderful way of paying tribute to two of the people I love the most," Bindi says, referring to her daughter, Grace Warrior, 14 months, whom she shares with husband Chandler Powell.

Bindi's younger brother Robert, 18, also notes extra amenities guests of the Crocodile Hunter Lodge can indulge in.

The Crocodile Hunter Lodge
Kate Berry/Australia Zoo/The Crocodile Hunter Lodge

"Each guest receives entry to Australia Zoo as a part of their stay, as well as breakfast from Warrior Restaurant. How cool is it that you can visit us at Australia Zoo and then stay the night too!" he says. "And, of course, our guests will get the chance to experience the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital that Dad started."

The new lodge also boasts a unique pool that gives a special nod to Robert's own work.

"The infinity pool overlooking the animal habitat is awesome, I actually had some of my photos incorporated into the pool design," he says. "I took drone shots of two of our crocodiles that have been printed onto the pool tiles. I can't wait for everyone to check it out!"

The Crocodile Hunter Lodge
Kate Berry/Australia Zoo/The Crocodile Hunter Lodge

In continuing Steve's legacy of leading conservation efforts around the world, Terri makes sure to acknowledge their support of sourcing sustainable materials from the Australia Zoo.

"During the construction of the Lodge, we used a lot of recycled materials, including timber from Australia Zoo's Crocodile Environmental Park that Steve built. The Environmental Park is where Steve and I first met in 1991!" Terri shares.

Most of all, the family's latest project is an homage to Steve Irwin's devout passion to instill an appreciation of nature in any Australia Zoo visitor.

"Dad would be so proud of the lodge, and of Mum for achieving what he dreamed of," Robert says.

Updated by Emily Strohm
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