Steve Irwin Day
annually on November 15th (since 2007)
Australia Zoo in 2007
Steve Irwin Day honors the life and legacy of Steve Irwin, an entertainer and wildlife expert who was known as the "Crocodile Hunter." This international, annual event is dedicated to things Irwin was passionate about: family, wildlife, conservation, and fun. Part of the focus of the day is on raising money for the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, a group that was started by Steve and his wife, Terri, in 1992, that continues Irwin's legacy of conservation work and preservation of wildlife and their habitats.
Irwin was born on February 22, 1962, in Essendon, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. He grew up in a home full of Australian wildlife. His mother, Lyn, took care of injured and orphaned animals, such as snakes, lizards, birds, and kangaroos. In 1970, his family moved to Beerwah, Queensland. There, his parents opened a reptile park. Originally named Beerwah Reptile and Fauna, it later became Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, and is now the Australia Zoo. The zoo started Steve Irwin Day in 2007.
When Irwin grew up, he focused on educating others about wildlife—he didn't have a degree on the subject but had a wealth of knowledge from growing up surrounded by animals. Much of his focus also dealt with saving animals in their environment, especially crocodiles. In 1991, he met Terri Raines, and they married the following year. Part of their honeymoon was spent filming crocodiles, and the footage became part of the 1992 Australian TV show, The Crocodile Hunter. Four years later, the American cable network channel Animal Planet acquired the show. Known for taking part in dangerous encounters with animals, wearing khaki clothing, and for his catchphrase, "Crikey!" Irwin became a pop culture icon from his role in the show. The Irwins appeared in the 2002 film The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, and had two children, Bindi and Robert.
On September 4, 2006, while on a diving expedition off the coast of Port Douglas in Queensland, during the filming of a new program, a stingray pierced Irwin's heart and he died of cardiac arrest. He is remembered today for his dedication to conservation and education, and we honor his legacy on Steve Irwin Day.
How to Observe
Here are a few ideas on how to celebrate the day:
- Wear khakis just like Steve Irwin did.
- Say "Crikey!" whenever possible.
- Have a backyard campout.
- Support the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors.
- Visit Australia Zoo, visit a nearby zoo, or spend the day learning about animals.
- Watch episodes of The Crocodile Hunter.
- Watch The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course.