We accidentally found this park. We had just moved from Tacoma, Washington to Sydney, AU and were visiting our two Pugs at the quarantine station. The station was quite a trek from the city and due to some health issues with one of my Pugs, we had to visit the station daily and twice a day on weekends. So, we decided to spend the weekends near the station so we would not have to spend so much time traveling back and forth. While searching for things to do in the area, I came across a brochure for Featherdale Wildlife Park which was a short 10 minutes from where we were staying. Hooray! There was not much else to do in the area.
We packed up some water and snacks, grabbed a taxi and headed to the Park. I should say at this point that we had been to quite a few wildlife parks/zoos in the Sydney area since our arrival. Each one was better than the last one, but this one was the best of all.
Upon arriving at the park, we were greeted by the resident “swaggy” or ”swagman” holding a baby kangaroo (aka a joey). The kids were immediately able to pet the joey and the swaggy answered all my very inquisitive and chatty son’s questions. I was already wondering how it could get any better than this. We were greeted at the entrance with a smile, paid our fee to enter and began our adventure.
The very first thing we saw was large, fenced areas where the animals could roam freely. Their “homes” were clean, attractive and offered each animal plenty of space to roam and even a place to hide if needed. Then, we saw the wallabies. There must have been 20 of them just hopping around! And, we could pet them at will! The only time they could not be petted was when they entered their “safe zone” where people were not allowed. Again, I thought could it get any better than this? We also saw a variety of native water birds including pelicans which are a heck of a lot bigger in real life than I imagined! We continued on, wallabies at our feet, to the koala area. Please note koalas are NOT bears! Do not call them koala bears. They are of no relation to bears! There must have been 20 koalas in various areas sleeping and/or eating in the gum trees. There was also a place where you could have your picture taken with the koala at no extra charge. Most places charge $15-25 to do this. Also in that area were a variety of rescued birds who you could pet as well. My son’s dream was to pet a kookaburra and he was able to do it!
Then it was onto the kangaroo area. The wildlife park sells ice cream cones filled with food that you can purchase for one dollar before entering the area. We bought a few and headed in. There were so many kangaroos it was incredible! Some were lazing in the sun, some were being fed, some were hopping around and still others we relaxing in their safe zone. Emus and wallabies were also roaming freely in this area and could be fed as well. But watch out! Those emus can be nasty! My son actually gave one a “talking to” about its behavior!!
Then it was onto the rest of the park where all the animals were in their enclosed areas for viewing only. Again, the enclosures were very respectful of each different kind animal and its needs. Our favorite by far was the dingos. They look just like the dog next door! And, there were 4 pups who had just been born and we were able to pet them. Can you say heavenly?? Other favorites included the wombat and the tasmanian devils who literally ran in circles around their enclosure the whole time we were there. There is also a farm area where kids can pet and feed the animals. This was a huge hit with my boys as well.
We spent hours at the park and were completely exhausted by the day’s end. We headed back to our hotel and collapsed! And, the next morning, after visiting our dogs, we did it all over again!
History: Featherdale began as a poultry farm in the 1950s and over the past 60 years has become one of the best privately owned wildlife parks in Australia.
Location: Featherdale Wildlife Park is located in Doonside, NSW which is about 45 minutes west of Sydney.
Getting There: If you have a car, things are a bit easier than when using public transportation. We do not have a car and have to rely on trains and buses to get us where we want to go. We took the train to Blacktown and then a taxi to the park. There is also a bus that goes from the train station to the park, but we opted for a taxi ride.
For directions and information about public transport see Getting There
Parking: There is parking on-site.
Food: There is a cafe located inside the park with a pretty big menu. Kids favorites like burgers, chicken nuggets, hot dogs and chip/fries are available as are sandwiches and salads. Portion sizes are reasonable. There are also plenty of picnic tables if you choose to bring your own food.
Facilites: The park has a cafe, picnic tables and a gift shop. The park also has hand washing stations in the petting/feeding areas as well as bathrooms and changing tables for children still in diapers/nappies. There is plenty of shade as the sun can get very hot down here. Be sure to pack lots of water and sunscreen!
The park is very clean and well-kept. The staff is friendly and more than willing to answer questions from you or your children.
Hours: Open 9am to 5pm everyday, but Christmas Day
- Adult $27
- Child (3-15 years) $15.00
- Family $76.00
- Senior $19.00
- Student $21.00
- Pensioner $21.00
- Tasmanian Devil
- Farm Animals
- A large variety of native birds
- And more!
For a complete listing of Featherdale’s animals and as well as photos and facts see Featherdale’s Animals
Other: There are animal talks scheduled throughout the day. Children are given a “passport” when they arrive and can stamp their passport at stations throughout the park. There is a Billy Tea at the end of each day.
Want to “see” some of what the park has to offer? Click Here
Boy Mama Teacher Mama 2012