Featherdale Wildlife Park has long been the place to take kids and tourists for an up close experience with Australian animals. Established on 7 acres of land 1953, Featherdale has evolved from a poultry farm into one of the best privately own wildlife parks in Australia. In 1972, Featherdale opened to the public as a wildlife park.
Only three years later, the park was under threat by plans to use the property for a housing commission development. The then Premier, Sir Robert Askin was presented with thousands of signed petitions stressing “the importance of Featherdale Wildlife Park” to district school children. The government saw reason and Featherdale was saved.
In the following years, Featherdale has established a successful Wildlife Education Program. If you visit during the week it’s almost impossible not to trip over groups of school kids on an educational excursion.
As well as school kids, you’ll find plenty of tourists at Featherdale for a very good reason – it’s one of the few parks where you can get up close to koalas for free. In fact, there are plenty of free roaming areas for the animals where visitors can interact with them, but where the animals can still retreat to safe areas if they’ve had enough.
Featherdale has a large collection of Australian animals in particular, such as wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, Tasmanian devils, bilbies, echidnas, cassowaries and koalas. They also have an extensive bird collection. I did feel sorry for the birds, as I do for all caged birds, but I tried to give the park the benefit of the doubt that perhaps they were hand-raised rescues and not able to be returned to the wild.
Featherdale is a great place to visit in any season. Lots of trees give plenty for shade for hot summer days. There are several areas with benches to eat a packed or bought lunch. If you plan to buy lunch, there is a kiosk with basic food and snacks, with a large undercover eating area next to it.
Miss E’s favourite parts of the park were the free roaming wallabies and the barnyard animals. She took a particular liking to a white goat and followed him around, only agreeing to leave the barnyard when the goat knocked her over with his little horns not once, but twice. The girl certainly is persistent.
If you arrive in the morning or stay for the afternoon you can watch some of the animal feedings and talks (check out the schedule in advance).
While the Featherdale trip was a special outing for Missy E, I also found myself enjoying it more than I had expected I would. The animals were all very healthy looking, with clean enclosures and plenty of food, water and shelter. There were plenty of staff caring for the animals, constantly feeding and checking on them. While of course a life in the wild is preferable for native animals, if an animal isn’t able to live in the wild and needs to live out its life in captivity, Featherdale is a pretty nice place to be!
Featherdale is a bit pricey, but we got a good deal by using an Entertainment Book voucher to get two-for-one entry. I’d definitely suggest trying to find a discount voucher to save on costs.
Featherdale Wildlife Park
217-229 Kildare Road,
Doonside, Sydney NSW 2767
(near Blacktown) Australia
Phone: 02 9622 1644
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
Prices: Adults $29, child (3-15) $16, Student $22.50, Senior $20, Family (2 adults/2 children) $82