Close Encounters Of The Furry Kind At Featherdale Wildlife Park
By: Kylie Purtell, ellaslist explorer
My family and I are no strangers to Featherdale Wildlife Park at Doonside in Sydney’s western suburbs. We’ve been twice in the last 4 years and each time it gets better and better!
One of the things we love most about Featherdale is the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s most well-known native animals. From the bush to the barnyard, Featherdale has all the animals you’d expect to see and more.
Both girls loved getting to feed and pat the kangaroos and wallabies that have free-rein of the park, as well as getting to check out the chooks, sheep and goats in the barnyard. There was much clamouring to see the crocodile and the feeding presentations were fabulous. Our favourite presentation of the day was by far the penguin feeding at 3:30pm.
We made our way to the penguin enclosure just before the presentation was due to begin and the penguins were already gathering, squawking and letting everyone know they were ready for dinner! Right on time the keeper appeared with a cooler full of fish and she was instantly swarmed by the penguins. They were extremely cute, and you could hear the love & passion the keeper had for her charges. While she fed the penguins she told us all about the work they do at Featherdale and lots of interesting information & facts about the penguins. Children & adults alike were enchanted with the presentation and we will definitely make sure to catch this presentation again the next time we visit.
By far everyone’s favourite part of our visit though was our very own private mammal encounter. Private mammal encounters take place in a special room near the function centre and we were promptly welcomed in by the keeper Cecilia when our booked time arrived.
Cecilia was absolutely fabulous with the girls (4.5 & 6) and was very knowledgeable and engaging. She had the kids and the animals eating out of the palm of her hand! After a quick introductory talk and a reminder to the girls to make sure they stayed nice & calm around the animals, we were led over to the little bush setting to sit on the rock and have a hold of the first mammal, an 8-month-old swamp wallaby.
Not only were Miss 4.5 & Miss 6 absolutely enchanted by the mammals, but Dad was also pretty taken with the furry creatures too. After meeting the swamp wallaby we then got to hold and feed a young ring-tailed possum and a little sugar glider called Bubbles. Cecilia was really patient with the girls and answered all of our questions about the mammals. There was also a professional photographer on hand to take our photos as we cuddled these beautiful native Australian animals.
Our private mammal encounter was the highlight of our visit and we’re all keen to do it again. I just can’t recommend the experience highly enough, we just loved it! Featherdale also offer private reptile encounters and Miss 4.5 has already asked to go back and do the reptile encounter for her birthday in July!
Featherdale is an excellent choice for a day out, both young and old alike will enjoy seeing, learning about & feeding the animals. There are toilets available inside the park, as well as hand-washing stations scattered throughout the place and close to wherever personal encounters with the animals take place. There is also an onsite cafe where you can stop to buy lunch, or enjoy a coffee while the kids have an ice cream. Alternatively you can pack a picnic lunch, or sizzle up some sausages on the coin-operated BBQs provided in the picnic areas.
Featherdale Wildlife Park is open every day of the year except Christmas Day and is very wheelchair and pram friendly.
For more information on admission, personal and/or private animal encounters, ticket sales and everything you need to know to plan your visit to the park, head to their website at www.featherdale.com.au
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