Featherdale is still a hot-spot for local and international visitors, and I wanted to share 9 reasons why I love visiting over and over again.
Established in 1953, Featherdale Wildlife Park has been around for so long that it’s a Sydney institution. I remember visiting when I was a kid - it was always the place where you could feed the kangaroos and pat a koala. As a city kid living in the Sydney ‘burbs, Featherdale was a bit of country and wildlife excitement that was just around the corner.
1. It's an Aussie animal Mecca
Featherdale is home to the biggest collection of Australian animals in the world! You’ll find echidnas, wallabies, kangaroos and all types of birds and reptiles at Featherdale.
2. It operates as a wildlife hospital
Featherdale work with the NSW Emergency Services, State Emergency Services (SES), WIRES and local council to operate as a Native Animal Rescue Hospital. Every year, they take in thousands of sick, injured and orphaned animals from the community and surrounding parklands. We met a few residents who has been rescued and rehabilitated, including a tawny frogmouth bird who was found with a hole in his beak, and a wombat whose mum had been hit by a car.
3. It's ensuring the future of Tassie Devils
Recently, the park welcomed two Tasmanian Devils, two-year-old brothers named Saxon and Vandal, who were sent over from Peel Zoo in Western Australia. With Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) decimating wild populations of devils, the Tasmanian Devil Insurance Program is vital to ensuring we don’t lose these iconic animals for good.
4. You can pat a koala
Let’s face it, visitors always want to go home with a koala selfie. Featherdale offers the chance to get a photo taken professionally, and the staff will also take a photo on your camera.
5. There's a cranky saltwater croc
We loved hearing about the long-term resident crocodile, “Nooka”, during our last visit. Apparently this cranky man was a bit of a pest out in the wild and was known to be eating some local pets who strayed too close to his habitat. Once labelled a “pest”, the future is not so bright for crocs, so Nooka was lucky to have found a home at Featherdale 26 years ago.
6. The passport never gets old
Seriously, this is the biggest hit with kids. We’ve stamped the free paper passport every single time we’ve been to Featherdale. It does make a nice keepsake, and has the date stamped on the front so you know when you last visited!
7. You can add on an extra animal experience
If looking at the animals isn’t enough, Featherdale now offers the opportunity to have a personal encounter with birds, reptiles, wallabies and other marsupials. We found that doing an additional experience was an amazing way to also get to know more about the challenges faced by the animal in the wild, as well as really interesting facts about them that we hadn’t heard before.
8. The wallabies are always waiting
The wallabies are our favourites! They’re really docile little critters after being either born in the park or hand-raised following the death of their mums in the wild, so kids can get up close safely.
9. We love the staff
I’m always impressed with the passion and dedication the Featherdale staff show to the animals. It’s so clear how much they love their furry (or scaly!) charges, and their enthusiasm is contagious.
Christine Knight writes about navigating
the world and parenthood on her site,
You can find her sampling gelato and cake around the world with her
preschooler, or building sandcastles at the beach in her home town of Sydney.