The thing I hear from almost all Americans is that they’d love to visit Australia, but are freaked out by our spiders and snakes that apparently live absolutely everywhere and will kill you as soon as you step off the plane. Seriously.
I am entirely amused by this. Until I remember that yes, I have seen a red bellied black snake in real life (ie not in a zoo), my dog was bitten by a brown snake (top 10 in the most deadly snakes in the world), and during summer we daily had to get rid of the redback spiders and their webs from the kids toys in the back yard. I have also lost count of the number of blue tongue lizards I’ve had to pay the kids $5 each to bag up the carcasses of and throw in the wheelie bin after the dog had killed them.
Hardly a case of The Drover’s Wife, but certainly not unusual for most Aussie mums. That said, we are on the outskirts of the city – a good hour and a half drive from the middle of town – where not too many tourists go. And that’s unfortunate.
On this visit back home we took a fantastic trip to Featherdale Wildlife Park in Doonside near Blacktown in Sydney’s western suburbs. Of all the places to see some Aussie wildlife, Featherdale is fantastic because you can get up close and personal with so many native Aussie animals, stroll around at your leisure, and see short presentations from keepers about each of them. It’s an easy hour or so drive from the centre of Sydney, and well worth renting a car for the day to do it.
As you will see in the video below of our trip there this week, you can pat wallabies, kangaroos, koalas and see all the stuff that should be kept out of the reach of little fingers like the Tassie Devil which has enormous teeth and crunches through bones so cleanly it was most impressive. Featherdale just celebrated the birth of three beautiful dingo pups, and there is a traditional petting zoo as well. Plus, there are penguins. Tickets are not cheap with adults costing $25 each, children under 15 are $14 each and students are $19.50 each. A family ticket for two adults and two children will set you back $70 with $5 each for additional kids in the same family. While a little steep, the results of the price are obvious with the park being immaculately clean, pleasant to walk around, and including the right amount of hands on interaction – as well as some great information and learning opportunities. You are also welcome to take your own people food in with you, and enjoy lunch in the grounds.
The kids (and you) can all stamp your passports along the way at the different animals, and come home with a great record of a lovely day out. (If you miss one, all the stamps are also at the exit for those with the three year old who is adamant they want their whole passport covered… yep, they understand this at Featherdale). It was a great day out!