About 20 kilometres from Parramatta, is a family-friendly animal wildlife park. Featherdale Wildlife Park is open every day of the year, except Christmas Day, from 8am until 5pm.
This is a great place to get up close with a wide variety of animals. We loved seeing lots of different Australian animals without having to venture far away from home. And it’s easy to take a pram as the park is mostly flat. We only had to negotiate two stairs when entering one of the the koala enclosures (but there was a ramp on the way out).
June Locals Deal
Featherdale is treating locals for the whole of June to discounted entry. If you live within a 20 kilometre radius from Featherdale Wildlife Park, you’ll save $12 on adults entry and $9 on kids entry. So adult entry is $20 and kids $10! Here is a list of suburbs that are covered by the June Locals Deal.
Getting to Featherdale Wildlife Park
Featherdale Wildlife Park is located at 217-229 Kildare Road in Doonside, which is near Blacktown.
There are some car parks available on site, plus there is street parking too. I liked that all the parking was free! There was a bus stop right outside the park. To get to this bus stop catch the 729 bus that leaves from Stand E at Blacktown train station.
What to Expect at Featherdale Wildlife Park
After paying for entry at Featherdale Wildlife Park, there is a machine where you can pay $2 for food to feed the animals, and the toilets. This is one of two toilet blocks that I found, so I’d probably recommend that you have a quick pit stop before embarking into the park. Also, there was a baby change table in the parent’s toilet here.
In the park, there are lots of themed animal enclosures, such as boats washed up on shores, a General Store, and a farmyard. I really liked how these sections made it ‘feel’ different and not like we were staring at the same back drop over and over again.
Often it felt like we were really close to the animals. This was reinforced by staff who were really nice at reminding me to check that my son’s fingers were not sneaking inside animal enclosures as they could get bitten.
We did make it through the day with all ten fingers in tact, so that was a bonus!
Birds, Birds, and More Birds
As the park’s name suggests, there are lots of feathered friends to see at Featherdale Wildlife Park.
We loved the big cassowaries, white pelicans, many many owls (barking owl, powerful owl, barn owl, etc!), macaws, brolgas, penguins, seagulls, turkey, chickens, pied cormorant, ibis family, and brush turkey.
One of my favourite facts from the day was pelicans can hold more food in their beaks than in their bellies! So the signs must have been informative too.
There were also a lot of Australian animals at Featherdale Wildlife Park, like koalas, wallabies, quokkas, wombats, echidnas, snakes, crocodile, dingo, bilbies, and so on.
I think it’s really important to remember that Australian animals are really good at camouflaging so it can be harder to notice some of these great animals on the first glance.
There are lots of opportunities to see koalas in this park, and get quite close. If you want to touch a koala, however, you need to do a ‘V.I.P. Koala Encounter’ and these seem to be available all day. The Standard ‘V.I.P. Koala Encounter’ includes a 6″ x 9″ photo, two 6″ x 4″ photos and a digital copy. The Premium ‘V.I.P. Koala Encounter’ includes a 12″ x 8″ enlargement, a 6″ x 9″ photo, two 6″ x 4″ photos, and a digital copy. You can also pay for additional photos if you really want to. Both V.I.P. experiences include being able to stroke the lower back of a koala, and get your photo taken. The experience goes really fast, so savour that moment or really enjoy the photo.
There are some other paid animal experiences too – e.g. personal dingo encounter at 3.30pm – $25.00; baby salt water crocodile encounter at 11.30am – $25.00. Even though these experiences are offered, you would have to be way more organised than I am to be able to turn up at the right time to the correct enclosure and be willing to pay too. My son was certainly happy enough with all the other free things to do, so I found these other paid animal encounters very easy to skip.
Although a lot of the animals are nearby, you could not touch them (which makes sense!). There was, however, an interesting hands-on experience in the farmyard area.
You could get up close with some sheep. And there was a turkey, goose, and chicken in this area whilst we were in it.
Just outside the farmyard area, there was a little shed to be able to wash your hands. There was also another hand washing shed towards the exit of the park just before the cafe and second picnic table area.
There were two ‘picnic’ areas at Featherdale. I found them both underwhelming as there was no grass area to be able to put out a picnic blanket and let kids roam.
Picnic Area One
Despite this, I did enjoy being able to stop halfway through the park and eat something that I had brought with me. There were a number of picnic-style tables on asphalt, one electric BBQ, and one sink at the Picnic Area halfway through the park. There was no where here to buy additional items or go to the toilet. And I personally would not be treking back to the cafe to get something to eat or drink. It took me about 1.5 hours at a wandering pace to get to this picnic area. It was the perfect time for us to stop, so I am glad that I had snacks and a drink ready.
Picnic Area Two
The second picnic area also has picnic tables and no grass. It is located near the exit. The kiosk is also near here. The highlight of this picnic area is that you can see some of the koalas in the trees from the picnic tables.
At Picnic Area Two, there are toilets with baby change table in both the mens and ladies toilets. The change table in the ladies toilet is not in a separate room/toilet though so people may need to walk around you to get to some of the toilet cubicles.
There is a kiosk with a range of food items, including kids combos that are served with chips and a medium drink:
- Hog dog – $9.99
- Cheese burger – $9.99
- Chicken nuggets (4) – $9.99
- Fish strips (with chips and a small drink this time) – $9.99
Adults combo deals also include chips and a medium drink:
- Angus beef burger – $16.99
- Vegetarian burger – $16.99
- Chicken breast burger – $16.99
- Barramundi burger – $16.99
- Fish and chips – $16.99.
Plus, there are a range of ice-creams ($2.20 – $5.00), slushies ($5.00), drinks and hot food items on the menu that do not seem to come in combo deals. For example, sausage rolls ($5.99), beef pies ($6.99), spinach and feta rolls ($5.99), assorted quiche ($9.99), assorted filos ($9.99), chips (regular, $4.99; large $7.99), sweet potato chips (regular, $5.99), cheese and bacon loaded fries ($11.99), Angus beef burger ($9.99), chicken burger ($9.99), vegetarian burger ($9.99), hot dog ($4.99), six chicken nuggets ($4.99), pluto pup ($4.99), egg and bacon roll ($6.99), as well as six salt and pepper squid with chips ($12.99). There is also various muffins, doughnuts, cold sandwiches, cakes and banana bread in the fridge for sale.
The exit is through the Gift Shop, and you’re back at the car park where you started.
Other Things to Consider When Visiting Featherdale Wildlife Park
- Children aged less than 3 are free to enter Featherdale Wildlife Park.
- The price of an annual pass to Featherdale is just a little bit more than double the regular entry fee. So it is worth considering buying an annual pass if you think you will come three times in a year.
- It’s ok to pack food and drink to take with you.
- Remember that there are only two toilet blocks (one near the entry and one near the exit).
- Bring $2 if you want to be able to buy food to feed the animals.
Places of Interest Nearby
- Bert Saunders Reserve is a big, green park about 2min drive around the corner from Featherdale Wildlife Park. Its a good spot to visit if your kids need to have a play at a playground before coming home. This park might also be a good place to pull out the picnic blanket.
- Blacktown Showground, with large shaded playground, water play and cafe
- Nurragingy Reserve, with beautiful Chinese gardens, lake, three playgrounds, water play, kiosk
- Bungarribee Park, with a large fun playground. Also the site of Sydney Zoo.