If your children love animals … and really what kid doesn’t, why not make the next school holiday an adventure to remember. Sydney and its surrounding areas have some spectacular zoos and interactive animal attractions that your kids will love.
Koala Park Sanctuary Address: 84 Castle Hill Road, West Pennant Hills
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm
This hands on zoo is a home to not only koalas, but also kangaroos, dingoes, wombats, native birds and more. You can feed the kangaroos (simply purchase some food at the entrance) or pat koalas and get pictures taken with them at the designated times. Lots of fun for young and older children.
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Taronga Zoo would have to be one of the nicest zoos in the world, with its spectacular views of Sydney harbour and recently upgraded animal enclosures. Plenty of shows throughout the day including Seal Show, Koala Encounter, Free Flight Bird Show, Giraffe Keeper Talk, Spider Talk and many others. The zoo features lots of different animals including tortoises, rhinoceros, seals, lions, lizards, orang-utans, tigers, lizards and many many more.
Sydney Sea Life Park Address: 1-5 Wheat Road, Sydney NSW 2000
Opening Hours: 9am – 8pm
Recently upgraded and renamed, Sydney Sea Life Park is an amazing aquarium and presents lots of underwater adventures including shark valley, discovery rockpool, tropical bay of rays, south coast shipwreck, dugong island and more. Allow several hours to explore this amazing water world, which is suitable for toddlers as well as older children.
Wild Life Sydney Zoo Address: 1-5 Wheat Road, Darling Harbour
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm
Located next to Sydney Sea Life Park, this great zoo, which was previously named Sydney Wild Life World is home to over 5000 native animals. You will find plenty of butterflies as well as kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, cassowaries, reptiles and many other native Australian animals. Part of the great experience is an extensive schedule of feeds, talks and shows. Get up close with koalas or take a behind the scene tour – you won’t be disappointed.
Manly Sea Life Sanctuary Address: West Esplanade, Manly
Opening Hours: 10am – 5.30pm
Another excellent aquarium, located near Manly Wharf. Having undergone a recent facelift, the aquarium offers a great experience for young and old. Check out the new penguin cove, dive with huge sharks or take a tunnel tour. Children can interact with animals at the interactive rockpool or enjoy one of the many talks given by the Sea Life Sanctuary staff.
Calmsley Hill City Farm Address: Darling Street, Abbotsbury
Opening Hours: 9am – 4.30pm
Located approximately 45 minutes west of Sydney CBD, this farm attraction offers children a variety of shows including animal petting, cow milking, tractor ride, stock whip show, working dog show and many more. Kids will love learning about and interacting with many farm animals such as sheep, horses, koalas, dogs, cows and more. Allow a full day for this adventure.
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Australian Reptile Park Address: Pacific Highway, Somersby
Located one hour north of Sydney, this great reptile park is a home to animals such as koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles, wombats, turtles, snakes, reptiles, spiders to name a few. Children can pet kangaroos or take a walk with Hugo, the giant Galapagos tortoise or watch Elvis, NSW’s largest crocodile be fed. The park offers great hands on programs for kids including “Little Kids 2 Keepers” (for 8-12 years) and “Kids 2 keepers” (13-18 years), which teach children about roles of zoo keepers and let them peak behind the scenes.
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The marine discovery centre offers the world's first combination of real fish in aquariums and audio visual experience that show visitors a dive tour of the incredible marine life at Bondi. And all that without getting wet. Definitely worth visiting if you are planning a trip to Bondi.
This zoo is set in a natural bush setting and offers many interactive experiences including hand feeding kangaroos and emus as well as cuddling cute koalas. You will also get to see many birds such as pelicans, cockatoos, colourful parrots, kookabooras, penguins as well as many reptiles, bats, echidnas. The park also has a farmyard pen, where children can play with goats and other farm animals.
Symbio Wildlife Park Address: 7/11 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Helensburgh
Opening Hours: 9.30am – 5pm
A small wildlife park, located just north of Wollongong, this park includes Sumatran tigers, koalas, pandas, kangaroos, monkeys, meercats and many others. You can touch, feed and cuddle many of the animals, so buy some food upon entry and don’t forget to bring your camera.