Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Featherdale Wildlife Park
I was convinced that we were not going to get to see any koalas or kangaroos in the wild so after the Botanical Gardens, I talked Rich into going to the Featherdale Wildlife Park, where I'd heard you can "pet" some of the animals. Although the drive took us halfway back to Sydney, Rich was a good sport and indulged me. Seriously, you can't go to Australia and not see a wallaby and a dingo, right?! The drive took longer than we thought it would and we arrived with only about an hour left till closing time, but it was just long enough to see everything we (I) wanted to see. We paid our money, walked in the front gate, and got to pet some cute little wallabies right away. I was excited!
There are quite a few koalas at the park and a staff member brings a different one out every so often and lets people get up close enough to touch. How cute is he?! His fur was kind-of woolly feeling, not super soft. I am not sure how much the koalas enjoy this but he didn't really seem to mind. I know, there are all sorts of ethical issues about confining wild animals and using them for our pleasure...I get that.
A vending machine held ice cream cones filled with grass/hay to feed the animals. This kangaroo did not want much--I am not sure if it's a good thing that people are feeding them all day long. I wish we had a picture of the giant ostrich stealing the rest of this cone out of my hand! I held it out to him, thinking he'd just nibble at it but he snapped his beak onto it and grabbed it hard! I screamed and Rich burst out laughing. Luckily the ostrich did not take my fingers.
We felt sorry for the birds and the flying squirrels who were stuck in cages and couldn't fly free. Some of the animals were out in the open and had a lot of space to roam but others were confined.
Another koala. You know that koalas are marsupials and not bears, right?
Mama kangaroo with baby in her pouch!
We also saw dingos, tasmanian devils, wombats, bandicoots, and more, but didn't get the best photos of them as they were in enclosures or lying in the shadows, under logs, or running around. By the time we were finished, I had mixed feelings about the park and wished the animals were out running free. At the same time, I was happy I got to see them. I guess it is people like me who keep the place in business. :)