Furry friends are hard to resist for any member of the family, so making some new ones while you're away on holiday is the perfect family activity to schedule in to your itinerary. Sydney is the perfect destination for wildlife-lovers, with plenty of animal attractions waiting to be discovered. Choose from getting to know Aussie's very own natives or discovering exotic beasts at one of these critter-friendly Sydney locations.
Located on Bradley Heads in Mosman, this zoo is perfect for families looking to get up close and personal with a variety of the world's most exciting creatures. The zoo is home to hundreds of species, from the well-known such as the African lion and giraffe, to lesser-known, but equally amazing, species such as the ghost bat and outrageously cute fennec fox. Wander the zoo and admire the animals on your own, or choose to get involved in up close and personal animal encounters. Admire the seals and birds in daily shows, acquire plenty of knowledge from the animal expert keepers, or feed a giraffe and meet a reptile! This zoo won the 'Major Tourist Attraction' category in the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards for 2013, so you know it's a quality attraction to visit. Plus, this zoo is all about animal conservation and welfare, and partakes in several breeding programs for different native and global species, including the Corroboree frog, brush-tailed rock wallaby and black rhinoceros.
The zoo action continues in the midst of Darling Harbour at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, a unique zoo with plenty of interactive displays, native habitats and daily feeding sessions and shows to entertain and educate the crowds. Many Aussie animals call this zoo home, with bilbies, koalas, wombats, snakes, spiders and frogs all residing here. Highlights include the 'Butterfly Tropics', a tropical haven created especially for fluttering butterflies, pythons, frogs and turtles. If you remember to wear bright colours, the butterflies might just land on you - kids will adore this experience. However, make sure your clothing is light - this habitat is kept at a very warm 33 degrees year round. Amble through the 'Wallaby Cliffs' to discover some of the most adorable Aussie critters, including the hairy-nosed wombat and yellow-footed rock wallaby. For brave families, a visit to 'Kakadu Gorge' will fulfil any desire for thrills - here, you'll come face to face with death adders and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo's resident saltwater croc, Rex. He's over five metres long!
Australian natives are plentiful at this wildlife park, so take your pick of marsupial, mammal, birds and reptiles to meet and greet. Learn about the shocking potency of a venomous snake, admire the power of a crocodile, or meet more furry companions such as dingos and wallabies. Kids will love the farmyard area, where they can learn about animals such as sheep, goats and cattle. It's located on Kildare Road, just over 30 minutes away from the heart of the city.
For those who want a glimpse of what lurks under the Pacific surrounding Australia, the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is the perfect option. Positioned on the city side of Darling Harbour, it's convenient for those staying within the city. Visit exhibits designed to replicate the Australian coast and its surrounds, including a 'Rocky Shore' exhibit home to wobbegongs and moon jellyfish, and the 'South Coast Shipwreck', with green moray eels, octopus and weedy sea dragons. However, possibly the best family-pleaser is the 'Shark Walk and Shark Valley' exhibit, where lemon and grey nurse sharks glide through the waters. If you're feeling brave, take the chance to snorkel with them through the depths on the new Shark Reef Snorkel encounter in the 'Great Barrier Reef' encounter. No diving experience is required, so it's perfect for beginners. If not all of the members of the family are up to that, glide across the crystal clear surface in the glass bottomed boat instead.