Most children adore the chance to cuddle up to a friendly kangaroo or pat a baby duckling…and let’s be honest, most adults get a kick out of it too! If your family are the type who love all creatures great and small, try one of these animal encounters on and around the North Shore where you can meet and greet cows, penguins, kangaroos and more.
1. Calmsley Hill City Farm
The ‘inner city’ farm at Abbotsford offers kids the chance to hand-milk cows, get up close and personal with a penful of goats, pat baby bunnies and ducklings, and wander through an enclosure where you can feed a gang of kangaroos as they hop around you.
- Cost: Adults $25.50, children $15, family $75 (kids under three are free)
- Opening hours: Open 7 days a week 9am-4:30pm, except major public holidays
- Best bits: Animal patting, tractor rides and cow milking
- Where: 31 Darling St, Abbotsbury NSW 2176
- Website: Calmsley Hill City Farm
2. Nancy’s Freedom Farm
Teach your children that eggs don’t come from the supermarket fridge with a trip to Nancy’s Freedom Farm, where you can hand-collect warm, fresh eggs from the friendly chooks and bottle feed a variety of baby animals, plus play with Nancy’s incredible farm dogs.
- Cost: Adults and children $10 per person (children under 4 are free). Bookings essential
- Opening hours: Open 7 days a week for fresh egg purchase, for farm tours and egg collection text Nancy on 0439404433 the night before confirming your visit (as weather permits).
- Best bits: Egg collecting, baby animal bottle feeding
- Where: 97 Arcadia Rd, Arcadia NSW 2159
- Website: Nancy’s Freedom Farm
3. Mounted Police Museum and Tours, Redfern
Did you know NSW Police conduct free tours of their horse museum where you can meet and greet the troop horses? You can also watch horses being put through their paces in the exercise yard, plus you’re encouraged to bring carrots to feed the horses!
- Cost: Free. Bookings are essential and require a minimum number of 10 people.
- Opening hours: Tuesdays at 10:00am and 11:00am
- Best bits: Getting to pat and touch full-size, gentle, trained horses
- Where: 7 Baptist St, Redfern NSW 2016
- Website: Tours of Mounted Police and Museum
4. Golden Ridge Animal Farm
Located just at Dural, Golden Ridge Animal Farm offers daily tours which allow you to hand-feed very enthusiastic sheep, goats, llamas and more- plus cuddle up to ducklings, chickens and baby bunnies before trying your hand at milking a cow! Visits are by tour times.
- Opening hours:
Mon – Fri: 10.15 am arrival, 10:30am Start
Saturday 10.45 am arrival, 11am Start
Sunday (Public Holidays) 11am Start
- Cost: Adults and children $15 per person (children under one are free), family $60
- Best bits: Hand feeding goats in an open pen, baby bunny and duckling petting
- Where: 686 Old Northern Road, Dural /Farm Entry: Cnr Old Northern and Wyoming Road
- Website: Golden Ridge Animal Farm
5. Amazement Farm & Fun Park
Offering farm stays, animal encounters plus a huge barn cafe and a ‘magical maze’ the Amazement Farm and Fun Park has loads to do. The horse and cart ride and bird sanctuary are highly recommended, then let the kids get lost in the maze while you sneak a coffee!
- Cost: Adults $16, children $12 (kids under 3 are free)
- Opening hours: 9am-4pm, Friday to Sunday, 7 days during school holidays (final entry 2pm)
- Best bits: Bird sanctuary, horse and cart rides
- Where: 170 Yarramalong Rd, Wyong Creek
- Website: Amazement Farm & Fun Park
6. SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
For kids who love getting up close with little critters, the rock pool is your best bet- kids can dip their hands in to touch and feel the sea life and rock formations. But don’t miss the dramatic stingray and shark feeding sessions in the tunnel, plus the little penguin show in the atrium.
- Cost: Adults $25, children 4-15 years $17 (savings available online)
- Opening hours: Monday – Thursday: 9:30am – 7pm , Friday – Sunday: 9:30am – 7pm
- Best bits: Stingray and shark feeding in the tunnel, rock pool touch and feel, penguin feed
- Where: 1-5 Wheat Rd, Sydney NSW 2000
- Website: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
7. Wildlife Sydney Zoo
Where else can you touch a butterfly, cuddle a koala, see a snake and check out a cassowary? These animals are all on offer at this zoo right in the heart of Sydney’ CBD.
Cost: Adults $40, children $28 (savings available online)
- Opening hours: From 9.30am daily
- Best bits: Butterfly tropics, koala breakfasts
- Where: Darling Harbour (next to Sea Life Aquarium)
- Website: Wildlife Sydney Zoo