Healesville Sanctuary is one of three zoos that Zoos Victoria manages and it’s focused especially on Australian wildlife. As such, troche it’s a great place to take international visitors as well as being a unique place for kids to learn about their native environment.
Healesville Sanctuary is the smallest of the three zoos and so you will likely be able to see everything very quickly, recipe without stopping for any presentations or shows, in about 2.5-3 hours. However, I would allocate more time as there are several play spaces which are awesome plus we missed some of the animals and didn’t stop to eat.
I really liked the bushland setting and as we arrived early on a winter’s weekend it felt really serene and quiet.
In terms of attractions we particularly enjoyed…
Lunar’s Secret Forest, an indoor space where you can pretend to use a torch to spot endangered leadbeater possums…
the many carved wooden sculptures dotted around the grounds with references to Indigenous culture…
the Australian Wildlife Health Centre. A working lab and hospital with cabinets and glass windows explaining the workings of the vets inside. There are also daily presentations.
Inside the Australian Wildlife Health Centre is a new indoor play area called ‘Future Vets’ where kids can role play being a vet. It’s cute but pretty small compared to Ranger Kids at Werribee Zoo and Keeper Kids at Melbourne Zoo...
…The outdoor nature play area has a large covered sandpit, two slides, cubby, tunnel and musical elements. For older kids there’s a rope climb plus a picnic area. There’s a smaller play area near the Reptile picnic area…
…by coincidence the CFA were holding a presentation at the zoo on our visit. Forget the animals, the real and toy firetrucks were probably the highlight for vehicle-mad Baby 2.0! He cried ‘I want to drive the truck’ when we had to leave.
- plan at least 2 hours for a visit;
- The Spirits of the Sky show is a must-see which we missed;
- free parking on site;
- most of the attractions are outdoors so I wouldn’t recommend going in wet weather;
- It’s easy to get around with a pram though it’s safe to let kids roam around on their own;
- it’s a gold coin donation to buy bird seed to feed the parrots inside the aviary. Other close-up experiences are $15+.