Moonlit Sanctuary is a small private animal sanctuary and zoo on the Mornington Peninsula and a great place to get up close to Australian wildlife and to learn about our native environment.
We are invited to visit and it is the highlight of our stay in the Mornington Peninsula.
The sanctuary’s name is deceptive – it’s not just open at night! They do run lantern-lit night-time tours where you can meet the nocturnal animals, but there’s still plenty to see during the day time.
The site totals 10 hectares of bushland but the area containing the main enclosures is not very big. You should be able to fit in a full visit within 2-3 hours while stopping for the included keeper presentations.
As you enter make sure you buy a bag of food ($2) for the ducks and wallabies. They are very placid and tame and the kids will love hand-feeding the animals.
Baby 2.0 enjoys patting the koala as part of the koala encounter ($15 per person) but Lady AB refuses to go in. The koala pretty much sits still and munches eucalyptus leaves so you can pat its surprisingly soft fur.
Other close-up encounters that you need to book include dingo pup adventure, python holding, barn owl encounter with “Hootie”, handfeeding a tawny frogmouth and the behind-the-scenes tour. Prices start from $5 per person.
I highly recommend the behind-the-scenes tour, which costs $150 for 1 hour for 5 people. It’s a personal tour of the sanctuary where you get to go inside some of the enclosures and feed the animals. We are regular frequenters of zoos and this experience is something special for adults and kids.
The kids vary in their fright levels – Baby 2.0 is happy to pat a snake but freaks out inside the noisy aviary, whereas Lady AB loves feeding nectar to the birds and the sugar glider and making a grass ball for the wombat.
The cafe is nothing special and with the plethora of gourmet options on the Mornington Peninsula I think you’ll be better off dining at family-friendly locations like Green Olive at Red Hill, Red Hill Epicurean or Main Ridge Dairy.
Moonlit Sanctuary is a great destination if you’ve got overseas visitors who are fascinated with our native wildlife or just little kids who love to get up close with animals in a natural bush setting. Tickets are reasonably priced, even with a few add-on paid encounters. If you can, make the most of the visit with a behind-the-scenes tour, an unforgettable experience!
- Approx 1 hour drive from Melbourne;
- Nearest train station is Frankston + bus or taxi ride;
- plan 2-3 hours for a visit and check what keeper presentations are happening to make the most of your visit;
- Encounters must be booked at the ticket office;
- Wheelchairs, walking stick and umbrellas available for loan free of charge;
- Free parking onsite;
- BYO food or eat off site;
- All of the attractions are outdoors so I wouldn’t recommend going in wet weather;
- Paths are flat or undulating compressed gravel so it’s easy to get around with a pram; and
- Cafe has high chairs and change facilities.
Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, 550 Tyabb-Tooradin Rd, Pearcedale
Daily except Christmas Day 10-5pm, cafe open 11am-4pm daily except Christmas.
Child (4-15 years) $10
Child (under 4) Free
Family (2 adults, 2 children) $53
Child (4-15 years) $25
Child (under 4) $15
Family (2 adults, 2 children) $120
Encounters range from $5-$150.