My family and I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby on the Central Coast, and it certainly bought back many childhood memories. It was so nice to share this wonderful place with our own children and create some exciting new memories together.
Located halfway between Sydney and Newcastle, it is the perfect place for a short day trip. Look out for Ploddy the dinosaur if you’re heading from Sydney, their 26-metre-long mascot also known as Australia’s first “big thing”.
The Australian Reptile Park is Australia’s original hands-on interactive zoo, and first opened in 1958 in Wyoming before later relocating to Somersby in 1996. The Australian Reptile Park were pioneers in the development of lifesaving antivenom and continue to be the sole provider with the parks venom program.
They also provide educational programs, conservation breeding programs and partner with the charity Aussie Ark, saving Australia’s wildlife through donations and animal adoption.
With a large collection of creatures big and small, including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, spiders, and birds, there is something for everyone.
During your visit, you can purchase food to feed the animals roaming the park and get up close to some furry and slimy friends during their daily animal walks.
During our visit, we met Hope the baby wombat, Flynn the koala, and Olive the python.
They also provide free animal shows daily and there is an opportunity to participate in a photo experience with a koala, baby alligator, Burmese python, tawny frogmouth, dingo puppy, Tasmanian devil joey or a wombat joey for a small fee.
We chose to get a family photo with the baby alligator 6-year-old Tiny Tim, which was both a scary and exhilarating experience.
If you want something more, they also offer zookeeper programs for children and adults at an additional cost, providing you with a “behind the scenes” look at a day in the life of a zookeeper. Kids 2 Keeper programs are offered during school holidays and some weekends, for kids aged 3 -18.
Or you can choose to participate in a behind the scenes animal encounter with a Koala joey, Tasmanian devil joeys, a Tree kangaroo, a Dingo, a Komodo dragon, the Alligator feeding or in the venom room, also for an additional cost.
During our visit, we were provided with a complimentary animal encounter with the Reptile Park’s newest Tasmanian devil joeys; 8-month-old twins called Alua and Wolf. They were so adorable and cuddly (not at all what I expected), and also very, very fast (as we witnessed when our little boy let one run away).
Our host Emily was very friendly and accommodating, and was so good with our two little ones, patiently assisting them to handle the joeys carefully and answering all of our questions.
We also received a complimentary visit to the reptile nursery where we met Fang the Burmese python, Nelly the albino corn snake, Pirate the bearded dragon, and many other slimy and prickly creatures. But our favourite was Buddy, a 30-year-old Tegu who is the only 1 in Australia.
The animal encounters are such an amazing opportunity to get up close and personal with your favourite animal, to interact with them and get some memorable photos, and to find out more about them. My family and I had never considered doing something like this before, but it really was the highlight of our visit! It is an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We learnt so many interesting facts whilst at the Reptile Park, one being that Tasmanian devils can give birth to up to 60 little joeys the size of a grain of rice. Also, that the big tortoises Hugo and Digby, aged 64 and 70 years old, weigh almost 200kg each.
The Australian Reptile Park is open Monday-Sunday 9am-5pm and entry prices are very reasonable for what’s included. It is a very spacious and easily accessible park, making it perfect for families with prams, people with special needs and large groups.
There are free BBQ facilities and plenty of shaded picnic tables and grounds to utilise, also a kiosk on-site to purchase hot food, salads, sandwiches, ice creams and cold drinks from.
There is a huge reptile-themed playground consisting of slides, swings, climbing equipment, tunnels and see-saws.
There is also a gift shop on the way out to purchase a memorable souvenir.
We had such a wonderful family day at the Australian Reptile Park and are already looking forward to visiting again. Visit with family or friends, come with a school or sporting group, book a group birthday party or event, or even have them come to you with their ‘animals to you’ program. With so many amazing creatures, exhibits and shows to see, you will be entertained all day. Why not start planning your visit to one of Australia’s premier tourist attractions today?
Good to Know
Address: Pacific Highway, Somersby NSW 2250
Cost: Adults $43, Kids $25, Family Pass (2A+2C) – $115
Ideal Age: Suitable for all ages, perfect for children and families
Public Toilets: Yes
Water Fountain: Yes
Picnic Facilities: Plenty of shaded picnic tables and grounds
BBQ: Yes free BBQ facilities
Nearby Cafe: Yes, there is an onsite kiosk- the Hard Croc Café.
For more information, visit the Australian Reptile Park website.
Disclosure: Newy with Kids received complimentary admission to Australian Reptile Park for review purposes. However, all opinions are our own.
Bianca grew up in Newcastle and loves everything about this wonderful city. A mum of two under 2 1/2, she cherishes the crazy and challenging, yet beautiful days that she gets to share with her children. On her days off she enjoys exploring new places together and creating fun and engaging play experiences, which she shares on her instagram account @mila.and.micah. When Bianca isn’t being Mum to her two, she is busy managing a local community-based childcare centre. She has 10 years experience as an Early Childhood Teacher and Director, and is passionate about play-based learning for the early years.