If you've yet to take your kids to the Moonlit Sanctuary in Pearcedale, please add it to your list of things to do.
The 10-acre biopark and wildlife sanctuary is positioned on top end of the Mornington Peninsula. Although smaller than other wildlife parks in Victoria, the Moonlit Sanctuary offers an intimate and special experience for tourists and locals.
25-acre biopark and wildlife sanctuary
The Moonlit Sanctuary is home to endangered Australian animal species such as the spot-tail quoll, Tasmanian devil, and orange-bellied parrot as well as the more common marsupials; the wombat, wallaby, kangaroo, koala & other native species.
The park is active in conservation education, research, and breeding, but is also open to the public. Enjoy the peaceful surrounds of the sanctuary and interact with Australia's native creatures.
Hand feed the friendly wallabies
The Moonlit Sanctuary is best known for its world-famous lantern-lit tours, where the animals are at their most active. Evening tours are booked in advance, and commence at dusk.
That said, it is daytime trips that are most popular with families, my own tribe frequenting the park at least four times a year.
Because the sanctuary is off the beaten track, and smaller than the big name wildlife parks, you don't get big crowds. The wallabies and kangaroos are free to roam everywhere. Although the iconic Aussie animals stick to the woodland surrounding the park's paths, they are super friendly and more than happy to munch from your child's hand.
Entry fees are very reasonable and packets of food are cheap to buy when you enter. I'd recommend you purchase at least one bag of food for each child, plus one extra, because these friendly marsupials are eager to eat, and your child will be begging for more!
Friendly marsupials and eager to eat!
Feeding aside, you've got plenty of enclosures to check out including the native birds, monitors, dingoes, lizards, koalas, wombats, Tassie devils and more.
Wildlife encounters are possible, really well organised and reasonably priced, too. The snake encounter for example will only set you back $5 or a koala encounter $15-20 (at the time of writing).
The 'conservation show' is entertaining, educational, and completely free. Live animals are bought into the arena where keepers educate visitors about each of the species on show.
Free conservation show
Another popular activity for school aged children, one that my 8yo son has done before, is the Junior Ranger Program, whereby the kids get involved in food preparation and feed the animals, as well as other wildlife educational activities and fun games.
Once you're done with your wildlife fix, feed hungry bellies in the cafe, which serves hot and cold beverages, sandwiches and light meals as well as ice creams to cool down with in summertime.
There are tanks in the cafe, filled with frogs, a snake, lizards and other fascinating creatures for your children to see.
The cafe itself overlooks the beautiful surrounds of the Moonlit Sanctuary, so you can watch the wildlife from afar while you enjoy your lunch.
Do take a trip out to the Moonlit Sanctuary if you can, it's well worth the trip.
Where: 550 Tyabb-Tooradin Rd, Pearcedale VIC
When: Open Daily 10am- 5pm every day except Christmas day
Cost: From $21 adult, $10.50 child (4-15yrs), Under 4yrs FREE. Junior Ranger Programs and Encounters incur extra fees, see website for details.