A few weeks ago our weekend away to the family farm got cancelled. We’d been telling our daughter all week that we were “going to the farm to see the animals” so instead of seeing the disappointment on her face and having to answer the same question 500 time over the next two days (Why aren’t we going to the farm?) we made a last minute decision to head down to Symbio Zoo for the day instead.
So we jumped in the car, threw in some snacks and headed out for the day. First stop – coffee. We wanted to try somewhere new along the way so we thought why not stop in at the Shire Farmers Market. It was only a tiny detour and I had been meaning to check it out for ages. The coffee was great, there were lots of little tasty treats and options for brekkie too. If we weren’t heading out for the day we would have grabbed all our fresh fruit and veggies for the week but we hadn’t really thought that one through. The kids had a play on the jumping castle, a little dance to the band and then we were on our way.
Symbio Zoo here we come!
Seeing it was a last-minute dash, I hadn’t jumped online to check pricing or details so I was a little shocked when I saw it was just under $100 for our family entry. I was then pleasantly surprised to see it was actually free for kids under three. Lucky kids don’t have to show ID..
The initial outlay did seem a little steep but as soon as you walk in you see where the money goes.. The whole place has a beautiful feel to it – it’s small, authentic and the animals are all healthy and happy. The amenities are nice and clean and the staff are really friendly – and why wouldn’t they be with that awesome gig!
Our favorite part of the zoo is the huge grassed area where kangaroos roam. You can walk through, get up close and personal with them, pat them and feed them. The kangas are so used to kids and are super friendly. Our littlest kept stepping on the poor roo tails but they didn’t seem to care, so don’t be scared to get amongst it.
We could have spent the whole time in the kangaroo walk through but there is so much more to see. There is a huge range of birds and marsupials, as well as an impressive reptile display and a newly built old style barn full of farm animals to enjoy. Most of the animals are native, but there are also plenty of exotic ones too, like tigers, cheetas, lemurs, meekats, red pandas, monkeys and more.
After a 2-3 hours we felt like we had seen enough and it was time for lunch. The zoo has a café – the snacks and coffee are pretty good but I don’t think I’d stay for lunch. Unless you were organised and picnic packed, then you could make use of the lovely picnic areas throughout.
We weren’t orgainsed so we decided to head ten mins down the road to the Scarborough Hotel – a gorgeous old building with a fun and relaxed atmosphere and breathtaking views.
There are a few different options for seating but you can’t go past the seacliff garden huts and tables. The view is to-die-for and there’s lots of grass for the kids to run about. Kick back and enjoy a relaxed meal in the sunshine with a refreshing bevvy or two. What a way to end a perfect family day!
MORE DETAILS :
Flora Street car park, Sutherland
The only dedicated ‘foodies’ market in the Sutherland Shire specialising in fresh seasonal foods and beverages
Open: Every Saturday 8am-1pm, rain, hail or shine.
7-11 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Helensburgh
It’s set on 16 acres of bush parkland and is famous for providing genuine hands-on encounters with the most fascinating creatures from Australia and around the world. There is plenty of parking and it’s pram friendly.
Entry: $32.50/adult, $17.50/child (3-15 years), $89/family (2 adults, 2 children)
Open: 9.30am to 5pm, every day of the year (exept Christmas Day)
The Scarborough Hotel
Address 383 Lawrence Hargrave Dr, Scarborough
Opening Hours: Mon- Fri: 9am – 4pm, Sat – Sun: 9am – 5pm
Features: Change Table, Highchairs, Pram Access, Kids Menu
Things to keep in mind: Parking is limited, service can be slow (so order as soon as you arrive).