Mother, eater, slippery slider. I also like to write. And think. And dream.
Published November 8th 2012
Fact: children love* farm animals. Fact: farm animals exhaust young children. Fact: parents love small children who take an afternoon nap.
You see where I'm going with that.
Oakvale Farm and Fauna World is a great way to introduce the sights, smells and sounds of farm life to young children. And older children will enjoy the excitement of getting up close to the menagerie of free roaming goats, sheep, kangaroos, ducks, chooks and geese.
There are over 60 species of animals and reptiles on display ranging from your everyday farm types to the more exotic dingoes, cassowaries, pythons and baby crocodiles.
Children are actively encouraged to pat and feed the farm animals either with pellets sold at entry or at one of the feeding displays. To my mind, the highlight of a visit to Oakvale is the baby animal bottle feeding feeding sessions at 11am and 2pm. Lambs and kids are let loose on unsuspecting children armed with nothing but a bottle of milk. Have your camera at the ready! During these sessions visitors can also milk a cow and pat a koala.
If bird feeding is for you there is a water fowl feeding session at 1pm. Geese frighten the lights out of me so I've never taken part. Really.
The farm is small enough to traverse on foot (even small feet). There's also a fun, guided five minute tractor ride that loops every few hours, though it's no substitute for having a good walk around the place.
There's a great little playground with some impressive slides and a small fibreglass airplane for children to play in if it so takes their fancy. You can also take advantage of the free BBQ and large under cover eating area. The cafeteria has ice creams, hot and cold drinks and a simple lunch menu. There isn't anywhere very near by to grab food so if fried goods aren't your thing bring your own.
Located about 35 minutes north of Newcastle, on the way to Nelson Bay, Oakvale is a fun, easy and educational family outing. Seeing and doing all the park has to offer takes no longer than three hours, just perfect for kids.
*Love of an animal in a book can quickly disintegrate into sheer terror when said animal is nuzzling a child's back pocket looking for food. Consider yourself warned!