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Not everyone can afford to take their kids to the the zoo, so when we discovered this hidden gem of a place, we just couldn’t wait to share it with you. We found out about this great park from a dear friend who didn’t even know this park existed herself and she’s local! If you haven’t been here before then you wont want to wait too long. It’s a great place for a day out with friends or family. 

Central Gardens Nature Reserve

Central Gardens Nature Reserve

Things to do at Central Gardens

Central Gardens Nature Reserve is located in Merrylands in Sydney. It is conveniently located near Parramatta and close to public transport. It’s one of the only parks in Sydney where you can visit the Australian wildlife for free. The park is huge covering an area of 12 hectares of natural bushland. It has certainly become one of our ‘Must See‘ places when we have visitors to Sydney and features lots of attractions for everyone including:

  • A free wildlife exhibit with separate enclosures for kangaroos, wallabies, emus, and a few different varieties of birds (cockatoo, western corella, geese, waterfowl).
  • 2 Fantastic kids playgrounds.
  • duck pond with viewing platform and waterfall
  • walking / cycling tracks
  • sheltered picnic tables and BBQs with plenty of tree shade.
  • tennis courts for hire
  • kiosk can be hired for functions at reasonable rates.
  • large open grass areas all on 12 hectares of natural bushland.
  • drinking fountain
lots of shaded picnic tables and BBQ with toilet amenities close by

lots of shaded picnic tables and BBQ with toilet amenities close by

Vehicle entry to the park is free, however on weekends and public holidays the car park can get full so many people choose to park their vehicle outside on the side streets.
You can access the park from two entry points. First entry is from Merrylands Road and second entry is from Paton Street.
As soon as you enter the car park from Merrylands road you will see lots of picnic tables and the huge pond with the waterfall. A great spot to have a picnic lunch. Toilet block is also located near the entrance by the picnic area for your convenience.

After lunch the kids can enjoy the wildlife exhibit. No feeding of the animals is allowed. My 2 year old daughter just loves it here. The animals are enclosed behind mesh fences so the fact she can walk safely around the different enclosures and still see the animals is fantastic and she loves watching the kangaroos and wallabies.

Photos from the Wildlife Exhibit at Central Gardens

Central Gardens Wildlife Exhibits Entrance

Central Gardens Wildlife Exhibits Entrance

Kangaroos

Kangaroos

Kangaroo and Wallabies Enclosure

Kangaroo and Wallabies Enclosure

more Kangaroos bathing in the sun

more Kangaroos bathing in the sun

geese

geese

Emus

Emus

Pink Cockatoo

Pink Cockatoo

Western Corella

Western Corella

Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth

how cute is this! kangaroo photo booth next to the Bird Aviary

how cute is this! kangaroo photo booth next to the Bird Aviary

After seeing the wildlife exhibit it’s time to head of to the playground, located just outside the wildlife exhibit, where the kids can burn off some more energy. I love this playground. It”s perfect for toddlers and younger kids and has exciting bright colours and some pretty cool climbing structures, bridges, monkey bars, slides and rockers. My 2 year loved this playground so much she didn’t want to leave. It’s fully shaded too!

bright colourful play structure that includes grid climbers and bridges, slides, monkey bars, counting beads and spring rockers.

bright colourful play structure that includes grid climbers and bridges, slides, monkey bars, counting beads and spring rockers.

playground from a different angle. Great for younger kids and fully shaded!

playground from a different angle. Great for younger kids and fully shaded!

massive open grass - great for a group picnic or kicking a ball around

massive open grass – great for a group picnic or kicking a ball around

Norrie Maley Kiosk can be hired for functions

Norrie Maley Kiosk can be hired for functions

Ponds with ducks and Waterfall

This is such a picturesque location, I had a lovely time with my 2 year old watching the ducks on the water. Sometimes when we come here we like to bring some bread and go to the viewing platform to feed them. It’s such a beautiful location with the waterfall and pond and a great place to get some great family photos with the kids.

view of the ponds and waterfall near the car park entry

view of the ponds and waterfall near the car park entry

man made waterfall that is turned on daily

man made waterfall that is turned on daily

stepping stones to get across to the viewing platform area

stepping stones to get across to the viewing platform area

pathway that leads to the viewing area

pathway that leads to the viewing area

watching the native birds from the viewing platform

watching the native birds from the viewing platform

Duck pond and fountains

Duck pond and fountains

Photo taken from the viewing platform

Photo taken from the viewing platform

feeding the ducks

feeding the ducks

stunning fountains views

stunning fountain views

Central gardens opening hours

The wildlife exhibit opening hours are until 4pm daily, and the rest of Central Gardens is open till 5pm in winter.

Parking

There is parking available from both Merrylands Road and Paton Street.

How to get here

Central Gardens Nature Reserve is located at Cumberland Hwy & Merrylands Road, Merrylands West NSW 2160

For further information you can visit the Cumberland Council website.

This is a great place to host a kids birthday party. Be sure to add this to your list of places to visit in Sydney.

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