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.
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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.