The Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park in Pearcedale situated in Melbourne's South East, only 50 minutes from the heart of Melbourne via the Monash Freeway (M1) and Westernport Highway (A780) offers visitors a unique Australian wildlife encounter away from madding crowds.
Open 7 days a week, from 10am - 5pm (closed Christmas Day), the Moonlit Sanctuary invites visitors to explore its 10 hectares of bushland, with ample opportunity to feed wandering wallabies, kangaroo's and birds as well as the chance to see dingoes, koalas, sugar gliders, wombats, Tasmanian devils, colourful birds, reptiles and many other animals within natural enclosures.
As well as self-guided walks through the Moonlit Sanctuary following the provided visitor guide map, there are educational talks held throughout the day, as well as a chance to experience an 'animal encounter'; a Cuddle with a Koala, Python Handling Experience, or Feed a Tawny Frogmouth for a very reasonable extra cost.
It is not just daytime that visitors can enjoy the Moonlit Sanctuary, which is perhaps best known for its evening tours by lantern light. Evening tours offer a chance to see nocturnal animals come out to forage and play, including night birds, feathertail and giant-yellow bellied gliders, endangered quolls, pademelons and bettongs. Evening tours run daily (provided there is a minimum of 2 people booked) at dusk and must be booked in advance by calling or emailing the Moonlit Sanctuary.
Additional activities at the Moonlit Sanctuary include children's party bookings, a keeper for a day program and young ranger's school holiday programs suitable for children age 7 - 14yrs which run over three days from 10am - 4pm.
Visitors can order reasonably priced food from the cafe including light snacks, sandwiches and a small selection of hot food, as well as hot beverages, ice creams and other refreshments for the family to enjoy.
The award winning Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park opened in 2001, inspired by the work of famous British conservationist Gerald Durrell, and is now home to 50 Australian species including 80 wallabies that are free to roam the bushland.
At the time of writing, daytime admission prices into the Moonlit Sanctuary range from $8.50 child (under 4yr free) to $17 adult with discounted family tickets available. Evening tours range from $15 under 4yrs, $25 child to $40 adult. Worth noting that annual membership costs $50, which entitles visitors to free entry during the day throughout the year, with reduced price evening tours and discounts from the tourist shop.
The Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park has so much to offer children, although adults will be equally thrilled to experience a hands-on wildlife encounter just as much as the kids.