The 'Oz' experience in the Okanagan

Did you know that there is a little bit of Australia here in the Okanagan? I heard rumors of a Kangaroo Farm and had to check it out for myself!!

Carolyn and Greg Wightman are the owner/operators of Kangaroo Creek Farm. Opened to the public just three short years ago, their little rescue operation has put Lake Country on the map for many local and international tourists!

Back in the late 1980s, the New Zealand government initiated an “eradication policy” on all “non-indigenous” species. A soft-hearted rancher contacted some friends here in Canada who in turn talked to the Wightmans. After careful discussions with Agriculture Canada to receive full clearance, the first 10 wallabies arrived in their new home in 1989. The unique family has grown over the years to include, 18 kangaroos, 4 pot-belly pigs, 7 parrots, 3 capybaras and an assortment of dogs, fowl, goats and sugar gliders!

For those of you concerned with the origins of the animals, rest assured that all are rescues from either zoos or game farms and are now well cared for at their new home at Kangaroo Creek Farm.

A visit to the Farm includes hands on “gentle” interaction with the animals as well as opportunity for child and adult alike to learn about these interesting species. The park closes between 2pm – 6pm to allow the animals to rest and de-stress. To best appreciate all aspects of the OZ experience, be sure to arrive either early morning or right at 6pm so as to be available for the adorable baby goat bottle feeding and the true highlight “joey bottle feeding”.

Experienced and highly professional staff walk amongst the visitors with helpful advice, insights and cautionary rules. All have an associated degrees in fields such as zoology and biology and are truly dedicated to the well-being of their animals. The imperative message they share is that exotic animals do not make ideal pets! Sadly, many of the birds and animals now at the Farm are the result of unprepared owners.

Many visitors are under the misconception that Kangaroo Creek Farm must receive some sort of funding or government grants for caring for these animals. That is not the case. The Farm is run purely on donations from visitors. These costs include liability insurance, staff wages, facility upgrades, etc. They do not cover the cost of feed and veterinary care which the Wightmans believe are all part of “animal stewardship”. There are no gift shops, restaurants or T-Shirt sales to detract from the pure experience of interaction with the animals themselves.

The Farm has “rustic” facilities and parents must be reminded that animals and farms are not necessarily the most sanitary of places! It will be impossible to keep your children away from touching the animals wandering throughout the area and nor should you! The expressions of pure joy and amazement are priceless!

So if Australia is on your list ….. but a long time off ….. make a visit to Kangaroo Creek Farm for your personal “OZ Experience”! You will enjoy it, I promise!

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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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