Virginia Lake Aviary
A free flight aviary with 400 birds from around the world!
The Virginia Lake Aviary is a “free flight” aviary and a favourite of children and families alike. Generations have now visited the Virginia Lake birds, and many an hour been spent watching and wondering!
It is one of many gifts that have been presented to the city by local philanthropists and volunteers.
The present aviary was officially opened on August 12, 1979, along with the dovecote which stands nearby. The concept of a free-flight design, which allows visitors up-close walk-through access to the birds, was a novel idea in the late 1970s, and led the development of other such aviaries in New Zealand.
It now has 400 birds of 32 species from a variety of countries including Australia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, India, Burma, China and Japan. You’ll see pheasants, guinea fowl, yellow and red-crowned kākāriki (parakeets), numerous different parrots and sulphur-crested cockatoos.
This is the third aviary that has been at the Virginia Lake Reserve with the first erected in 1942 as a gift from Mr and Mrs Larsen of the Fosters Hotel.
There is no entry charge and nearby is a fenced children’s play area and the “Punchbowl” staged amphitheatre, a project developed by the Wanganui North Rotary Club. The aviary is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm every day.
The Virginia Lake Aviary is not the first to have been erected at the reserve, with two earlier aviaries having been built, the earliest dating back to 1942. It was a five-section facility similar to aviaries still in use elsewhere in the country.
This second Virginia Lake aviary stood between the Winter Gardens and the carpark, and when opened in 1960 was home to 60 birds. Council records contain many letters of thanks to local residents for donations of aviary birds, including finches, canaries and parakeets. There was even for many years a kea amongst the collection – before rules about keeping native birds changed.
virginia lake aviary
Can you count
There are around 400 birds in the enclosure – it would take quite a while to pick them all out though!
The Virginia Lake Aviary is a ‘free-flight’ walk-through aviary, meaning you can walk around in amoungst the birds!
The Aviary is just one of many attractions at Whanganui’s premiere park – Virginia Lake! Virginia Lake
Check out our range of brochures, itineraries and other info on this and many other things to do in Whanganui! Click here!