Residents of the Macarthur region have been left angry and disappointed after restrictions on a free event meant many families were not able to attend.

The Australian Botanic Gardens at Mount Annan hosted ‘Jurassic Garden’, which was publicised as an ‘inspiring’ Australia sponsored initiative aimed at celebrating prehistoric plant life and rain forests on Saturday, 20 August, as part of National Science Week.

About 6,800 people indicated on a Facebook page created for the event that they wanted to attend, and a further 31,000 said they were interested in attending.

The popularity of the event and concerns over parking and safety led the Australian Botanic Gardens to implement a ticket-only entry policy on the day.

One thousand free tickets were released at 6pm, Friday, August 5, and the allocation was exhausted within 20 minutes.

“I have two young kids myself [five and seven] who were really looking forward to the day,” Campbelltown resident Sebastian Denger said.

“I believe the event has not been very well planned or thought through at all.

“Only making 1,000 tickets available when you have almost 7,000 people indicate their attendance and a further 31,000 say they are interested in the event is bound to leave a ton of people disappointed and frustrated.”

Many locals voiced anger about the decision, and some attempted to buy tickets from residents who could no longer attend.

The tickets were initially for vehicle entry into the gardens and many families said they were willing to park on residential streets and walk to the event. However, they claimed organisers said anyone without a ticket would be turned away in order to comply with local council terms and avoid disruption to Mount Annan streets and residents.

“Otherwise there would be cars and people everywhere. It would be chaos,” Mount Annan resident Nicola Eves said.

“I know it’s not a popular decision but I think it’s the right one here.”

A representative from the Australian Botanic Gardens said future events, like ‘Jurassic Garden’, may be possible but further funding would be needed.