Nielsen’s Native Nursery – Shark and Ray Gardens in Brisbane
Where is the Shark and Ray Gardens?
The Shark and Ray Gardens is located in the ground of Nielsens’s Nursery at Beenleigh-Redland Bay Road Loganholme, 4129. It’s literally just off the the Pacific Highway, very easy to get to!
What can we see at the Shark and Ray Gardens?
The Shark and Ray Gardens has been around for 10 years, but the Brisbane location only opened in early 2017. Run by a local man, Paul, the vast majority of the animals in his care have been rescued from the nets of trawlers and saved from our tables! On our visit to the nursery we saw:
- sea stars (starfish)
- baby sharks
- shark eggs
What happens on a visit at the Shark and Ray Gardens?
When you arrive you will make your way through the plant nursery towards the aquarium. Follow the signs to the shark and ray gardens which is located just behind the aquarium. It is an outdoor venue, so not really suitable in inclement weather. You will need to pay your entry fee here.
The owner, Paul, will give the group a short overview of the health and saftey rules to ensure both the adults and kids are across the necessity to stay on the mat in the pool and not to splash. He explains that all the rays have been rescued from trawlers nets and cared for to restore their health. For saftey, they have had their barbs removed.
Once the health and saftey talk has been done, you are allowed to wade into the shallow pool for a closer look at the sharks and rays. Paul gives an interesting talk with lots of facts about the sharks and rays in his care as he is showing them to the audience. At the end of the explanation for each animal, you will be allowed to hold out your hand to touch it. Paul reinforces kindly to the kids about being gentle, letting the animal come to you and not to splash. There are about 12 people (adults and kids) in the water at a time. While he is talking the rays just glide around in the water around your legs and over your feet. They certainly seemed very comfortable with us being there.
Families Tip: Wear shorts and flip flops/sandals as you will be getting wet if you want to get a personal experience.
Can you take photos while you are visiting?
Yes! And video. At the end of the talk, Paul will feed the rays and ‘Dougie’ (he’s super friendly) might come up for a photo opportunity. We were very lucky and Dougie obliged with a close up visit with our kids and looked right at my camera for a great shot!
What else is there to do there?
When you have finished your experience with the sharks and rays, pop in to the aquarium to find Nemo and Dory and look at all the other fish and aquarium treats they have in their shop. Whilst you cannot buy a shark or a stingray, they have an abundance of other marine life for sale as well as tanks and accessories.
Families Tip: Remember to supervise the kids well in here as there is a whole world of exciting things to look at, but not to touch in the shop.
Nielsen’s Native Nursery
As we said above, the core business is the plant nursery. After you’ve visited the sharks and the rays and their cousins in the aquarium, why not browse through the plant nursery, grab some seeds or seedlings and start or enlarge your home garden. Gardening with kids is a great way to show kids where their food comes from and we at Families Magazine are huge gardening with kids fans.
Lorikeets Coffee Shop
Lorikeet’s Coffee Shop is situated to the left of the main entrance, around the main pond with running waterfalls and background music. We stopped in after we visited all the other sites for coffee, juice and a piece of carrot cake.
Families Tip: At the time of writing this article, if you buy something in Lorikeets Coffee Shop you gain discounted entry to the sharks and rays experience. So maybe pop in here first to see if it is still on offer?
Watch our video review of Australian Shark and Ray Gardens in Brisbane
Thur/Fri 11am – 3pm last gates 2:30pm.
Sat/Sun 10am – 3pm last gates 2:30.
Closed Mon, Tues, Wed.
Open every day throughout school and public holidays.
Adults $35 | Children $25 | Family $95
Find your discounted entry options from $15 here.