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Brisbane Zoo Choices: Pick the Right One for Your Family

This article tells you about all our trips to Brisbane zoos and which ones we think are right for your family!

There is something very special about taking the family to an animal zoo.  We are lucky to have a choice of zoos in Brisbane. From a koala sanctuary to a world class zoo near Brisbane, you are able to take a walk on the wild side in your own backyard.  Some zoos offer food options and others are more take your own picnic style.

Equal parts fun and educational, a Brisbane zoo is the perfect day trip to entertain kids of all ages—yes, even those only young at heart.  A trip to the zoo will create special memories that your children will hold forever. The smells, the sounds, the sights and the feelings are so unique.

We have put together a comprehensive list so that you can find the perfect Brisbane zoo to visit based on our days out criteria:

So read on carefully and we are sure you will find something to suit each member of your family.

Zoos are a fantastic way to get back to nature and learn something about native and exotic animals. Some of these zoos offer certain interactive activities for its visitors like close encounters with cheetahs, lions, giraffes, lemurs and panda’s etc. visitors can also ask questions to the zoo veterinarians.  Here are the best places to find Brisbane wildlife.

Australia Zoo | Beerwah

australia day with kids kangaroo

Discover the most extraordinary wildlife adventure when you visit Australia Zoo Brisbane. The spectacular and expansive gardens provide a sanctuary for wildlife from Australia and around the world. Experience conservation through exciting education, immerse yourself in the interactive wildlife habitats, indulge in delicious cuisine, explore the gift shops for exclusive ranges and delight in the daily wildlife presentations. Steve and Terri Irwin’s vision has always been to make Australia Zoo the biggest and best wildlife conservation facility in the world.

Want to get into Australia Zoo for free? We wrote about how our editor got THREE kids in for free!!

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary | Fig Tree Pocket

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was established in 1927. Now home to 100 koalas, it is recognised as the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary.  You can hold a koala, hand-feed kangaroos and meet a large variety of Australian wildlife in beautiful, natural settings. With a daily schedule full of shows, presentations, photo opportunities and free-range kangaroo feeding, there is something for guests of all ages. Don’t miss the new 360-degree crocodile viewing dome, where you can come face to face (or tooth to tooth!) with Australia’s largest apex predator, the saltwater crocodile!  This zoo in Brisbane is a must see!

We love Lone Pine! Read about our experience at Lone Pine here.

Alma Park Zoo aka Wildlife HQ | Woombye

Primate at Wildlife HQ Zoo

Wildlife HQ is home to native and exotic animals from around the world! They are located at the Iconic Big Pineapple just up the road from Brisbane. The story of Wildlife HQ is akin to the story of Noah’s Ark. Zoo owner, Julie Seabrook and her team of dedicated Keepers, undertook the mammoth task of moving 200 animals from Alma Park Zoo Brisbane to their new home at Wildlife HQ.

For the animals with complex and multifaceted social relationships, maintaining their social bonds by staying together rather than being dispersed to other Zoos was the best solution for their continued health and wellbeing. This solution also provided Keepers with the opportunity to continue to develop the bonds they had established with animals they have worked with for a number of years.

We’ve been to Wildlife HQ too! Read out our experience at the zoo here.

Dreamworld Wildlife | Coomera

Dreamworld Tigers

In addition to being a theme park, Dreamworld is also a wildlife conservation park and the largest zoological contributor to tiger conservation worldwide. From tigers, to bilbies, koalas & tree kangaroos, there’s so many furry friends for you to find! Say g’day to the locals at the Native Wildlife Walkthrough area. Explore Australia’s rich natural ecosystems, where you’ll see everything from koalas to dingoes, kangaroos and even a croc or two! You can also come face to face with the jungle’s most fearsome predator on Tiger Island.

We are  season pass holders for Dreamworld be we visit often. Read out our trips to Dreamworld here.

We also know the cheapest way to visit Dreamworld here.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary | Currumbin

Things to do on the Gold Coast with kids - Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has been conserving native wildlife and nurturing the local indigenous heritage for over 70 years. This regional treasure has also been educating and entertaining families and tourists from all across the globe. The Sanctuary is home to native mammals, reptiles, birdlife and amphibians as well as some exotic species. Strong support from locals and the emergence of ecotourism has allowed the Sanctuary to thrive since its inception.

The educational public park continues to provide vital breeding and conservation programs, and lorikeets still flock to the arena twice daily to be fed by the equally delighted visitors. Holidaymakers can experience all the animals up close from great new heights atop the TreeTop Challenge high ropes course, or by cruising along on the Segway Safari tour at one of the best wildlife parks Brisbane.

We visited Currumbin and wrote about it here.

Sea World Marine Park | Main Beach

Seaworld, Queensland

Delve below the surface and discover a whole new world when you meet some of Sea World’s beautiful marine animals. From King and Gentoo penguins to the curious seals, there are many different species of marine animals that call Sea World home, including polar bears, dolphins, turtles, sting rays, sharks and sea jellies.  You can also book in for extra animal encounters where you can get up very close and personal to the animals. Along with all of the rides and attractions, Sea World is a huge day out!

Toddler friendly zoos in Brisbane

We know very well that when you have very young children, a huge out at one of the big zoos can all be a bit too much! We have found some smaller petting zoos in Brisbane that are perfect for a toddler’s day out. Some of these are not technically ‘zoos’ but they are places that are great to get up close and personal to the animals.

Tommerup’s Dairy Farm | Kerry Valley

Little Girl chickens FarmStay Tommerups

At Tommerup’s Dairy Farm you’ll find fresh produce at The Farm Larder, gourmet Jersey Girl ice creams at The Hut, friendly farm animals to meet and feed, and have exciting adventures exploring the farm and the river, but most of all, you’ll find country hospitality and a genuine, friendly welcome to their family farm.  There is so much to see and do at this petting zoo Brisbane.

You can find more information about Tommerup’s Dairy Farm here.

Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre | The Gap

Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre
📷: Hannah S, Lyle Radford © Queensland Government

Encounter native animals, enjoy a walk or bike ride, and splash out in the water at this one-stop nature-play zone. At the Wildlife Centre, you’ll discover some of the weird and wonderful inhabitants of Queensland’s national parks. Explore on your own or join the park rangers at the daily feeding sessions (ask for the daily feed schedule when at the Visitor centre). Come face-to-face with some of Queensland’s interesting creatures in the Wildlife Discovery Show held every weekend (10am and 1.30pm) with additional daily shows during holiday periods.

You can read about our visit to the Discovery Centre here.

Families tip: You can read about how cool the Enoggera Dam is next door here.

Summer Land Camels | Harrisville

Brisbane Zoo Choices

Situated in the volcanic crater of the Scenic Rim, with fertile soils, beautiful spring water and spectacular views to Flinders Peak, Summer Land Farm is the perfect place to provide unique farm experiences, including a homestead café & farm store, farm tours & camel rides, and regular events. On the farm tours, you’ll learn about camels and Australia’s camel history, the story of Summer Land Camels, and much more.

Ipswich Nature Centre | Queens Park Ipswich

Water dragon at Ipswich zoo

With over 42 species and around 200 animals in care – dingoes, bilbies, wallabies, water dragons and a whole petting zoo – the Ipswich Nature Centre, located in beautiful Queens Park is an unmissable experience. To make the cute and furry animals feel as at home as possible, there are lush, landscaped gardens and exhibits that have been created to represent local bushland and flora communities. A vibrant rainforest bird aviary is alive with colour and sound, and youngsters will have a ball in the barn that has chickens, goats, a bull and other farmyard friends.

We took a toddler to the Ipswich Nature Reserve and write about our experience here.

The opening times and information for Ipswich Nature Centre are here. 

Ecopark Fishing World & Farm Stay | Luscombe

EcoPark Adventure Park

Ecopark Fishing World and Farm Stay is an environmentally friendly recreational and leisure park with many friendly farm animals and unusual birds the kids just love… So close to the city and yet so removed. You can pet the animals, feed exotic birds, fish in serene ponds, or just relax and enjoy the setting. Hang the ‘Gone Fishing’ sign on your door and escape to EcoPark Fishing World for a fun-filled day out for all ages.

Paradise Country | Nerang

Paradise Country Nursery animals are cute and love a pat.

Immerse yourself in the world of a real-life farm, surrounded by cows, pigs, horses, ponies, sheep, goats, farm dogs, chickens and ducks. Get up close and personal to the gorgeous farm animals at Paradise Country. There are shows, dining experiences, animal encounters and experiences.

Read about our experience at Paradise Country here.

Trevena Glen | Mount Samson

Brisbane Zoo Choices

Just 40 minutes from central Brisbane, Trevena Glen Farm offers animal farm experiences with school holiday activities, kid’s parties, pony rides, horse riding lessons, farm stay, and more. Home to donkeys, goats, alpacas, pigs, sheep, horses, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, turkeys, and a cow, this farm tour is sure to delight animal-lovers of all ages. This small-group tour gives you around an hour to explore the farm and meet the animals, with your guide providing plenty of information along the way.

Lyell Deer Sanctuary | Mt Samson

Lyell Deer Sanctuary
Photo courtesy Lyell Deer Sanctuary

The Lyell Deer Sanctuary at Mount Samson, Queensland, is home to a small herd of rescued deer; a motley crew of red, rusa and fallow deer. The Lyell Deer Sanctuary has been caring for deer for over thirty years and attracts visitors from all over the world who want to get close to these magical creatures in a peaceful and beautiful setting. You can cuddle, sit with and hand-feed the deer. Along with the deer, they also have goats, cows, chickens, guinea pigs, guinea fowl, peacocks and even a lizard.

Mountview Alpaca Farm | Canungra

Mountview Alpaca Farm

Mountview Alpaca Farm offers alpaca experiences, alpaca feeding, photos and meal deals in collaboration with O’Reilly’s Vineyard for all to enjoy. Experiences start at 15 minutes and guests can enjoy leading an alpaca through the 10-acre property. Enjoy a picnic, pizza or Devonshire tea with an alpaca and the whole family!

Death Row Unchained | Burbank

Deathrow Unchained is an animal rescue organisation that rescues all animals, from dogs and cats to goats, pigs, cows, horses, sheep, chickens and any other animal with no other options. They have several different tour options.  You can purchase a feed bag and feed the disability cows on the fence line. They also hold different events throughout the year.

Have a look on the website of Death Row Unchained for all of the details here. 

Ottaba Llama Walks | Ottaba

There is no better way to soak up the countryside than by taking a llama walk! Ottaba Llama Walks has scoped out some of the finest walking tracks in the Brisbane Valley region. What’s more, they have the friendliest llamas in the area who are ready to go on a trek with you. The terrain is mostly flat on the Rail Trail, so no special level of fitness is required to participate on the tours. They also have various other animals such as alpacas, donkeys, chickens and turkeys.

Look at the options at Ottaba Llama Walks here. 

The Llama Farm | Pine Mountain

The Llama Farm

The Llama Farm is a working farm set on 80 picturesque acres and home to the largest llama herd in Queensland. They invite you to go and see for yourself how an authentic llama farm operates. You will meet the llamas and other animals on your farm visit. They offer farm tours and school holiday activities for the little ones.

Read more about the Llama Farm here. 

Ewenique Hobby Farm | Haigslea

What better way to unwind and relax than to soak in the rural setting of our 20- acre property and spend some quality time with everyone’s favourite, our cute and cuddly animals – who all have names! You’ll be up close and personal with all of the animals and able to pat and feed them: alpacas, sheep, lambs, goats, geese and chickens – this is by far the most EWE Nique experience.

You will find more information on Ewenique Hobby Farm here. 

White Ridge Farm | Elimbah

Tractor Tour at White Ridge Farm

Take the family to see the llamas, alpacas, horses and other beautiful animals at White Ridge Farm. You can hand feed all of the amazing animals including a camel! See the goats playing, the sheep and their little lambs. Feed the chickens and ducks and even have a go at milking the cow.  You can take your own picnic and make a day of it.

We took toddlers to White Ridge Farm – check out what we thought here.

Capalaba Produce | Capalaba

Capalaba Produce is a great place to drop in with the kids.  They have piglets, lambs, chickens, and many more animals big and small. You can even get up close and pat the animals in Ted’s Corner. You can also stock up on all of your pet needs as well.

If you are happy to travel that bit further to explore a QLD zoo, then we have found some options for you as well.  We promise they will be worth the drive.

David Fleay Wildlife Park | West Burleigh

David Fleay Wildlife Park

Nestled in the heart of Burleigh Heads, David Fleay’s is a small wildlife park with a difference! Stroll through the tranquil surroundings to experience some of Queensland’s natural habitats—rainforest to bushland—and meet some of the State’s unique and threatened species—Fleay’s is the only wildlife park visitors can see the shy bridled nailtail wallaby, thought to be extinct for over 30 years! A key highlight is meeting and chatting with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Rangers who care for the park’s unique and beautiful wildlife. Another is the Fleays in Flight show, where the large birds of prey wow visitors with their spectacular wing spans and speed.

Check out what we thought last time we visited David Fleay’s.

Darling Downs Zoo | Pilton

Moving to Toowoomba Darling Downs Zoo

Darling Downs Zoo is one of the biggest regional zoos in Queensland and is situated in a tranquil rural setting on Queensland’s beautiful eastern Darling Downs … about midway between Toowoomba and Warwick. An impressive array of animals in zoo greet the visitor to the Darling Downs Zoo.

At the zoo you can see

  • brilliantly coloured macaws from South America,
  • snappy crocodiles,
  • mischievous monkeys from south-east Asia,
  • haughty Peruvian llamas,
  • tiny rainforest marmosets,
  • sssssssnakes galore,
  • bouncing baboons from Africa,
  • two prides of mighty lions,
  • green iguanas from Brazil and
  • exotic parrots of all sizes and colours.
  • ducks,
  • lizards,
  • swans,
  • pelicans,
  • koalas,
  • wombats,
  • kangaroos,
  • ostriches,
  • dingo,
  • emu,
  • waterbirds,
  • turtles and
  • tortoises are some more of the species that call the zoo home.

We visited the zoo with two young children. Read about our experience at the Darling Downs Zoo here.

Did you find your best Brisbane zoo?

It is now time to get planning for your big (or small) day out at a Brisbane zoo Australia!  We also have all the information you need if you are looking for Aquariums in Brisbane to visit for something different. Enjoy getting back to nature.

Photo of author

Regina Gleeson

Regina is a fan of finding 'things to do with kids' in South East Queensland (specifically Brisbane and surrounds). As the Listings Editor of the popular Families Magazine (2013 - 2020), she was instrumental in hunting down and finding all the best things to do for families and sharing that information with her audience. She is extremely community-minded and makes it her personal mission to contribute content that is low cost (or free!) and suitable for families. This thirst for knowledge and desire to experience the things she writes about makes her an irreplaceable member of the team. Now working for blogs as a free-lancer, she contributes around raising two smaller humans and working with many, many more.

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