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Darling Downs Zoo – a Wild Day Out for SE QLD Families!

Everything you need to know about taking your family to the Darling Downs Zoo! This is QLD’s premium regional zoo and should be on your ‘bucket list‘.

Where is Darling Downs Zoo?

Travel to the gorgeous Darling Downs (about halfway between Warwick and Toowoomba) to find this tranquil, privately owned establishment. As this is a rural setting the weather can be varied – HOT in summer and COLD in winter!

The zoo may close during extreme weather conditions for the safety of the animals and the patrons.

The address for your GPS is 21 Baines Rd, Pilton. The zoo is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9am to 4pm. You won’t be allowed in if you arrive after 3pm. Darling Downs Zoo is proudly smoke and alcohol free.

Darling Downs Zoo relies on contributions from visitors, commercial interests, sponsors and staff and volunteers – it does not receive council or Government assistance. This truly is a labour of love for the people who work there!

What is at Darling Downs Zoo and is it good for families?

Darling Downs Zoo child feeding deer

One great aspect of Darling Downs Zoo for families is that it’s divided into geographical categories. Animals from Africa, South America, South-East Asia and Australia are grouped together accordingly – this means their enclosures are closer to nature and more appropriate than you may find in some other zoos.

There are a variety of daily events, including…

  • Meeting baby crocodiles!
  • Get-to-know Asian monkeys!
  • Sumatran Tiger talk and treat feed!
  • Giraffe introductions!
  • Meerkat treat feed! (A must for little ones!)
  • African Lion pride discussion! (These are the only lions in QLD)
  • Brazilian Tapir feed!
  • Cook ups! (Bring a picnic or cook on the BBQs) Daily sausage sizzles available as well.
  • South American bird meet and greet!
  • Mischievous South American monkey meet and greet!
  • Slippery snake photos!

What facilities are at Darling Downs Zoo?

Here’s a list of what you can expect…

  • Kiosk (pies, sausage rolls, chips, ice-creams, cold drinks, coffee)
  • Souvenir shop
  • Free use of BBQ’s
  • Shady picnic area
  • Free parking (lots of room for campervans and disabled parks)
  • Wheelchairs and prams – can be challenging (grasslands, fine gravel) following rain
  • Toilet and parent room facilities

Special opportunities at Darling Downs Zoo

Darling Downs Zoo lion

There are some paid experiences at Darling Downs Zoo that you might also be interested in.

  • Big Cat Encounter – $100 per person (adult or child – must be 8 years or older)
  • Giraffe Encounter – $80 per person (adult or child – must be 10 years or older)
  • Marmoset Encounter – $100 per person (adult or child)
  • Meerkat (up close and personal) Encounter – $100 per person (adult or child)
  • Zebra Encounter – $80 per person (adult or child)

These experience costs do NOT include entry cost – they are separate.

You can find more details for each experience at this link.

What does admission to Darling Downs Zoo cost?

Adults $38

Children (3-15) $24

Concession (pensioner or student) $31

Family Pass (2 adults and 2 kids) $105 (each extra child is $20 each)

What animals will we see at Darling Downs Zoo?

For those of you who love to have all the facts in front of you, here’s the complete list of animals you’ll see at Darling Downs Zoo. These animals come from other zoos, parks, private breeders and herpetologists. Some of them have been injured or orphaned and have since been rehabilitated. Others are part of preservation breeding programs.

  • Birds: Macaws, exotic Parrots, Ducks, Swans, Pelican, Ostriches, Emus, Waterbirds, Stilts, Marmosets, Noisy Pittas, Regent Bowerbirds, Rose-crowned Fruit Doves, Greater Rhea, Hamadryas Baboons
  • Reptiles: Crocodiles, Green Iguanas, Lizards, Snakes, Turtles, Tortoises
  • Monkeys: South-East Asian (variety) monkeys, baboons, tamarins,
  • Big Cats: Lions (African and White), Sumatran Tiger
  • Other African animals: Zebra, Giraffe, Meerkats, Barbary Sheep, Addax, Antelope
  • Other Australian animals: Bilbies, Kangaroos, Dingoes
  • Other Asian animals: Llamas
  • Other South-American animals: Brazilian Tapir, Capybara, Mara,

Visit Darling Downs Zoo, Queensland’s premium regional zoo experience for families!

The mission of Darling Downs Zoo is to promote respect and concern for the earth’s biodiversity. This is a fantastic, engaging and educational opportunity for Brisbane and Queensland children to experience the majesty and fragility of some of our planet’s most fascinating creatures.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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