We have always loved having animal encounters, so we have been to most of the zoos and animal sanctuaries within a couple of hours of home. In most cases, we have been several times, because seeing such beautiful creatures up close is always amazing.
These days we get to see that joy through the eyes of our children too… well at least, our eldest as Violet has not yet had an encounter any more interesting than our cats. But her chance will come now that she is old enough to take in her surroundings.
A while ago we visited the Darling Downs Zoo, which is maybe 75-90 minutes from home, with our extended family while they were visiting from Victoria.
DARLING DOWNS ZOO
Darling Downs Zoo has not been open as long as most of the other zoos and sanctuaries in Queensland, however it has been operating for many years now and as such, they now have over 50 animals in their care. The zoo is privately owned, situated in the Darling Downs region between Toowoomba and Warwick.
The zoo’s mission is focused on sharing the importance of preservation of wildlife, with the animals housed in four separate geographical sections within the zoo – Africa, South America, South-East Asia and Australia. This is not only for educational purposes, but also to allow animals who would normally be together in the wild to be able to socialise with one another in nearby enclosures.
They also have a focus on a husbandry and breeding program with several of their animals, to further support their preservation focus.
The enclosures at Darling Downs Zoo allow you to get up close and personal with animals, at a safe distance, which is an exciting opportunity for kids and adults alike, who will likely never see most of these animals in the wild.
Although there are some I personally would rather not meet in the wild… like snakes. But we do live in Queensland, Australia and as the jokes say, our country is full of deadly creatures. I almost stood on a tiny snake last week, but it was just a green tree snake and quite harmless, while sunbaking on a hot day.
Not quite so scary as this one.
One of the big draw cards for Darling Downs Zoo is their lions, including two different prides of lions. They have white lions as part of their family, who arrived back in 2010. They frequently have lion cubs too, which is the most precious thing to see and wonderful to know they have a successful breeding program with these majestic big cats.
Although it was this deer that my niece and nephew thought was pretty awesome. Very friendly and he thought they were pretty wonderful too. Very cute!
Darling Downs Zoo is open 6 days a week, closed Tuesdays except for during school holidays when they are open 7 days a week. They are open 9am to 4pm with the last admission of the day being 3pm.
Admission to Darling Downs Zoo is $32 for adults, $18 for children aged 3 – 15, or $25 for concessions (pensioner or student). There are also family passes available for $85 for 2 adults and 2 children. Prices are correct as of 23/1/16 but are subject to change.
Darling Downs Zoo is located on the corner of Gatton-Clifton Road and Baines Road, Pilton, although it can be a bit of a windy way to get there so take care on the roads, depending on which direction you are headed.