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If you are lucky enough to be visiting the Sunshine Coast, one place well worth visiting is Australia Zoo. One of Australia’s best animal parks, Australia Zoo is an Aussie icon just like Steve Irwin himself.
Australia Zoo has become a favourite for Australians and international guests alike, with a wide range of wildlife, educational opportunities and up-close animal encounters. It is a great place to visit for adults and children, and one we recommend making time to see.
And Australia Zoo with young children is a super fun day out so don’t let that stop you!
Australia Zoo was founded in 1970 by Bob and Lyn Irwin, growing from its humble beginnings as a small reptile park started by Steve Irwin’s parents, to become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Australia.
The Irwins were passionate about animals and conservation, and they used their zoo to educate the public about the importance of protecting endangered species.
The Irwins’ son, Steve, was born in 1962 and he grew up at the zoo. He developed a deep love for animals, and he went on to become one of the most famous conservationists in the world. He became known as “The Crocodile Hunter”.
Tragically, Steve Irwin died in 2006 after being stung by a stingray. His legacy lives on at Australia Zoo, which is now run by his widow, Terri, his son Robert, daughter Bindi and her husband Chandler.
Where Is Australia Zoo?
Australia Zoo is located in Beerwah, on the Sunshine Coast, near the Glasshouse Mountains area, which is about a 90-minute drive from Brisbane.
Australia Zoo is home to over 1,200 animals, including some of the most iconic and endangered species on the planet. Just a few of the Australia Zoo animals you will see include kangaroos, koalas, crocodiles, snakes, tigers, lions, elephants and more!
The zoo also has a range of interactive shows and exhibits, so you can learn all about the amazing creatures that call Australia home as well as those that live abroad too.
The zoo has dedicated areas to different regions including The Wetlands, Africa, South-East Asia and the Crocoseum.
You will of course see many different Australian animals at the zoo as well, such as kangaroos, koalas, wombats and lizards.
In addition to seeing the animals at Australia Zoo, there are a number of other things you can do at Australia Zoo. You can watch one of the daily shows, take a behind-the-scenes tour, or visit the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
During the hot summer days in Queensland, younger kids will love the Laughing Frog Waterpark – themed around the Aboriginal Dreamtime story of Tiddalik The Frog.
It’s right next door to The Laughing Frog Lolly Shop where you can get your afternoon ice cream before watching the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Show in the Crocoseum.
There is also a range of cafes and restaurants at the zoo, so you can grab a bite to eat when you get hungry.
There is an education centre for anyone wanting to learn more and Crikey! Kids Corner with a bouncing pillow and rides for the kids.
There are even dinosaur statues for kids to climb on and learn about.
Often they have special events such as pony rides for kids during Queensland school holidays.
Australia Zoo Conservation Efforts
Australia Zoo is more than just a tourist attraction – it’s also a conservation organisation. The Irwins are passionate about animal conservation, and they use their zoo to educate the public about the importance of protecting endangered species
The zoo is involved in a number of different conservation projects, both in Australia and around the world.
These projects include Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, which is a charity founded by Steve Irwin to protect injured, threatened or endangered wildlife.
Visiting Australia Zoo does always bring some sadness though, seeing Steve up on the big screen during the main show.
Or seeing his photos and the bronze statue of the Irwin family at Australia Zoo is a reminder that a man with so much passion and determination to make a difference was taken far too soon!
An Australia Zoo Day Trip With Kids
If you’re looking for an exciting day trip with your children, Australia Zoo is the perfect place to go! This world-famous zoo is home to some of the most amazing animals on the planet, and your kids will absolutely love seeing them up close.
We have visited the zoo many times over the years, living approximately 2 hours from Beerwah. These visits have included trips before kids, visits to Australia Zoo with a baby and of course, visits with toddlers and older kids too.
Each time, we have loved our day out and it has been memorable for all the right reasons.
Over the years, the zoo has expanded and there are some wonderful new exhibits and features added all the time to keep it fresh and exciting.
In fact, right after the zoo opens in the morning is one of the best opportunities to get up close with animals of different species.
Several of the animal handlers will usually wait near the entrance with birds, snakes, lizards and other creatures, ready for photo opportunities as you pass through the entrance gates.
Visiting Australia Zoo with young children proved to be the fun adventure we hoped it would be.
We were very impressed with our normally incredibly shy 3 year old willingly patted a snake and wanted to be in a photo. Normally she refuses photos at times like this.
But the fact that it was first thing during the visit is a very smart choice on behalf of the zoo, when visitors are fresh and happy… before the afternoon exhaustion sets in!
And our almost 1 year old, who was only a week off her first birthday thought all the animals were super cool. She hasn’t got an ounce of fear in her and she loved seeing some of the animals up close.
Visiting Australia Zoo With A Toddler Or Baby
You can easily enjoy a wonderful day at Australia Zoo with a baby or a toddler. While babies are too young to appreciate your day at the wildlife park, that is no reason to let it stop you from visiting. And there is plenty to delight a toddler!
Australia Zoo offers many different services and facilities for visiting with babies and toddlers, from pram hire and wagon hire to providing baby change rooms and attractions targeted toward a younger audience.
These prices are current as of June 2022:
Pram hire -$20 single or $25 double
Tag-along wagon hire – $20
Wheelchair hire – $20
Motorised scooter hire -$45
Locker Hire – Small $8.00 Per Day, Medium $12.00 Per Day and Large $15.00 Per Day.
Australian Wildlife Warriors Show
One of the big highlights of the day is watching the Wildlife Warriors show in the Crocosseum, which goes for about half an hour and is very engaging for all ages.
It’s extra special when the Irwins are in attendance as they will often host the show. Our most recent visit saw Terri Irwin, Robert Irwin and Bindi’s husband Chandler all co-hosting.
There is only one show a day and it is just after lunch, so you won’t want to miss it.
During the show the handlers introduce a range of animals, including their birds of prey, which fly across the arena overhead and land nearby. This had both our kids very excited, until our littlest miss couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer and drifted off.
They also bring out a big crocodile and provide a great education on crocodile safety, while giving a bit of a thrill as they feed the dangerous giant. The sound of that jaw snapping is like so loud. Crazy!
Take care though, it fills up quickly and some of the seats are in the sun. During our visit in 2022, my phone overheated from sitting in the sun and turned itself off for an hour.
Try to get there early to get a shady seat or at least dress to suit the sun with loads of sunscreen and sun protection clothing for your day at the zoo!
Planning Your Visit To Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo is located in Beerwah, Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia near the Glasshouse Mountains. If travelling from Brisbane or elsewhere, leave early in the day so you have the full day to enjoy at the park.
All general attractions are included in the admission price, however extra experiences at cost such as animal encounters and zoo tours in a buggy, which could be the perfect option for visiting Australia Zoo with young children, to save those little legs.
Best Places To Stay Near Australia Zoo
If you are looking for accommodation and hotels near Australia Zoo, there are many options around the Glasshouse Mountains, from bed and breakfasts to hotels.
Check out these great accommodation options for families:
Yes, you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks into the zoo. There are also a number of cafes and restaurants located inside the zoo, so you can purchase food if you get hungry.
Is Australia Zoo Kid-Friendly?
Absolutely! Australia Zoo is one of the most family-friendly attractions in Australia. The zoo has a number of kid-friendly facilities, including a playground, a water park and animal feeding areas.
Will The Irwins Be There When I Visit?
Maybe! The Irwins are at Australia Zoo often however they do have a lot of other conservation work they are involved with elsewhere. They usually share on social media when they plan to be there and the best time to see them is by visiting during the Queensland school holidays.
How Long Do You Need For A Visit To Australia Zoo?
The zoo is very large and there is a lot to see. If you want to see the main show and explore the different sections of the park, a full day is recommended. There is a lot of walking involved, although there is also a shuttle bus between sections of the park to save your feet too.
Tips for Visiting Australia Zoo With Young Children
Make sure you have a hat, sunscreen and covered shoulders to avoid sunburn
Drink lots of water bottles – there are water coolers to refill your bottle
Pack snacks, especially if visiting with kids
Good walking shoes are essential
Make sure the camera or phone is charged for photo opportunities – but don’t forget to live in the moment too!
A packed lunch is a good way to save money
Make sure you don’t miss the main Wildlife Warriors show in the afternoon
Beware of bumps and potential tripping hazards visiting Australia Zoo with young children – within our first hour on one visit, our excited 3-year-old tripped down a path resulting in a grazed knee and tears
Let your children take their time getting close to animals when the opportunity is presented. We don’t want to scare them by rushing them into a potentially scary situation.