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It’s not often I get political in this space however, I do also want to keep my promise you that I will always be authentic, genuine and honest when it comes to travel experiences as a family.  That is why I do want to share with you this experience that has really changed and shaped the way I view zoos.

As a parent, visiting a zoo has seemed like an attraction that would seem a go-to for fun, adventure.  I mean children love to be up close and personal with animals that see in picture books.  I confess we have visited a few on our travels, however, my concern about the zoo’s is in the nature in which we feel our entertainment is more important than an animal’s happiness. I often leave feeling dejected and concern for the animals locked in cages in their artificial world.

On a recent holiday to the Sunshine Coast, we were spending time with another family and the option to drive to Australia Zoo was mentioned.  I was really interested in going, I have to admit mainly because I was an avid fan of Steve Urwin and something about his approach to wildlife conservation really struck a chord with me.  

Why Australia Zoo changed my mind about zoos


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At the heart of their

I let Australia Zoo know we were coming and we were gifted with a media pass*, but trust me, I was on high alert about just how this zoo cares for its animals.  My approach was to set out to see how I felt seeing animals in cages, or pens or sanctioned off for our own amusement.  To be completely honest, every staff member we interacted with, every exhibit we passed and admired the animals was like nothing I have ever seen.

First and foremost, this place is a conservation park not really a zoo.  The mission here is simple – break the mould, research and discover new strategies to help the environment and wildlife.

Our children were able to interact with koala, snakes, lemurs, kangaroos and more. The respect for the animal is paramount.  I asked one staff member about the koala patting station and was informed that each koala gets trained from infancy to get used to being cuddled and patted but it doesn’t get put under too much pressure having regular rest breaks away from being handled. 

So whilst previously my children may not have been aware consciously about the difference between one zoo and another, it was great to experience a zoo with such heartfelt love and dedication towards long-term conservation goals.  We walked around this magical landscape and I felt I was able to teach them the difference and could witness just how this approach was having a positive impact and the joy in seeing happy animals, living a wonderful life.

I feel with Australia Zoo there is a way to enhance the work achieved in animal conservation as well as giving us humans access to learn, see and understand animals better.  Experiencing Australia Zoo has certainly made me realise that.

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More information about Australia Zoo 


638 Steve Irwin Way,

Beerwah, Qld, 4519


Costs for a family

Family tickets (for 2 adults + 2 children) start at $179 for one-day admission.  More for additional children or additional days.

Other information

There are tours available most days from Segway tours, Private Tours, Zoo Keeper for a day Experiences and more.


If you liked this article – this one, about travelling with the heart may interest you.


* Australia Zoo provided OFT with a Media Pass for the day.  The views expressed in this post are my own and I guarantee honesty in all recommendations and options. 

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