The Ipswich Nature Centre is South East Queensland’s only free zoo, it’s a popular destination for families and attracts about 250,000 visitors a year.
It is home to a range of animals from dingos to spotted quolls and a bilby conservation program that was started by Save the Bilby Fund co-founder Frank Manthey.
The Ipswich Nature Centre now has a world class bilby breeding enclosure that allows visitors the chance to look at Bilbys up close and a huge aviary where you can walk amongst the bird life. There’s also a barnyard which is home to cows, goats and sometimes chickens.
Animal encounters at the Ipswich Nature Centre have been very popular and run every school holidays, or by appointment on Saturdays for groups of 8 or more.
Whilst the nature centre is great for kids, it’s a magical place for all ages to get up close and personal with Australian wildlife. For the past 80 years people have enjoying the animals, shady walkways and native gardens – and you can too.
Come and find out who’s who in the zoo!
Hemu the Emu
Hemu is Ipswich Nature Centre’s longest living resident, he moved in 19 years ago and doesn’t plan on moving any time soom. He is very friendly and loves a pat.
Hemu is also very inquisitive and loves to check out what his keepers are doing while they are cleaning his enclosure. His favourite foods are grapes and peas.
Milly the wombat
Milly keeps her carers on their toes by bossing them around, she also keeps them busy filling up holes that she digs throughout the night.
She loves to sleep in her temperature controlled burrow throughout the day, then gets busy at night digging and exploring her enclosure.
Milly has a gym ball which is her favourite toy to play with and she secretly likes to use it as a pillow.
Dexter the cow
Dexter is like a 400kg Labrador. He loves cuddles and pats from his keepers but if you stop scratching too soon he will let you know by nudging you with his head.
His best friend is Tyrone the sheep. They are always getting into mischief together, one of their favourite tricks is to unlatch the chicken enclosure so they can go in and eat all the food and straw bedding.
Dexter loves to play and kicks his legs out when he gets excited. He’s also very sensitive, and doesn’t like when the vet comes to visit. He’s a favourite at the zoo with the kids, and loves when they brush him.
Luna the spotted tail quoll
Luna the spotted-tail quoll is popular with young visitors who love to watch her dart around her enclosure.
Luna is very clever, her keepers need to ensure she has things to keep her busy so she doesn’t get bored.
She loves to sunbake on cool winter days and climb the branches around her enclosure in search of hidden food.
Luna is most active at night being nocturnal in nature. Her favourite foods are rats and crickets.
Moose the dingo
Moose is a rascal who likes to push the boundaries. He is playful and always up for fun.
He loves to get wet and play in any body of water he can find. He’s not worried about his appearance.
You’ll often see him covered in mud or dirt, which he generously shares with his keepers by putting two big paw prints on their back.
He loves going for walks and doing training sessions with his keepers. His best friend is Lola, their favourite thing to do is chase each other around their yard and play in the pond.
Rocky the rock wallaby
Rocky is a friendly little guy who likes to sun himself in the early morning. He can usually be found snoozing up in the fig tree in his enclosure.
He is very athletic and can bound over rock piles and cliff edges with ease. Rocky will greet his keepers at the gate in the afternoon to take a piece of sweet potato or carrot to munch on.
Benny the lace monitor
Benny is a shy guy, who enjoys basking in the warmth of the sun on top of the large log in his enclosure.
During the colder months he sleeps in and only rises when the sun is out.
Once he’s warmed up he likes to take a stroll around his enclosure flicking his tongue to smell the different scents. On hot summer days he likes to have a shower under the hose then lie flat out and soak up the warmth of the sun.
Swans Samson and Delilah
These two may look majestic as they glide across the water but being true swans their attitude doesn’t match their looks.
They often chase keepers out of their enclosure which is humorous to watch. Although they do behave badly at times their love for one another is something very special.
They can often be seen deep in conversation with one another on the pond.
What you need to know
Ipswich Nature Centre features a range of Australian wildlife, lush landscaped gardens and exhibits that have been recreated to represent local bushland and flora communities.
The Centre is open six days a week and is located within Queens Park, Milford Street Ipswich. Admission is free, however a donation of a gold coin would be appreciated. All donations will be used for the care of the animals and future improvements to the Nature Centre.
Schools and other large groups are requested to pre-book their visit at least one month in advance by contacting Council on 3810 6666.
Please enjoy your visit to the Ipswich Nature Centre. To assist us in maintaining the grounds and the caring for the birds and animals please observe the following during your visit:
- Please do not feed the animals
- Please do not picnic (no food or drink) within the Nature Centre
- Please do not smoke within the Nature Centre
- Please do not enter any of the animal enclosures
- Please stay on the paths provided
- Wheelchair access friendly
- Children to be accompanied by an adult at all times
- No pets are allowed.
Opening hours Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am-4pm, school holidays open 7 days 9.30am-4pm, closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.