13 of the BEST Places to Have an Animal Encounter in Brisbane

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If you’re looking for the best animal encounters in Brisbane, QLD look no further. We have them all here in a bite size list. You will find all the places that you can go to have a fun experience with animals, for all ages in your family.

Each experience is professionally organised and those created for kids include adult supervision from staff. We know that you and your family will have a fabulous animal encounter at each of these outstanding family attractions.  

As a bonus, interacting with animals is known to boost levels of happiness and dopamine! Follow our guide and be prepared to have the best animal experiences in and around Brisbane.

Where to pat animals in Brisbane

We have put together a list full of all the BEST animal encounters in Brisbane. Keep reading to find out where your family can go!

1. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – cuddle a koala

Animal Experiences Brisbane

Lone Pine is an 18-hectare Koala Sanctuary in the Brisbane suburb of Fig Tree Pocket in Queensland, Australia. It is the biggest Koala Sanctuary in Australia, with over 130 koalas to cuddle.

And while getting to cuddle koalas is worth the trip, there is even more to see here at this marvelous family venue. The sanctuary is also home to kangaroos, dingoes, wombats and many other Australian native animals. The platypus display here is particularly good, and kids will love being able to stand in front of the glass windows and watch the platypus swim freely. This sanctuary is great for kids who want to get close to the wild life, also have excellent shows full of native animals. This will be an encounter that you will not forget soon.

Website: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

2. Animal Encounters at Australia Zoo

Animal Experiences Brisbane

This 1,000-acre zoo is in the Australian state of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast near Beerwah/Glass House Mountains. You will have amazing animal encounters at Australia, whatever age you are. The kids will love being a zookeeper for a day; and there are a range of educational and engaging programs for children of all ages.

Why not let the kids learn how to care for animals why you get some time to enjoy the zoo on your own? Spend time visiting and patting the big cats or checking out the birds of prey and lemurs. Australia Zoo has grand shows full of wonder and amazement, at these shows you can feed the animals and stroke there birds. Australia Zoo has it all. The animal experiences you will have at Australia Zoo, will be talked about around the family dinner table for some time.

Find out how to get free and cheap Australia Zoo tickets here.

We recommend Australia Zoo on our Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast road trip!

Website: Australia Zoo

3. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Animal Experiences Brisbane

The much loved and long-standing Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a heritage-listed zoological garden at Currumbin in Queensland. Here you can feed noisy parrots out of your hand, watch crocodile being fed and meet kangaroos, wombats and echidnas. You can also cuddle a koala and partake in a bird training program. This sanctuary also engages in animal care and conservation, and you can visit their outstanding animal hospital and watch the zookeepers working hard to protect and preserve Australian animals.

This is a wonderful experience for all ages and helps children understand the vital role zoos play in keeping animals safe. In addition, the sanctuary has several shows, from birds of prey to snake shows, and a traditional Australian culture show showcasing dances from Indigenous Australians. Come here to have an amazing animal experience and learn a lot of cool facts.

Website: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

4. SEA Life Aquarium

Come to SEA Life, at the Sunshine Coast in Mooloolaba, to meet the wonders of the sea, from sea stars, to playful seals, from scary sharks to friendly otters. Stand in the ocean tunnel to see animal’s swimming through the water just above your head. Watch sharks being fed and large sting rays cruising by without a care in the world. One key activity to do at SEA Life is watch the awesome seal show. If you are lucky, you will be called on to hold up some food and stand still while the seal leaps from the water and eats from your hand. Explore the 11 themed zones throughout the aquarium and discover the mysteries of the sea. Get up close and hand feed the penguins their dinner or swim with the seals. Your family will have a fun filled, educational and inspiring day at SEA Life.

Website: SEA Life Aquarium

5. Nielsen’s Native Nursery – Shark and Ray Garden

Nielsen’s Shark and Ray Garden is located at Loganholme in Queensland. This aquarium is fun, exciting and educational with hands on experiences for people of all ages. Here you will get to hop into small pools of water and pat stings rays and baby sharks. Staff are on hand to ensure the experience is done safely and with a true passion for sharks and rays, they ensure everyone learns a lot from their time here. In addition to viewing and patting sharks and rays there is a large assortment of beautiful coral and fish to explore.

Website: Nielsen’s Native Nursery

6. North Stradbroke Island – Whale Spotting

In whale watching season (June-October), North Stradbroke Island is one of the best places to go whale spotting. From Point Lookout you can see whales cruising through the water, and if you are lucky you might see other creatures like turtles, fish and dolphins in the sea. Hire some binoculars from the Fishes Café and enjoy the incredible feeling of seeing these large mammals up close.

Website: North Stradbroke Island

7. Wild Dolphin Feeding – Tin Can Bay

Animal Experiences Brisbane

The wild dolphin feeding occurs at Barnacles Dolphin Centre and Cafe, which is located at the Norman Point boat ramp, Tin Can Bay, Queensland. Have you ever wanted to feed a dolphin? Well, now you can! The dolphins are so friendly, they are fast and like to nudge you. The feeding sessions are at 8am (with fish provided).

Website: Wild Dolphin Feeding

8. Deathrow Unchained

Nestled in Burbank, DRU provides a haven for over 100 salvaged animals and extends an invitation to visitors for an immersive tour of their sanctuary, affording glimpses of their animals revelling in life and embracing freedom.

Website: Deathrow Unchained

9. Lyell Deer Sanctuary

Animal Encounters Brisbane

This serene enclave holds a special allure for individuals of all ages, providing a unique opportunity to engage with these graceful animals. Guests are invited to partake in heartwarming activities such as cuddling, sitting in quiet companionship, and personally feeding the deer by hand. In essence, the sanctuary offers an experience that caters to the desires of those who hold a deep appreciation for the majesty of these creatures.

Website: Lyell Deer Sanctuary

10. The Llama Farm

Picture this: an 80-acre farm tucked into the stunning Pine Mountain hills of Ipswich. What’s the buzz? Well, it’s home to a whole gang of 75 llamas, and let me tell you, these guys are as friendly and easygoing as it gets. Now, here’s where the fun part comes in. You, as a visitor, get to call the shots. Choose your adventure!

First up, we’ve got the guided llama walk. Yep, you pick your llama BFF, and together you hit the trail, soaking in the gorgeous scenery. Or, if that’s not your speed, go for the farm visit option. You’ll be hanging out with some seriously cute miniature ponies, donkeys, goats, dogs, and, wait for it… a whole crew of peacocks strutting their stuff.

Website: The Llama Farm

11. Mountainview Alpaca Farm

Get ready to step into a world of alpaca charm right at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards. This farm is the ultimate home to the fluffiest and most welcoming alpacas you’ve ever laid eyes on. And guess what? Some of these adorable creatures are actually trained to bring smiles as therapy animals. Talk about a win-win!

You’ve got options, too – whether you want to chill for 15, a sweet 30, or a whole glorious 60 minutes, the choice is yours. Soak in the beauty, bond with your new furry pal, and make memories that are bound to bring a smile to your face.

Website: Mountainview Alpaca Farm

12. David Fleay Wildlife Park

Every single day at the David Fleay Wildlife Park, there’s a special treat waiting for you at 2.15pm – a chance to get right up close to some amazing wildlife. And guess what? When school holidays roll in, things get even more exciting.

Kids, here’s your golden ticket: the opportunity to step into the shoes of a junior wildlife ranger. Imagine being a part of the action behind the scenes, shadowing the wildlife rangers and witnessing first-hand how they care for these incredible animals. It’s like a sneak peek into the world of wildlife conservation!

Website: David Fleay Wildlife Park

13. Cat Cafes in Brisbane

Brisbane’s cat cafes are the purrfect place to encounter domesticated felines. This indoor activity is the perfect way to spend your day, as all cats are friendly, and ready for adoption. The irresistible coffee and delicious cakes are just a bonus! We know this isn’t technically in the wild, but these cats are just too cute not to include.

Find out more by checking our Cat Cafes in Brisbane article.

The BEST places to have an animal encounter in Brisbane

Now you know where to visit the wildlife of Australia. Everything on this list is perfect for the entire family!

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Alex Mergler

Alex has been writing for his mum's website since he was 10 years old and now he runs his own website, Get Out with Kids. He attends high school and works part time at McDonald's. Born in the UK but growing up in Australia he has a passion for travel, and has visited more than 25 countries. He has a Cert III in Hospitality and holds the Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate. With this background he is well qualified to write the website's restaurant reviews and travel articles. When he grows up he aims to be a pilot and is currently studying for his Recreational Pilot License.

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