Have you heard about the Queensland Zoo at the Big Pineapple? The Sunshine Coast’s biggest tropical landmark has recently undergone some changes. Whilst the original Big Pineapple that we know and love is still a big drawcard enticing hundreds of visitors every week to pose for that iconic photo, other exciting attractions have been added to the grounds.
Families can now extend their visit to Nambour, with the newly established Queensland Zoo that features lots of Australian animals and other species from all over the world in up-close enclosures, as well as roaming free within the zoo grounds. It is also known as Wildlife HQ and, among other things, is helping to save the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat from tipping over the edge of extinction.
Wildlife HQ is a privately owned zoo and received no government assistance instead relying on donations to run.
Day Trip to the Big Pineapple
If you’re staying on the Sunshine Coast, a day trip to the Big Pineapple and Queensland Zoo/Wildlife HQ makes a good outing. On our recent holiday, our Brisbane Kids were very keen to see the huge pineapple and had no idea about the new additions, which we kept as a surprise. We spent our obligatory time posing for photos in front of the Big Pineapple, then made our way down to the next step in our next adventure – the zoo!
Will the Big Pineappple be as big as you remember? NO
Will it still be as much fun to get a family photo in front of it? YES
On our recent holiday, our Brisbane Kids were very keen to see the huge pineapple and had no idea about the new additions, which we kept as a surprise. We spent our obligatory time posing for photos in front of the Big Pineapple, then made our way down to the next step in our next adventure – the zoo!
Australian Animals at Wildlife HQ
The Big Pineapple grounds are now also home to the new Queensland Zoo more recently names Wildlife HQ. Following the closure of the much-loved Alma Park Zoo on Brisbane’s north-side, many of the animals were relocated to this new Sunshine Coast location.The zoo is divided into sections. The South American Amazon features, amongst others, Macaws, Alligators and Boa Constrictors. The African Safari is where you will find Lemurs and Baboons. Be sure to check out Exotic Asia for a wonderful collection of Burmese Pythons, Red Pandas and Malayan Sun Bears.
Upon entering the Outback Australia exhibit, we were greeted by over a dozen Koalas nestled amongst their eucalypt branches in an enclosure that allowed us to get up really close, which the kids absolutely LOVED.
With an elusive Tasmanian devil, massive sleepy Wombat, and playful Dingoes, the Queensland Zoo educated and entertained our kids for ages. Moving on from these exhibits, we encountered the walk-through Billabong, that is home to Kangaroos, Pythons, Turtles, Native Birds, and Emus. One of the things we liked the most about Queensland Zoo was that you really could get up close to the animals and just roam around the grounds in your time.
More additions and enclosures are planned for the zoo in the very near future, making Wildlife HQ a great way to spend a few hours when staying on the Sunshine Coast. In 2017 they added a reptile section which we are yet to visit.
You can get up close and personal with these animals by paying an addition fee.
- An Aussie animal encounter. You can choose between a Wombat, Sugar Glider, Crocodile, Dingo and Tasmanian Devils.
- An Asian animal encounter with either binturongs or red pandas (only available in winter) or sun bears.
- An African animal encounter with Ring Tailed Lemurs or Hamadrayas Baboons.
- A South American animal encounter with either an Emperor Tamarin, a Marmoset, a Cotton Top Tamarin or a Boa Constrictor.
The Big Pineapple’s Farm Animals
The final section of Queensland Zoo we explored was the petting zoo. This section is full of farm animals where we could once again get up close and fully experience the size and smell of animals Brisbane Kids don’t see every day in the big city. Our Brisbane Kids were incredibly entertained by the alpacas, who allowed them to pat and pose with them for photos, as well as the quite large pigs stereotypically rolling in their pools of mud. The baby chicks were also a big hit and, having only seen the scrub variety, the kids were fascinated by the size of the turkeys in their pen. The incredibly friendly animals in the animal farm created a truly great conclusion to our Big Pineapple visit, leaving our kids far less apprehensive about approaching even the largest of farm animals.
Visiting Wildlife HQ
Queensland Zoo is open 7 days a week, with last entry to the zoo at 3pm. A variety of passes are available, including day passes and annual tickets so that you can return whenever you want.
Complimentary BBQ facilities are located within the grounds, so plan a picnic lunch and make a day of it. Alternatively, the Palm Cafe serves cold drinks, ice creams, snacks and souvenirs. A sausage sizzle runs on weekends and holidays from 11am – 1pm.
Queensland Zoo is located within the grounds of the Big Pineapple, at 76 Nambour Connection Road in Woombye. Please check out the Queensland Zoo website www.qldzoo.com before your visit, as the attraction often hosts music festivals and closes some sections on these days.