Pat, possibly feed and get crazily up-close to many of the exotic animals at the Sunshine Coast’s Wildlife HQ Zoo from as little at $20. You can even hand feed Meerkats in a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Animal experiences at Wildlife HQ
We were recently looking for something a bit different to do for our daughter’s birthday.
We wanted something with a bit of ‘wow’ factor without costing a small fortune. Luckily, we happened across a social media post from the Wildlife HQ Zoo highlighting some of the different animal experiences the zoo offers. Our family are all nature lovers, so it seemed like the perfect idea.
Experiences range in price from $20 for Boa Constrictors; $30 for Koalas, Sugar Gliders, Quokkas, Wombats and Dingos; $50 for Marmosets, Lemurs, Red Pandas, Maly the Sun Bear, Binturong, Cotton Top or Emperor Tamarins; and Meerkats.
The good thing about Wildlife HQ is that while you can pre-book an experience by emailing the zoo, you can also just turn up on the day and arrange your experience with the friendly staff.
Wildlife HQ are also quite flexible about timings, which is great when you have kids who invariably need to go to the toilet or eat when you need to be somewhere.
Basically, you just need to turn up at the zoo and talk to the staff in the office about the experience you want. Then, when you are ready for your experience, you talk to the staff at the Cafe and they can arrange it on the spot. Too easy!
Hand feed Meerkats
Of course, given the choice out of all of the animals, our daughter chose to hand feed Meerkats. Given they are so adorable, who could really blame her – and it was a birthday treat after all!
We decided to watch the daily Meerkat show first, before meeting them up close. The show is an informative chat, where a zoo keeper explains a little about these cute animals from Africa, while giving them a feed.
Towards the end of the show, the zoo keeper mentioned that we had booked an experience and invited our daughter into the enclosure. They allowed her dad Chippie to go in with her to get some photos and make sure she was comfortable, while her brother and I watched from over the fence.
Almost as soon as they entered the enclosure the Meerkats ran up to them and were soon jumping around and on them. Our daughter was given some mealworms to hand feed the Meerkats, and the special treat soon had them jumping on her lap and chasing each other around her. It was an amazing experience.
Chippie was lucky enough to even have a couple of curious Meerkats jump on his lap to inspect the camera. Meerkats are definitely not camera shy!
As our daughter said: “It was the best birthday ever! Being able to hand-feed Meerkats was super cool, it was a great experience. The Meerkats kept jumping up on me, and even though they did scratch a little bit when they were trying to get the food, it was really good. The baby Meerkat, called Elsa, she was really cute.”
Other animal experiences
While we were at the zoo we saw other visitors have their own experiences with Sugar Gliders and Emperor Tamarins.
The Emperor Tamarins were just as curious as the Meerkats, jumping all over the ladies having the experience inside their enclosure. They obviously loved the fruit that the visitors were offering them, and it looked like a wonderful experience as well.
The Sugar Gliders were a little more sedate, being taken from a pouch and placed in the open hands of the visitors. But they were absolutely adorable – the cutest little guys ever! It would be the perfect experience if you are looking for a magical moment that’s a little quieter.
Where is Wildlife HQ Zoo?
Wildlife HQ Zoo sits alongside the iconic Big Pineapple, at 76 Nambour Connection Road, Woombye.
You can either drive down to the zoo’s main entrance, or for $5 each you can get the train down from the Big Pineapple itself.
For adults and older kids, we’d recommend just going to the main entrance, but as our kids are still relatively young, the train is all part of the fun!