Opening Times


9am - 4pm


Group Bookings Welcome

Animal Encounters

PLEASE NOTE: If you have received an Encounter Gift Certificate you MUST contact the zoo in advance to book a date and a time for your Encounter. Please do not assume that there will be times available without being booked in.


This is a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the mightiest Big Cat of them all – the King of the Jungle - the mighty African Lion.

You will go behind the scenes and feed some of our Lions, including our White Lions as well as our elusive Tiger (if she lets you) through special apertures in their enclosures.   We give all our lions the opportunity to come and meet you - and have something to eat!  It’s the thrill of a lifetime and absolutely safe.

Our specially trained keeper will accompany you and give you lots of information about Lions & Tigers – not only ours here in the zoo but also their wild relations.  Questions are welcome.

Only a few people each day will be able to take part in this wonderful experience so you will need to book your Encounter in advance by email or phone.


$100 per person – adult or child.


  • Prepared meat pieces for the Cats.
  • Safety tongs for feeding the Cats.
  • 15minutes of Big Cat time.
  • Access to one of our specially trained keepers to learn more about these wonderful animals.
  • Photo opportunities galore – bring your own camera.


  • Admission to the zoo.
  • A Lion to take home!

TIMES: 10am, 12.30pm & 3pm daily


You must be 8 years of age or over.

Children under the age of 8 will not be admitted to the compound. You will need to
have adult supervision for your non- participating littlies in the public viewing area.

You must not have open sores on your body - keep covered.

You must promptly obey every instruction of the keeper or your experience will be

Payment is required on arrival at the zoo.

There will be no refunds if you fail to attend at your booked time or if your experience has to
be terminated by the keeper.


Our newest Animal Encounter enables you to enter the Marmoset's enclosure with one of our keepers and learn all about these cute and fascinating animals while feeding them treats.


$60 per person – adult or child.


  • Feed treats for the Marmosets.
  • 10 minutes of Marmoset time.
  • Access to one of our specially trained keepers to learn more about these wonderful animals.
  • Photo opportunities galore – bring your own camera.


  • Admission to the zoo.
  • A Marmoset to take home!

TIMES: 10am, 12.30pm & 3pm daily


Because you will be inside the Marmoset's home there are some rules that you will have to follow...

  • This is a feeding and photo Experience only - these animals don't like being picked up, they come to you.
  • Participants will be accepted at the discretion of zoo management.
  • You must be prepared for the fact that the Marmosets will jump and climb all over you - including your hair!        
  • At least one participant in each session must be an adult.
  • Only food supplied by the zoo is to be fed to the Marmosets - you can not bring your own food for them.           
  • If you are partaking in this Experience by yourself, our keeper will use your camera to take your photos. Non-participants are not permitted into the enclosure.
  • Participants are to immediately and fully comply with the keeper's instructions.
  • Failure to do so will result in the termination of the Experience.
  • Inappropriate behaviour includes shouting, abrupt movements and flashes directed at the animal's face.
  • You will be required to wash your hands in disinfectant gel both before and after the Experience.
  • Participants must have no open sores or obvious health problems - running nose, persistent coughing etc.
Only a few people each day will be able to take part in this wonderful experience so you will need to book your Marmoset Encounter in advance by email or phone.       



Meerkats are now at the Darling Downs Zoo !!

Encounters with these wonderful animals are available at 10am, 12.30pm and 3pm each open day.

You enter their enclosure with our experienced keeper and sit on a log or a rock.

Our keeper gives you treats such as mealworms to feed the Meerkats and you can end up with Meerkats on your lap or your shoulder.  Some lucky participants even have photos of a Meerkat standing on their head!  If you are by yourself our keeper is happy to use your camera to take photos of you.  The enclosure is surrounded by a low fence so non-participants can easily photograph you from the outside.

Our keeper is a mine of information about these unique little animals so feel free to ask all the questions that you wish.

Each Encounter lasts until the animals get tired of it - usually about 15 minutes or so.

Bookings are absolutely essential - just email us with your preferred date, time and number of participants.

Unfortunately access to the Meerkat enclosure is not easy so this Encounter is not suited to visitors confined to wheelchairs or with significant mobility issues.

Participants will not be permitted with open footwear or with any obvious health problems such as open sores, persistent coughs or runny noses.

The cost is $100 per person and does not include zoo admission.  A deposit is not required - just pay on arrival.  However, we would appreciate prior notification if you need to transfer or cancel your booking.

As the zoo does not receive any funding from government or council we use every cent earned by this Encounter to support the husbandry of our animals and our participation in captive conservation programs at this zoo.

For details email the zoo at [email protected].



You can enjoy a personal visit with our Zebras every open day at 10am only.

Come into the paddock with their keeper and help brush them, maybe take them for a little stroll and feed them some treats.

You can't do this at any other mainland Australian zoo!

Bookings are essential so email us at [email protected].

The cost is just $50 per person which does not include zoo admission.

Participation is restricted to visitors 8 years of age and over. 

Unfortunately the Zebras will not tolerate participants in wheelchairs or using any type of mechanical aid so participation in this Encounter is restricted.

Every cent earned by our personalised Encounters is used to support our animals and to further our captive conservation endeavours.



*    Daily at 11am.

*    Ground level Encounter to feed and learn about these mighty giants

*    Only available to participants 10 years of age and older.

*    Wheelchair accessible.

*    Bookings essential - by phone [07 4696 4107] or email [[email protected]].

*    Availability subject to weather and ground conditions - last minute cancellations may be necessary.

*    $80 per person - all proceeds support our captive wildlife preservation projects here at the zoo.