A day trip to Sunshine Coast’s Australia Zoo can be a great way to entertain the kids, not to mention yourself too. Holding over 1,200 animals it can be a fascinating place to learn about nature and all the amazing creatures it's produced. However, due to the wide variety on display (and your child's attention span), a one-day pass can sometimes mean that you don't manage to squeeze in everything.
Usually, visitors require a second visit or a 2-day pass in order to see all that there is. Each single day adult ticket costs $59 while a children’s ticket (3-14 years) costs $35. Although a 2-day pass will save that little bit extra on the ticket prices per day, you also need to consider travelling to the zoo, feeding the family and any other associated costs. That’s why today I'm sharing my guide on how to see Australia Zoo in one day whilst also saving money.
Money Saving Tip: One of the very few ways to get a discount on Australia Zoo entry tickets is to make use of Red Balloon Day vouchers, since you can also purchase tickets through their website. For instance, head over to the Buckscoop Vouchers page where we currently have a '$20 off when you spend over $79' promo code for Red Balloon (which expires on 31st March 2016). If you're reading this after the end of March, don't worry as we often get new promo codes being posted for Red Balloon - so keep checking!
Right, let's get started with how to plan your day in order to see as much as possible on your day trip to Australia Zoo...
Morning Activities – Crocs, Cassowaries and Koalas
09:00 – The gates to Australia Zoo open and it’s time to begin your day, by firstly heading down the path towards the crocodile and alligator ponds. These are always a great way to start the day and if you do stray off the main loop here then you will find some of the following Australian favourites:
- Dingoes in the morning sun
- Dinosaur like Cassowary
- Koala bears
- The Tasmanian devil
When heading back from the Crocodile loop and on your way to the otter show, make sure you look out for the lizards and Komodo dragons on your way.
10:30 – Morning Otter Show
Money Saving Tip: Whilst waiting for the otter show to begin, turn on your Wi-Fi and make use of the areas free access.
11:00 – Head over to shuttle stop 1 and give yourself a chance to rest your feet as you travel to shuttle stop 3: The Wetlands. This area has plenty to explore, if you are lucky then you may witness a noisy morning brolga dance when you arrive.
If you feel like getting up close and personal with a big mammal then it’s worth taking the kids towards the Crocoseum which is near Roo Heaven. Grab some Grey Roo or Red Roo food for $2 and enjoy feeding the animals for up to half an hour.
Now, begin heading towards the Crocoseum and if you get there before the show begins then beat the crowds to lunch at the Frenzy Food Court. If you brought packed lunches then explore the lower levels of the Crocodile Hunter Museum and find out more about the courageous career of Steve Irwin. There is also a kid’s zoo that will allow kids to pet pigs, sheep or goats.
12:00 – Wildlife Warriors at the Crocoseum
Certainly one of the most entertaining shows at the Zoo, the feeding and demonstration of these mighty beast's power will entertain visitors of all ages. This is the best place you can be in the zoo at 12:00, so make sure you get there on time.
Afternoon Session - Africa
Once the Crocoseum show has finished, it’s time to jump back onto the shuttle at shuttle stop 2 and head to stop 5.
Money Saving Tip: There is free Wi-Fi around the shuttle stop area so if you need to get online then this is the time to do so without using any of your own data.
Hidden Animal Tip: Whilst on the shuttle stay alert and focus on the tree groves to the left hand side of the road. If you are lucky you may spot a cheetah taking a stroll or kicking back under the tree line.
Large animals that you can expect to see in the Africa section will follow, but bear in mind that this section is growing all the time so there may be some new additions when you get there:
This section of the zoo also offers personal encounters with animals such as the Lemurs or Cheetahs. Australia Zoo has over 20 different animal experiences that can be enjoyed by paying extra. I know this guide is about getting the best value for money on your 1 day trip and not overspending, but the fact that it tells you how to save money by not having to visit the zoo for a second day (not to mention the Red Balloon promo code discount on tickets) this is certainly one way you could justify it.
14:00 – Tiger Show
Next stop is Asia and instead of taking the shuttle, take in the beauty of the zoo via the walking path towards the Tiger Temple.
15:00 – The Rest of the Day
Once you have witnessed the Tiger show the schedule becomes a little more relaxed because you will have gotten the most important shows out of the way for the day. Close to the Tiger show are the Red Pandas who can be found clinging to the high branches or hiding in the trunks of their trees.
After you have seen these little fellas then you are left with a few choices to enjoy before planning your exit. The best value for money would be choosing one of the following experiences:
- Venture into the Rainforest Aviary to find noisy tropical birds
- Take a wander past the Wombat dens and if you feel like paying to take a Wombat for a walk then this can be done here.
- Take a stroll through the koala walkthrough and feel free to pat one.
If you have a spare $2 coin in your pocket then visiting the Wildlife Hospital can be a hidden bonus, because you may see some animals that you didn’t get a chance to in the Zoo. The money donated also goes towards the continued efforts from the Wildlife team to rescue and rehabilitate the animals.