The Ipswich Nature Centre is tucked away within Queens Park in Ipswich, the whole park is worth a visit just for the play areas and gardens. For over 80 years, the Ipswich Nature Centre has welcomed visitors who come to see native animals in gorgeous surroundings.
Entry is free (although they do request a gold coin donation to help provide for the animals and facilities).
The Ipswich Nature Centre
The Ipswich Nature Centre showcases over 40 different species of animal, focusing on wildlife that is native to the region. The entrance gates are through a shady rotunda and there’s also a handy map when you get inside, showing a large map of the nature centre and the exhibits.
The path snakes gently downhill through beautiful gardens before turning at the far end of the Nature Centre near the Amphitheatre and bilby enclosure before looping around and coming back uphill. Walk down the shady boardwalks past exhibits housing Australian animals – from more familiar species like wallabies, pythons and black swans; to rare and endangered animals such as quolls, bilbies, and black cockatoos.
Start by visiting the bilbies and the spinifex hopping mice in the Bilby Burrow, then stop at the barn to pat a few farmyard friends, and finally use the detailed information boards to spot different bird species in the walk-through aviary.
There are plenty of beautiful locations to stop and have a rest, although visitors are encouraged not to eat food inside the centre. But after leaving the park the beautiful grounds of Queens Park are ready to explore and offer many great options for a picnic lunch, and there is even a local cafe a short walk from the entrance to the Ipswich Nature Centre.
The grounds are so beautiful that it’s not only the animals in the enclosures who live there – many wild, free-roaming native animals call the park their home. In particular, look out for water dragons, rainbow lorikeets and fruit bats hanging in the trees near the aviary, and the curlews, ibis and bush turkeys wander between the exhibits.
The beautiful amphitheatre is located near the halfway point of the path (at the far end from the entrance), and is a great place to stop and play before checking out the nocturnal habitat and the rest of the exhibits. The boardwalks are pram, wheelchair and child-friendly (although it should be noted there is a gentle slope to most paths).
Ipswich Nature Centre Map
You can use the map on the signpost as you enter the nature centre grounds but there is an even better way to find your way around. There is a fantastic story shared via large signs on the fences as you travel around the anti-clockwise path, which introduces visitors to some first nations language names of some Australian animals. Brisbane Kids will be delighted to find the next part of the story as they wander through the centre. There is also braille on each of the posters for the story.
The Ipswich Nature Centre is wheelchair friendly, and the enclosures are viewable from a range of heights. Parents with wheelchairs might find the aviary and barn slightly difficult to enter, as these exhibits have double doors to prevent animals escaping. However, once inside, the exhibits are fitted with ramps. There are no toilets inside the centre, but directly outside the centre are accessible toilet facilities.
Plan to spend at least an hour inside the centre once you enter, as the path loops around quite a long way from the entry and there are lots of different animals to see. Of course it can be explored at your own pace so this is just a guide and Brisbane Kids who are interested in animals could easily spend a lot longer here.
The Ipswich Nature Centre features
- Fenced boardwalks
- Over 40 species of animal
- Free entry (Gold coin donation appreciated)
- Toilets directly outside the Centre (inc disabled access and nappy change)
- Wheelchair accessible
- Shaded paths
- Plenty of parking
- Suitable for all ages
- Café, park and gardens nearby
Ipswich Zoo Opening Hours
The Ipswich Nature Centre is open 6 days a week, Tuesday – Sunday from 9:30 am until 4pm. On school holidays, it opens 7 days a week. For further information, including pre-booking large groups, contact the Ipswich Council on (07) 3810 6666. You can find out more on the Ipswich City Council website here.
There are many other options to explore in Queens Park, and in the wider Ipswich region. The Ipswich Art Gallery is great for kids and often holds child-friendly exhibitions that are well worth a visit. The Workshops Rail Museum is another popular option.