Ever wondered what the animals get up in the zoo when all the visitors go home? When the lights go out, some of our most favourite animals come to life. You’ll wonder no more with Wildlife HQ‘s Night Zoo experience.
The Sunshine Coast zoo invited curious minds to get a night-time view of its amazing animals back in November 2022. The Night Zoo tours run each Friday and Saturday night from 6:30pm. The opportunity is for a limited season only. The rare opportunity to see the animals’ social habits and feeding behaviours is well worth the price of admission. However, for extra encouragement, there are also animals you can hold, pat and view in a controlled environment.
Experience the first of its kind on the Sunshine Coast
The Night Zoo experience is unique. Wildlife HQ CEO Jarrod Schenck told the Sunshine Coast News that there is no other experience like it on the Sunshine Coast.
A team of keepers guides a small group of visitors around the selected exhibits. You’ll notice that the monkeys, a popular drawcard during the day, are tucked up in bed, and unfamiliar noises from animals like the African painted dogs and Tasmanian devils can be heard. Don’t be scared.
While the keepers are feeding the animals, you’ll hear valuable information about the species before you. It’s all very interesting.
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What you might experience at the Wildlife HQ Night Zoo
The Night Zoo is an adventure for all ages.
Upon arrival you’ll be offered insect repellent. With the warm weather, and especially with those unpredictable summer storms, it’s recommended you lather up.
Some of the keepers might be holding lizards, which you’re welcome to approach and pat. Just be patient. This is a great opportunity to get up close to animals often hiding during the day. The keepers are knowledgeable and can easily answer most questions you or the kids present to them.
The animals most active after the sun sets include Tasmanian devils, African wild dogs, servals, red pandas, binturong, sun bear and maned wolf. We also saw tree kangaroos and those friendly-looking quokkas who have made a name for themselves on the television in recent months.
Hearing a serval hiss is quite extraordinary. These big-eared hunting cats are native to Africa. They are the biggest of any wild cat relative to body size and they can hear even the quietest of noises. When hunting, they’ll sit patiently, swivelling their heads back and forth like a watchful owl, until just the right moment. Then it will launch itself up and land directly on the invisible animal it is hunting.
Wildlife HQ uses environmentally sensitive lighting, which allows you to see these night animals more closely. It’s a wonderful way to experience nature and learn about wildlife conservation.
Keen photographer? You should know flash photography is not permitted during the Night Zoo experience.
It’s time to go home
The tour takes about 1.5 hours. At the end, guests are greeted by keepers and a range of reptiles. This is a highlight for many visitors. If ever you’ve wanted to hold a python or a baby alligator, now is your chance. Because visitor numbers are capped for the tour (you’ll find no more than 25 people walking through the exhibits), your chances of interaction is high.
You’ll come away with an improved knowledge of a number of night animals on the Wildlife HQ Night Zoo tour. The knowledge, enthusiasm, care and attention of the keepers ensures this.
You’ll find Wildlife HQ located near the Big Pineapple. The Night Zoo is open on Friday and Saturday nights for a limited time and bookings are essential.