A masterplan has been drawn up by Ipswich City Council to ensure the Ipswich Nature Centre is keeping pace with modern zoo requirements into the future and responding to the growing needs of the Ipswich community.
It sets a vision for the biggest transformation of the Ipswich Nature Centre in a decade.
The proposed $10 million Queens Park Nature Centre and Discovery Hub Masterplan is designed to allow future generations to continue to view and experience native wildlife and farm animals for free, with the inclusion of ‘low cost’ options such as wildlife experiences.
The masterplan sets out a vision for how the transformation of the site would develop over the coming decade.
Ipswich Deputy Mayor Cr Marnie Doyle said the masterplan will ensure the Ipswich Nature Centre’s economic benefits will continue to flow into Ipswich.
“With above 140,000 visitors a year, the Ipswich Nature Centre is the only free zoo in south-east Queensland so we want to ensure we can sustain that into the future,” Cr Doyle said.
“While the Ipswich Nature Centre is free to enter the additional expenditure in the Ipswich economy by visitors is estimated to be $2.5 million each year.”
Division 3 Cr Andrew Fechner also acknowledged the Ipswich Nature Centre’s ongoing benefits to the Ipswich community.
“The community has had a long and close connection with the Ipswich Nature Centre as it has grown to be the city’s most popular tourist attraction.
“Our natural and cultural heritage is celebrated here and this masterplan will ensure we are moving in a direction that will enhance visitor experience for both residents of Ipswich and visitors.”
There are five stages to the Queens Park Nature Centre and Discovery Hub Masterplan. Some of the main projects expected to be included are:
- Stage 1: Wedge Tail Eagle exhibit
- Stage 2: A new Nature Centre entrance and discovery centre built
- Stage 3: An aquatic house built to house platypus and water rat
- Stage 4: A koala centre to be built and Bilby exhibit upgrade
- Stage 5: Pademelon exhibit and Dingo exhibit relocation
The plan includes the use of smart technology, state of the art enclosures and an opportunity for more interaction with Australian wildlife. A local Ipswich habitat-based approach will ensure Ipswich ecosystems are recreated within the exhibits.
The plan aligns with council’s strategic priorities, which recognises that the protection and preservation of the natural environment is a key component in creating a sustainable and liveable community.
Fast Facts about the Ipswich Nature Centre
- The only free zoo in SEQ located within 1 hour of over 1.3 million people
- Above 140,000 visitations per year
- Oldest council-owned zoo in Queensland – operating since 1936
- More than 185 different native animals and birds on display representing over 43 species
- Zoo and Aquarium Association Accredited Zoo
- A member of the International Bilby Breeding Program
- Number 1 tourist experience in Ipswich on TripAdvisor
- TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence winner