Ipswich Nature Centre leading hand Tara Snowling with Moose the dingo.
Ipswich Nature Centre leading hand Tara Snowling with Moose the dingo.

Popular tourist attraction set for $10 million overhaul

A $10 MILLION masterplan for one of Ipswich's biggest tourist attractions has been drawn up by the council to ensure it can be enjoyed for many more years to come and keep bringing in the dollars.

The Ipswich Nature Park is worth close to $3 million to the local economy and welcomed 140,000 visitors last year.

This was more than the number of people who passed through its gates in 2018, despite being closed for almost two months due to a flying fox infestation.

The proposed Queens Park Nature Centre and Discovery Hub Masterplan will ensure the centre is keeping pace with modern zoo requirements and a rapidly growing local population.

It would be the biggest change to the centre in a decade and the masterplan sets out how it will develop over the coming 10 years.

There are five stages to the masterplan with some of the main projects expected to be a wedge-tailed eagle exhibit (stage one), a new entrance and discovery centre built (stage two), an aquatic house built to house platypus and water rats (stage three), a new koala centre and bilby exhibit upgrade (stage four) and a pademelon exhibit and dingo exhibit relocation (stage five).

The council says 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 local ecosystems are recreated within the exhibits.

"With above 140,000 visitors a year, the Ipswich Nature Centre is the only free zoo in southeast Queensland so we want to ensure we can sustain that into the future," deputy mayor Marnie 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."

The Ipswich Nature Ipswich is the oldest council-owned zoo in Queensland and has been operating since 1936.

More than 185 different native animals and birds are on display, representing more than 43 species.