Tasmania Zoo is a privately owned, family-run zoo located on 900 acres of bushland 18 km to the west of Launceston. Since 2003, when the establishment first opened its doors, it has built up Tasmania’s largest collection of animals. The list of more than 100 species of native Australian animals includes wombats, quolls, echidnas, sugar gliders, koalas, pademelons, kangaroos and Tasmanian devils. In fact, here you’ll find a large, dedicated breeding programme for Tasmanian devils, a species which in recent years has become threatened with extinction because of the infectious devil facial tumour disease. Other species at the zoo include exotic animals like meerkats, camels, pigs, goats, guinea pigs, rabbits and monkeys like siamangs, capuchins and the endangered black crested macaque. You’ll also find a large variety of reptiles, including crocodiles, alligators, pythons and snakes, as well as birds such as emus, parrots, galahs, cockatoos, kookaburras and even little penguins. Tasmania Zoo has a hands-on approach and you can have close-up encounters with some of the animals, including feeding them. The Tasmanian devils are fed three times a day and afterwards you may have a very special experience: who wouldn’t want to pet a baby Tasmanian devil? You can also watch the little penguins and the meerkats being fed twice a day. For children, any zoo is a paradise and Tasmania Zoo makes it more fun by accommodating children’s birthday parties. They can even do the catering for you. A quirky but effective way of educating the little ones about the importance of conservation is by linking the plight of today’s endangered animals with creatures that became extinct a long, long time ago. The Jurassic Swamp features more than 40 life-size sculptures of dinosaurs, including gentle giants like the Brontosaurus and the most terrifying of them all, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Three times daily you can go on a guided tour of the Jurassic Swamp and learn about other animals that became extinct too, including the Tasmanian tiger. Learn more here.