Hidden in Brisbane’s southside suburb of Loganholme are the Shark and Ray Gardens, located within Nielsen’s Native Nursery.
At first Logan seemed like an unlikely place to be able to jump into a pool and experience sharks and rays swimming around your feet. But Paul, the owner and expert, insists that it’s the perfect place to pat sharks! Being just 30 minutes from the Gold Coast, Brisbane city and the Bayside makes it accessible for locals and tourists alike.
So, if you’re travelling through Brisbane or are a local looking for a great weekend or school holiday activity, read on to find out everything you need to know about the Shark and Ray Gardens. Don’t forget to watch the short video to give you an idea on what you can expect.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosures here.
Shark and Ray Gardens Review
What Are the Shark and Ray Gardens?
The Shark and Ray Gardens are essentially a big pool, which ranges in depth from ankle-deep to waist-deep ocean water, being 1.2m at its deepest. Inside the pool lives ‘Dougie’ the Shovelnose Ray (also known as a Guitarfish), Epaulette Sharks, Nurse Sharks and a variety of fish.
Before the session gets started, the owner Paul will go through some safety information and share with the kids why it’s important not to splash and to avoid touching the creatures eyes when patting them.
You will get to learn all about these aquatic creatures while experiencing the sharks and rays swim around you and right over your feet.
During your time in the interactive marine aquarium, you will get to touch, feel and pat the rays and sharks. The friendly and knowledgable hosts will share interesting facts about the true nature and characteristics of the animals.
Paul is passionate about educating people on these sea creatures and reducing the fear that humans have around them.
I was so surprised at how strong the ray was when his tail brushed my leg as he swam past. Once I learnt that he weighs 100kg, it made sense!
If you’re visiting during spring, you may be lucky enough to see some shark eggs in a separate tank!
Where Did these Sharks & Rays Come From?
All of the sea creatures found at the Shark and Ray Gardens have been rescued from trawler nets, giving them a second chance at life and saving them from ending up on a plate!
Nowadays, they live a happy and healthy life in the large pool, being well-fed and cared for. In addition to that, their lives also serve a great educational purpose.
Is it Safe to be in the Pool with the Sharks and Rays?
Yes, hopping into the pool with these sharks and rays swimming around you is 100% safe. All of the barbs have been removed for the safety of all visitors.
As Paul explains, us humans are not the desired food of the sharks and rays, therefore they have no wish to harm or eat us. Makes sense to me!
Do You Have to Get into the Water?
No, you don’t have to get into the water if you don’t want to. There is a ledge along the side of the pool where people can still be a part of the interactive show, without actually getting wet.
If you’d prefer to be a spectator, there are some picnic tables off to the side where you can sit with a coffee or cold drink and relax.
What Should I Wear?
For those who are hopping into the interactive pool, you will be under waterproof shade sails, so you’ll be out of the sun (no hat necessary).
The water will go up to about mid-thigh height on the average adult. I recommend shorts or a shorter dress or skirt. Be aware that the bottom of your shorts or dress may get a little wet – but the Queensland sun will dry you off quick enough once you get out!
If you plan on sitting on the edge of the pool, you’ll also be under the waterproof shade sail.
If you sit over the side at the picnic tables, bring a hat and sunnies, as they are out in the sun.
What to Wear for the Shark & Rays Experience:
- Shorts or skirt – allow for thigh-high water
- Hat & sunnies – for spectators
Can I Take My Camera?
Absolutely, in fact photo and video are encouraged at the Shark and Ray Gardens! Take as many snaps as you like and share your experience with your friends and family.
How Long Does the Experience Go For?
The interactive marine aquarium experience goes for around 45 minutes. If you opt to do the additional shark feeding experience (only offered in selected time slots), allow an additional 15 – 20 minutes.
Bookings are essential.
When to visit the Shark and Ray Gardens:
|SHARK & RAY GARDENS HOURS|
|Opening Days||Thursday – Sunday|
(every day on school holidays)
|Time slots||• 10.50 am|
• 11.50 am
• 12.50 pm
• 1.50 pm
- Nielsen’s Native Nursery: 8am – 5pm (7 days)
- Marine Mates: 9am – 5pm (7 days) – opens at 10am on Wednesdays
- Lorikeets Coffee Shop: 8am – 3pm (Mon – Fri) | 8am – 4pm (Sat & Sun)
How Much Do the Shark and Ray Gardens Cost?
|SHARK & RAY PRICES|
|• Child – $15|
• Adult – $25
• Family $75
|Full Price||• Child – $25|
• Adult – $35
• Family $95
|+ include Feeding Experience (selected time slots only)||$35.00 for 2 people|
+ $5.00 per additional person
To get your tickets at the discounted price:
- Make a purchase at Nielsen’s Native Nursery, Marine Mates or Lorikeets Cafe – get them to stamp your receipt and show the Shark and Ray Gardens staff.
- OR book your tickets through Groupon for 20-40% off.
How to book tickets:
- Send a message via their Facebook page
- Text or phone 0479 001 216
- Email email@example.com
Are there Amenities, Food & Drinks Available?
There is a portaloo within the Shark and Ray Gardens. If you prefer proper amenities, head back up to the entrance building to find a toilet.
Inside Nielsen’s Native Nursery is a cafe called Lorikeets Coffee Shop. If you make a purchase at the cafe, you’ll get $10 off each entry ticket for the Ray and Shark Gardens, which is a great bonus! At Lorikeets you’ll find hot and cold drinks, cakes and meals perfect for breakfast or lunch.
Where are the Shark and Ray Gardens Located?
The Shark and Ray Gardens are located inside Nielsen’s Native Nursery in Loganholme, with plenty of onsite parking.
Go in via the main entrance and head through the nursery down to the back right-hand corner. You’ll find a gate next to a big water tank, which is where Paul will meet you for your Shark and Ray Garden experience.
|SHARK & RAY GARDENS LOCATION|
|Address||49 – 51 Beenleigh Redland Bay Road, Loganholme QLD 4129|
▶️ VIDEO: Shark and Ray Gardens Experience
Check out the video below to see the Shark and Ray experience in action!
More Things to do While You’re Visiting
While you’re in town, exploring Brisbane, I highly recommend heading to Southbank with the kids. There are free beach-style swimming pools, markets, eateries and beautiful views across to the city.
Read on to see what else you’ll find at Nielsen’s Native Nursery.
Nielsen’s Native Nursery
The original business that started on this site was Nielsen’s Native Nursery. I grew up in the area and can still remember going to this nursery with Mum and Dad as a child.
These days the nursery is still going stronger than ever. If you’re into gardening or just feel like a nice nature walk, go for a wander through the nursery and browse the Australian natives on offer.
Adjacent to the Shark and Ray Gardens is the Marine Mates aquarium store. If the kids are keen to see more fish, they will enjoy walking through the many tanks and seeing what they can spot.
Marine Mates specialise in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, with a range of fish, corals, rocks, plants, tanks and accessories.
Lorikeets Coffee Shop
Finish off your Shark and Ray experience with some cake and coffee at Lorikeets Cafe. Or, check out the delicious menu for a tasty lunch amongst the native backdrop, listening to the trickling water features. You might even spot one of the friendly Frilled-neck Lizards during your visit.
Remember, if you purchase something from the cafe on the way in (even just a bottle of water or can of drink) you’ll get the discount entry tickets for the Shark and Ray Gardens.
So, what do you think? Would you be keen to visit the Shark and Ray Gardens? Let us know in the comments below.