In 1990, the park was opened by Bill and Judy Austin to the public.
Bill Austin was manager of Mammoth Onyx Cave (which was later renamed Kentucky Caverns), which his grandfather had purchased in the 1920s. Peacocks and other small animals had been added to the park for visitors to enjoy on the surface in-between cave tours. A herd of American bison was added in the 1970s, followed by the Australian animals in 1990, and the park renamed to "Kentucky Down Under".
The zoo provides school groups with partly guided tours through the zoo, chaperons and teacher are responsible for groups however, Kentucky Down Under Zoo staff will be in all areas to provide answers to questions and educate about animals on display. The zoo includes a tour of Mammoth-cave guides will discuss the geology and importance of the cave system, The wool-shed program where guests are invited to observe the trained herding dogs at work as well as talking with staff about sheep wool production. Land of the Lorikeets is a walk in aviary where guests are provided a cup of nectar and the Loorikeets drink from participants cups. Younger age students are invited to participate in gem mining where each student can dig through sand and water to fill a small bag with genuine gem stones. The zoo is an open walk landscape where guests can come and go at any exhibit as the choose. There are picnic tables available for lunch breaks and clean bathrooms on site. Some animals such as the Draft horses and Kangaroos are available for close encounters with a guide. The captive bred kangaroos are very friendly and will let guests get close enough to pet or feed a treat (treats provided from guide and are part of normal diet). The horses also pull a carriage that guests can ride though the park as a guide gives fun facts about exhibits on the carriage trail.