It will include a play barn, farm shop and a community barn.
Councillors gave officers the power to give the go-ahead after asking for a ‘small animal’ barn to be moved from protected open land.
The plan was put forward by Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust to redevelop its farm site off Preston Down Road near Paignton.
The trust’s scheme is to create indoor and outdoor play areas for children and extend the farm shop and first-floor cafe balcony.
It will move two livestock barns and a rangers’ barn and create new barns to house the extended farm shop, indoor play barn and a community barn.
The plans include an atrium linking the shop to the new extension, which will increase the current retail space by eight times.
The trust aims to create a major all-year family visitor attraction for south Devon.
The play zone for children aged two to 12 will be in one of the new barns and there will be an outdoor play area with countryside-themed activities.
A smaller barn is designed to allow handling and feeding of animals.
Outdoor paddocks will feature rare breed cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry.
Environmental improvements will include enhanced habitats for wildlife and a pond with an observation hide.
There will be more parking spaces and improved visitor toilets, and the community barn will be available to rent by groups for classes and activities.
Councillors were told the new centre would provide 17 full-time and 34 part-time jobs.
Leon Butler, chair of the Torquay Neighbourhood Plan Forum, said it was not against the development, but objected to siting the ‘small animal’ barn on land protected as a Local Green Space.
Councillors welcomed the scheme as a major new visitor attraction for the area providing more jobs.
Torbay Council’s planning committee voted to delegate conditional approval to officers, and to ask the trust if it could relocate the animal barn away from the designated land.