26 free things to do with kids in Brisbane
Having a kid is expensive enough. There’s no need to break the bank just to keep them entertained. Explore this list of free things to do with the kids around Brisbane. As a plus, we promise you’ll have a great time too.
Down on the southside in the City of Logan you’ll find the Daisy Hill Koala Centre. You can’t cuddle the koalas here, unfortunately, but you can get pretty close and see how they sleep, learn from the information centre and delight the kids with an escape from the suburbs.
Brisbane’s environment centre, located in the Karawatha Forest Park, the Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre is the place to teach the kids about the environment. Engage them in nature and family walks through the park so they can learn to understand the impact their choices will make – now, and for the rest of their lives.
QAGOMA teaches the art of self expression
The Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art are as open to kids as they are to adults but they’ve got special exhibitions for kids too. Until February 2018, The Obliteration Room invites the whole family to explore a deconstructed space – and add to it with colourful stickers. From December 2017 to April 2018, you’ll also find Me, Myselfie and I, which explores the role of selfies in self-expression.
Make your way with the fam to level 3 of City Hall to find the Museum of Brisbane. The clock tower tours are free daily and are the perfect way to get an eagle eye view of the city. Also check out the free Museum of Brisbane Kids program complementary to its exhibitions. Sunshine Sundays runs every Sunday until November 12.
Explore natural history throughout Queensland – and the world – at the Queensland Museum. The Discovery Centre on Level 3 is free and open to the public. You’ll find diverse natural and historical collections, the hands-on Activity Zone and live insect and reptile displays in uniquely Queensland habitats.
Take a dip in this South Bank icon, completely for free. This inner city beach works just like a real one – bring a towel, sunscreen and the energy to keep going all day. The kids’ll also love the Aquativity Centre, just to the right of Street’s Beach, where fountains, water features and decorations try to teach about river systems and the weather. Or they can just play in the water and not worry about it.
The Greeters are a free public program made of volunteers so enthusiastic about Brisbane they just can’t wait to show you around. Armed with the answers to every question an inquisitive little mind could ask, they’ll introduce you to the parts of Brisbane you never knew you hadn’t explored.
Forget massive concerts. Kick back with City Sounds in Queen Street Mall or on the green at South Bank for a free way to entertain the kids for an afternoon for free, courtesy of passionate, talented local artists.
Explore the cosmos at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium over at Mt Coot-tha. Learn about the vastness of space and teach the kids how to aim for the stars. At worst, they’ll fall in love with the pretty pictures. Science can be cool, as long as they care.
Every Thursday, from 9am to 1pm, the Little Days Out program hits the South Bank Parklands to give the kids – and you – some time to just chill and discover something new. Sport and music, arts and crafts, storytelling, science – you name it. Free, every week, with no bookings required. Just arrive!
This giant garden brings sustainable farming practices to the heart of the city. The Garden is open to visit every day but the dedicated garden volunteers who keep it running are on site 7am to 11.30am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you stop by between 7am and 2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, you can collect free produce from the harvest cart.
Spend a morning, an afternoon or a whole day out on the trail with the kids for just the cost of petrol. Around Brisbane there are a variety of tracks, hills and mountains of all levels to traverse, trek, climb and explore.
The Cube is one of the world’s largest digital interactive learning and display spaces. The soaring touch screens provide scientific and educational games and activities that don’t feel dry. The Cube is designed to inspire and engage the next generation of thinkers, at the low, low price of free admission. Also consider checking out the Summer Holiday Program.
Stretching 350m out into Bramble Bay, the iconic Shorncliffe Pier is Brisbane's largest timber pier and one of the longest recreational piers in Australia. Steeped in local history, a restoration and rebuild of the original pier was completed in 2016. The pier is perfect for picnics, photography, fishing or even just a stroll. Or bundle your four-legged friend in the car with you and spend the day as a full, furry family.
Take the road less travelled and explore the hidden pockets of nature and history surrounding Brisbane on one of the many scenic drives in the region. Whether you’d like to stay near the city centre or travel further afield, we've made the choice easy.
Settle in to one of the city’s parks with snacks, a picnic blanket and the people you love most (hopefully the kids). You’ll find Roma Street Parkland, the City Botanic Gardens, the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, the River Quay Green, New Farm Park and even more through the link above.
One of the most iconic parts of the South Bank precinct, the Arbour is colourful, beautiful, long and totally picturesque. Why not take the kids for a long meander down the length of the Arbour before a swim in Streets Beach, a picnic at River Quay Green or an adventure to the Cultural Centre.
Give the kids to chance to play their way through an interactive environment of music, storytelling, games and activities. The Corner is open daily from 10am to 3pm for free and, if you arrive in the morning until midday, you can join in on a play date with one of the Library’s arts workers.
The northside version of Streets Beach, this water wonderland in Redcliffe is perfect for relaxing by the bay with a children's playground, wading pools and beachside barbecues. For the big kids (or yourself) there's a large pool that's open all year round, with lifeguard services during the summer months. The lagoon is surrounded by grassy picnic areas, playgrounds and bikeways for the true family adventure.
Out east, you’ll find Robelle Domain. In Springfield, this spectacular parkland is the central community hub and features the Orion Lagoon, treetop walks, picnic areas, exhibition gardens, art work and plenty of green space for everyone to play.
The Riverside Green Playground is a sprawling play area by Streets Beach. Picnic tables and barbecues are scattered around the play equipment and, even if you don’t get a table, there’s still grass to get comfy on. You can even come down after dark as the area’s kept lit once the sun has gone down.
One of Brisbane’s most visually iconic buildings, at the top of the Queen Street Mall, the Brisbane Square Library regularly hosts kids’ events and has a kids’ section featuring interactive games and storytelling activities. Keep an eye on their events calendar for what’s on for kids.
For the kids that love reading, Where the Wild Things Are in West End is the perfect stop. This child-focused bookstore runs book launches and story-time events, on top of stocking up on the newest children’s bestsellers. You’ll find this bookstore a short walk from South Bank, so why not make a day of it?
Find Brisbane’s best angle from the top of Mt Coot-tha. This Brisbane classic is the perfect place to catch a sunrise (if you can get the kids up) or a sunset (if you can get them to calm down). The drive up and down the mountain is gorgeous and the views from the top are even better.
Get on two wheels and explore the city under your own (and the kids on their own) power. Brisbane is filled with bike paths around the city and around the suburbs. No matter where you are, there’ll be something close enough to have no excuse.
If you’re super committed to a free adventure, why not discover Brisbane aboard the CityHopper. This ferry service is basically a smaller version of a CityCat with a smaller area of operation. If you’re travelling between the CBD and New Farm, you’ll be able to get a CityHopper for free every 30 minutes, seven days a week.