Thankfully, when it comes to kids’ activities Brisbane has some superb options. I’ve discovered this over the past year or so, as my partner has been meeting up with her art therapy girls in the city. Meanwhile Olin – my five-year-old – and I have been left to our own devices. Where to go? What to do? Let me help! Mummas and pappas, here’s some tried and tested places in Brisbane that both you and your kids will love.
1. Queensland Museum and Science Centre
A good place to start your sightseeing in Brisbane is South Bank, which you could spend a few days in it’s got that much family fun. Situated just behind the Brisbane River foreshore, the Queensland Museum and Science Centre has lots of learning and interactive activities to stimulate the kids. If you’re like me – a curious, big kid – then chances are you’ll love it too.
There’s mix-and-match tiles with animal parts, animal displays and anthropology and natural history displayed in a fun, interactive way. Downstairs are activities which inform children about energy and the environment, while there’s videos, cardboard castles and much more. Activities are always changing at the Queensland Museum and Science Centre. Fortunately there’s also a decent café attached that serves coffee, cakes and lunch.
2. The State Library of Queensland
Virtually next door to the museum is the State Library of Queensland, which has a good kid’s section that’s worth checking out. There’s an area in the corner of the library aptly named The Corner, where kids can play with toys, read books and get creative with arts and crafts. There’s also makeshift cubbies on the floor with cardboard castles, videos, building blocks and there’s even a reading and drawing area out the front.
Unlike the museum, which is good for all ages, The Corner is for children under eight. However there’s always something new on at the State Library of Queensland. Check out their website for the latest.
3. Riverside Green Playground
Conveniently located around the corner from the library and museum, Riverside Green Playground is a fairly new addition to the shores of South Bank, one that reminds me how progressive Brisbane is. It’s a fantastic playground and as soon as my five-year-old saw it he became super excited. There’s something for all ages here – fun activities which challenge kid’s coordination and stimulate to no end.
The Skywalk play area (located off the ground) is recommended for kids five and up while many other activities here are for kids aged two, three and up.
4. Boat Pool
Of all the kids’ activities Brisbane offers, swimming might just be the best. Located next door to Riverside Green Playground, the Boat Pool is a ginormous outdoor pool that provides hours of splashing fun. It’s free to the public and is patrolled by lifeguards year round. Lifeguard hours do change throughout the year. Contact South Bank Visitor Centre to get the latest.
5. Streets Beach
If you thought South Bank couldn’t get any better, next door to the Boat Pool is Streets Beach, another public pool that’s the size of five Olympic swimming pools. However unlike Boat Pool, Streets Beach actually has sand. Yes, it’s a beach, the only one to be found smack in the middle of an Australian city.
The good news for mums and dads is there’s plenty of cafes and snack bars nearby. So you can relax with a drink or a bite to eat while your little one has a ball (which I’ve often done).
6. The Wheel of Brisbane
A short walk from Streets Beach lies The Wheel of Brisbane, a mammoth observation wheel almost 60 metres tall that offers 360 degree views over Brisbane’s skyline. Each gondola seats up to six adults and two children. The price for two adults and two children (for a 25 minute ride) is $55.00. You can also enjoy drinks and food for a bit extra. Check out The Wheel of Brisbane’s website for more details.
7. New Farm Park
For more kids’ activities Brisbane has a great little suburb called New Farm. Just 10 minutes from South Bank by car, New Farm is a kid’s dream, mostly because of its capacious park – New Farm Park. It’s a kid’s playground of epic proportions, with a long bridge walk that meanders beneath large, drooping fig trees, a huge wooden treehouse, slides, climbing frames, merry-go-rounds and activities that will throw your kid’s imagination into a delightful spin.
Importantly, there’s a coffee shop on site, BBQ facilities and the ground is covered in mulch to mitigate the impact of any spectacular tumbles. The Brisbane Powerhouse arts centre is located handily nearby, as are numerous bikes available for hire. CityCycle bike hire is free for the first 30 minutes and $2.00 for the whole day. There’s also a long, riverside footpath nearby which proves perfect for a Sunday ride.
8. Wynnum Wading Pool and Waterpark
The seaside town of Wynnum is a pleasant spot to bring the kids, as there’s numerous playgrounds and parks on offer. However, it’s the Wynnum Wading Pool and Waterpark which steals the show, with its stadium-sized pool which fills with seawater at high tide. Of course there’s a curly slippery dip (below) as well as BBQ facilities. The waterpark next door has a number of spongy blue whales that shoot water at you.
Just 35 minutes drive from the centre on the city’s north side lies the suburb of Redcliffe, which – as I’ve discovered – offers hours of entertainment for the littluns.
9. Redcliffe Markets
A colourful Brisbane market that operates every Sunday from 8am until 2pm, Redcliffe Markets is great for the whole family. There’s a variety of clothing, art, toy, book and food stores on offer, live entertainment and when I was there last Sunday, a jumping castle and giant blow-up slide. There’s also some novel local goods here, like this painstakingly handcrafted cake soap.
10. Seaside playgrounds
Redcliffe is another Brisbane suburb brimming with playground options. Just next to Redcliffe Markets there’s one worth checking out. When you’re done, park down at the start of Margate Parade and walk along the esplanade, where you’ll find some of the finest seaside kids’ activities Brisbane has on offer. This is also a great spot to ride a scooter/bike, watch your kids play and stop and think that life here is pretty darn good.
11. Settlement Cove Lagoon
Keep walking north along the esplanade and you’ll reach Settlement Cove Lagoon, another public swimming arena that’s both ample and inviting. Here you’ll find translucent water, a palm tree-covered island, deckchairs and toilet and BBQ facilities. The lagoon, which sits just metres back from the ocean, is free to the public and comes manned with a lifeguard. While the place is open 24-7, lifeguards knock off at 4pm, after which supervision is entirely in your hands.
What about you? Have you visited any of these spots? Can you recommend any kids’ activities Brisbane has that I’ve missed?