Exploring Brisbane seems like a pipedream, but it doesn’t have to be. Pack your own lunch and some cool beverages, grab a sturdy backpack, a hat and suncream and comfortable shoes, and let us take care of the rest! Whether it is raining outside or it is a beautiful spring day, there are always things to do for free around Brisbane with toddlers and kids. We have only mentioned our favourites here and we wanted to make sure you had the complete lisseveralthe bottom, we have listed a number of other free ideas.
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Visit one of Brisbane’s awesome playgrounds!
Pack a hat, suncream and some snacks, and make a day of it with your Brisbane Kids. Our Brisbane playground reviews will tell you if there are toilets and BBQ facilities, and if the playgrounds are fenced. Find one that is near a beach for some additional waterplay once all the fun of playground play is over.
Some of the best playgrounds in Brisbane include:
- Frew Park at Milton
- Rocks Riverside Park at Seventeen Mile Rocks
- Pine Rivers Park at Strathpine
- Lower Moora Park at Shorncliffe
- Capalaba Regional Park at Capalaba
- New Farm Park
- Calamvale District Park
- Riverheart Parklands
- South Bank Playground
- Kidspace Chermside
Head to the great outdoors
Exploring the outdoors is one of our favourite free things to do in Brisbane, and you will find lots of places to go via our Explore Brisbane page. There are running creeks in Brisbane you can head to which are always a bit of fun for kids, but make sure you head to them after it has rained to ensure the creek got a good clean out with some fresh water. You can also use your exploring as an opportunity to do some geocaching (type it into the search function on our website).
Visit the local library
While you are there, borrow a heap of books from your local library. All libraries during free kids’ activities, particularly during school holidays. Most have a kids’ corner and computers for public use. Some of the Brisbane libraries like Brisbane Square Library offer free wi-fi, which makes it easier to convince the teenager to tag along. Check out our library page for your nearest library.
You will notice that libraries have changed dramatically in 10 years and are more a destination for quiet fun than they once were simply a place for borrowing.
Visit the QLD Museum
The Queensland Museum, located at South Bank, is free and there are literally hours of fun to be had with many levels to explore. The Queensland Museum is an interactive museum with the vast majority of hands-onions being child-friendly and hands on. The second level has a specimen section where kids can delight in looking at all the different insects and animals that make up the Australian natural world.
There is an outside play area where parents can enjoy morning tea and let the kids run around, and a cafe on site for lunches. Their Wild State exhibition is a relatively new permanent exhibition which shows exactly why Queensland is considered to be so biodiverse and is full of visually appealing displays and clever all-dining elements. It is $16 for all day parking underneath the museum, but it is also located right near public transport drop points.
Enjoy The Gallery of Modern Art
GOMA has a kids’ exhibition going at any stage of the year, and offers a great chance to have new and varied conversations with your Brisbane Kids. The activities usually present the opportunity for hands-on exploration or artist and ic expression. It is air-conditioned, pram friendly, and the kids’ exhibitions are generally free entry. Find out what they have on now by heading to our Brisbane calendar.
Go to the State Library
The Queensland State Library is wedged between the Gallery of Modern Art and the Queensland Museum. They have a wonderful kids’ corner and regular FREE activities for toddlers and kids. If you are in Brisbane on school holidays then you might want to check out their holiday section as they often host different activities during the school holidays than they do during term time.
Visit the Daily Hill koalas
Head to the Daisy Hill Koala Centre, pack a picnic and enjoy a morning or afternoon celebrating one of Australia’s most iconic animals. If you are on the Northside of Brisbane then you can check out Walkabout Creek at The Gap for a similar experience (sans koalas) but still with a range of other native Australian animals.
Enjoy Brisbane beaches
Head to Redcliffe/Sandgate/Scarborough and have a picnic on the beach, play some fun beach games, or simply build a sandcastle. Or make the trek slightly further to the beaches on the Sunshine or Gold Coasts. It doesn’t need to cost money- it shouldn’t cost anything! South East Queensland is blessed with the most gorgeous climate, and beach fun is what we are known for. Just remember to swim between the flags and be sun safe, which means regular applications of suncream and wearing clothing to protect yourself from the sun.
Some of the most popular family-friendly beaches near Brisbane include:
- Kings Beach (big waves, playground nearby, super popular)
- Currimundi (lake and beach, popular but perfect for little ones)
- Tallebudgera Creek (very family-friendly, solid patrol with a lake and surf beach)
- Burleigh Heads (surf beach with a nice mountain walk nearby)
- Bribie Island (surf and calm with 4wd beaches)
- Nudgee Beach (popular with dog owners)
Enjoy a swim at South Bank Lagoon
Head to Southbank for a free swim in the lagoon, pack a picnic and make a morning or afternoon of it. In addition to the Lagoon, South Bank also has an amazing playground that kids will enjoy for hours. Combine this with the rainforest surrounds, the river nearby and the New Zealand Icecream shop (ok, not entirely free), and you will have an outing they will be asking you to repeat time and time again.
Some other free swimming places in Brisbane include:
- Redcliffe Lagoon
- Orion Lagoon
- Wynnum Whale Park
- Robelle Domain
- Rocks Riverside Park
Check out the city and the stars
Take a drive up to Mt Coot-tha Lookout- Your Brisbane Kids will love to see how high up they are! While not technically free, an ice cream stop at Mcdonald’s on the way for a soft serve cone could also be a way to make this extra special. Mount Coot-tha often plays host to the Brisbane astronomical society, and if you head to our calendar you will find that every 4th Saturday night of the month you will spot astronomers on Mt Coot-tha doing their thing. It is weather dependent, but you can take your own telescope to get their help setting up or simply take a look through theirs!
CityHopper, City Cat, Bus or Train
The CityHopper is by far the cheapest option for a brilliantly fun day out with your toddler. A free hop on and off ferry service that stops off at key points along the Brisbane River, you can park at a nearby jetty and then spend the day visiting the local riverside attractions. Stop off at Southbank for a swim in the lagoon, have a lunchtime picnic at the Botanical Gardens, or walk beneath the Kangaroo Point Cliffs.
Kids under 4 ride free on all buses, trains or City Cat services, so you may want to consider taking public transport the next time you are thinking of heading out. Toddlers love the excitement, noise and business of trains and buses and (as long as you are happy to pay for your fare) it can be a great way for them to explore their city routes.
Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre
Karawatha Forest Park, on the southern edge of Brisbane, is an important wildlife refuge for a large number of threatened and endangered species. The 1000 hectares of the bush is one of the city’s largest areas of remnant bushland and is home to the Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre, native plant nursery, walking trails, picnic facilities and a wonderful natural play area.
Toddlers will love the nature play playground as well as the fun interactive displays and craft opportunities in the Discovery Centre. Pack a picnic to enjoy, go for a bushwalk or book into one of their morning Bush Kindy sessions. Offering a variety of nature-based sensory play activities for children aged 0-5 years, this program is very popular, so be sure to book your spot here.
Museum of Brisbane
The Museum of Brisbane has a wide range of free tours and activities that kids and toddlers will love. Although exhibits change, there is often an exhibit that is designed for children, including hands-on activities. Storytime and art workshops for children run throughout the year, especially during school holidays. To find out about their latest offerings that are toddler-friendly just give them a call or check out their Museum of Brisbane Kids page.
Roma Street Parklands
Roma Street Parkland is situated in the heart of the city and is an amazing place to visit with your Brisbane Kids. Spread generously over 16 hectares, its lush green lawns, flower gardens, forests, lakes and playgrounds are only some of its features and you can easily spend a full day of family fun and exploration there discovering all it has to offer.
Perfect for kids of all ages, you can explore the parkland easily on foot at your leisure or via one of the many free guided walks. Most popular with kids though (and adults too!) is the sweet, colourful, trackless train that you can board. There is also a children’s garden and playground which is a fun free activity for toddlers and kids in Brisbane.
Take them on a bush walk
With a landscape full of natural bushland and forest trails, living in Brisbane makes getting out and about with your child to explore the natural environment they inhabit super easy. Choose from one of the many surrounding parklands, check out our family-friendly walks around Brisbane and take your little one on an adventure they will love.
Kids, especially toddlers love to take their time, getting easily distracted by new and wondrous things so the smallest of bush areas or walks are all you will need to fill hours of their time.
Walk to King Island
A definite bucket list item to experience with your Brisbane kids is the unique sea walk between King Island and Wellington Point at low tide.
Although the island is only small, this experience is all about the journey itself. The 2km round trip is suitable for all ages and is much loved by kids in particular as the retreating waters leave behind a pathway that is usually littered with an array of different marine life such as curling shells and small mud crabs just waiting to be discovered.
Do a nighttime trip to the fairy gardens
Located in Brisbane City Botanic Gardens at QUT Gardens Point, the two large fig trees completely adorned in fairy lights are well worth a nighttime visit. Enchanting to adults, the twinkling canopies that cover a maze of tree roots, natural cubbies and branch swings are positively magical to toddlers and small children. Let their imagination run wild as they weave, climb and explore the many hidden and secret pockets of the trees.
Do the Children’s Trail at Mt Coot-tha
While there are many areas of the Botanic Gardens at Mount Coot-tha that are fun for kids, the hide-and-seek children’s trail is perfect for them. Set in the leafy exotic rainforest of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, the Children’s Trail leads kids on an exciting and engaging adventure of discovery to uncover the secrets hidden in the forest! This is a fantastic free activity for kids, that can give them the chance to learn more about their natural environment in a fun and interactive way.
Other free ideas not mentioned here
- Bike riding on the many bike tracks that run through Brisbane
- Check out the wetlands at Boondall
- Visit one of Brisbane’s many markets and enjoy the free entertainment
- Head to City Hall, Newstead House, or Government House for some local history
- Swim at Redcliffe Lagoon
All these ideas and more are on the Brisbane Kids website- if you liked this post why don’t you share it on Facebook?