Over three massive levels, the Queensland Museum offers an insight into the states science, culture & natural features. It is a wonderland of knowledge, fun, activity and intrigue that leaves little minds clambering for more and bodies happily exhausted from racing between all the exciting things on show. Where else can kids climb within mangrove roots, walk beneath dinosaurs, marvel at a mini hobbit house, experiment with gravity or get up close and personal with a range of Australian animals including spiders, sharks and snakes?
What you will discover at the Queensland Museum
The Queensland Museum is a majestic building that resides proudly on the river in South Brisbane. Covering an enormous area and rising four floors in height, the museum is the state’s foremost collecting institution, celebrating the stories of Queensland from prehistoric giants to modern achievements and scientific discovery. As the custodian of the state’s natural and cultural heritage, there are over a million items and specimens in collections to be discovered here.
The Queensland Museum has a number of free permanent exhibitions that families can enjoy all year round, and numerous feature exhibitions that are usually touring the country and world. These exhibitions are usually at an additional cost, with bookings needed to view them. Below is a breakdown of the main exhibitions you can explore at the Queensland Museum.
Queensland Museum | Level 0 – The Dinosaur Garden
Starting on level 0 you will find the Dinosaur Garden. This is an open space for young kids that is towered over by two huge dinosaurs and scattered with informative and interactive activities for the children to play with. There is an outdoor theatre surrounded by bench seating where kids can dance along with the singing dinosaurs or you can relax with a packed lunch. Food is actually not allowed anywhere in the Museum, but this place is the exception so it might be a nice spot to visit when you are ready for lunch as the kids can either eat as they wander around or sit down on some of the seating provided.
Fun Fact: The life-size replicas of Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops found here were shipped to the Queensland Museum from New York in the late 1970s. Since then they have been much-loved ‘guardians’ of the museum.
Queensland Museum | Level 1 – Sciencentre and ANZAC Legacy Gallery
The Sciencentre is one of the most popular permanent exhibitions at the Queensland Museum due to its hands-on and interactive nature. In 2018, SparkLab underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation, the first since its initial opening in 2004. The engaging and educational facility showcases hands-on learning to spark creativity, curiosity and confidence in discovering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in fun and innovative ways.
Including 40 exhibits across three zones, visitors to the popular centre can be scientists for a day as they learn about, experiment with and test out numerous scientific theories and facts. It also includes science shows, a science bar featuring hands-on experiments and demonstrations and a maker space which gives visitors the opportunity to design, make, test and evaluate their creations in response to a ‘big question’ or challenge.
Note: there is a fee to enter the SparkLab Sciencentre exhibit.
Hot Tip: All areas of SparkLab flow from one to the other, allowing children to move freely between exhibits. Children should be supervised closely at all times as some activities require more supervision and assistance than others, depending on the height, age and ability of the participant.
The Anzac Legacy Gallery tells the fascinating story of the First World War in Queensland; the people and the things they held close – objects of war and warfare and personal items belonging to those on the front line.
Queensland Museum | Level 1.5 – Minerals
On the mezzanine level in between level 1 and 2, you will find the Minerals: Inspirational Treasures from the Earth exhibit. Another permanent and free space to roam in, this is the perfect place for little rock enthusiasts for future geologists to explore. Home to more than 230 rare minerals and gems from around Australia and the world.
From the largest crystal, a large mass of Gypsum from Mt Elliot, weighing in at 160 kilograms and measuring 1.5 meters long to the smallest specimen, a tiny 5mm cube-shaped single crystal of diamond — you’ll be in awe of these incredible natural creations.
Celebrate the beauty and diversity of the mineral world and explore a complete rainbow of colours including, purple amethyst and fluorite, blue azurite, green malachite, yellow sulphur, orange crocoite and red cinnabar just to name a few.
Queensland Museum | Level 2 – Main Foyer, Dinosaurs Unearthed
Level two is the main entrance floor and home to the Museum Shop and ticket office for featured exhibitions. Surprise the kids and wander through the Museum Shop to the tunnel walkway outside its entrance. Here you will find giant life-size whales suspended from the roof and the effect of seeing these overhead while speakers sing out their whale sounds is quite magical (and also a little eerie).
Once again there will be plenty of excited exclamations and pointing as you explore the exhibitions on level two. My children run straight to the glass-encased shark and giant squid that can be found here.
Level 2 is also home to the newly opened Dinosaurs Unearthed: Explore Prehistoric Queensland exhibit, which was once Lost Creatures. As you enter the gallery you will be greeted by the familiar skeleton of Queensland’s very own Muttaburrasaurus, which towers over the exhibits.
Working your way round the room, inquisitive visitors can learn all about the dinosaurs and megafauna that roamed our country many years ago. Featuring fossils, meteorites, life-sized reconstructions, digital projections, animations, interactive touch screens and more, this permanent exhibition is a destination sure to please all dinosaur fanatics. And don’t forget to look up, there is plenty to see all around you!
This floor usually houses a couple of free temporary exhibitions that change throughout the year. Currently, the museum has an exhibition on our Coral Reef. Keep an eye on the website for what is currently featured – or else simply be surprised when you arrive.
Queensland Museum | Level 3 – Feature Exhibitions
Level 3 at the Queensland Museum is home to all the feature, ticketed exhibitions that come to the museum temporarily. Depending on the touring dates in Brisbane and the size, exhibits can be there for only a short period or for many months at a time.
At the time of writing this, Dinosaurs of Patagonia was the feature exhibit, running the full length of this level. You can read our full review of it here. The best way to check out what is currently showing on this level is to check out the Queensland Museums website.
Queensland Museum | Level 4 – Wild State and Discovery Centre
Personally, our team at Brisbane Kids absolutely love, love, LOVE this floor at the Queensland Museum. Home to two of the best permanent and FREE exhibitions, this is where you go to see all of our state’s amazing animals, birds and wildlife up close and personal.
The Wild State Gallery
Wild State is a dedicated celebration of Queensland’s diverse habitats and beauty. Taking six years to complete, the gallery’s impressive display of taxidermy on over 300 animals and specimens within the five broad habitats found in Queensland is a true testament to the museum’s dedication to honouring our amazing state and all that thrives within it. You can read our full review of the Wild State Gallery here.
The Discovery Centre
The fun continues up on level three as you exit the lift and find yourself instantly immersed in the Discovery Centre. This is a showcase of the museum’s collection of thousands of objects, animals and fossils and with large spiders, beautiful butterflies, and slippery snakes on display and ferocious sharks coming at you from the ceiling it is almost a case of not knowing where to look next. You can read our full review of the Discovery Centre here.
Why kids love the Queensland Museum!
The Queensland Museum is a full day out for kids and parents alike, with interesting exhibits that will excite the whole family. It seems they all have something child friendly to offer though you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find it’s the general discovery of new facts and knowledge that creates the most excitement with the children. Kids have a thirst for knowledge and are forever curious about the world around them and learning new things. The museum will provide this for them in abundance but with a lot of colour, fun and activity added in as well.
The Queensland Museum – Information and Facts
Address: Corner of Grey and Melbourne Streets, South Bank, South Brisbane
Phone: 07) 3153 3000
Website: Queensland Museum
Opening Hours: 9:30am — 5pm daily. Open from 1:30pm Anzac Day, Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day & Boxing Day
Parking: As it is situated in Southbank it is an easy trip in via public transport, though if you would prefer to drive then you can park underneath at the Cultural Centre for $15 for the day.
Cost: While there is no cost to enter the actual museum, their individual featuring exhibitions may have an entry fee.
Once you finish at the Museum you have a wonderful choice of visiting Aquativity at South Bank, GOMA, the Corner at the State Library or the Queensland Art Gallery, which are all within walking distance and accessible by pram or wheelchair.