15 Free Family Activities in Brisbane

Funder Park playground

Brisbane, the capital of the Australian state of Queensland, is a bustling and vibrant city that offers a wide range of free family activities. While there are plenty of paid attractions to visit in and around the city, there are also numerous free activities that families can enjoy together.

Without spending a load of cash, you can entertain the children at a variety of:

  • indoor activities (if the weather is too hot or too wet)
  • outdoor activities (for walks, fresh air, and water play)

Brisbane city has plenty of:

  • fun activities for toddlers (playgrounds, water fountain parks)
  • children’s activities (adventure playgrounds, museum fun, swim parks)
  • learning centres for all ages

All these things to do for free in Brisbane ensure the kids have plenty to do with their mum and dad, caregivers, and grandparents.

Because these activities require little planning, are easy to access and provide stimulation and enjoyment for the whole family.

And with any of these activities, you can bring your favourite snacks, pack a nutritious picnic, or grab a treat at one of the local cafés.

So, if you’re wondering where can I take my kids for free in Brisbane?

We have plenty of great suggestions for you.

Free Family Activities in Brisbane

Brisbane is a sunny, green city with access to many river walks, bush trails, and local beaches within an hour’s drive.

And with some of the best playgrounds and water activities for children of all ages, getting out and about around Brisbane is fun.

Which is why it’s a good idea to have a plan of indoor activities for the very hot days and the rainy season. And a list of outdoor activities for the kids to release some energy especially when it’s combined    with knowledge learning.

So, let’s get started.

Plan your Indoor Activities around Brisbane

When you need some inspiration for indoor activities Brisbane has many family friendly places to choose from.

Below are some of the best learning experiences for all the family. So be prepared for lots of questions from the kid.

1. Go Exploring at The Queensland Museum

One of the best resources for children in Brisbane is the displays at the Queensland Museum. With plenty of exhibitions on several levels, the hours will slip by, as the family activities keep you captivated.

But before you go, download their manual “Enhancing Young Children’s Museum Experience” so you have a plan of what to see and do.

Where to Eat: Café Muse on Level 2 via the Whale Mall has a family Friendly menu.

Opening Hours: 9.30am to 5pm

Getting there: Corner of Grey and Melbourne Streets, South Bank

2. Find the Planets at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium

Set with the beautiful Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, is the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, a 12.5 diameter Cosmic Skydome.

It’s free to enter for you and the children to take a tour of the Brisbane night sky and wander through the display zone. Some events suitable for children do have an entry fee.

Where to Eat: You can enjoy a picnic within the Botanical Gardens or find a table at the Botanical Gardens café.

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9am-4pm (and Mondays for Queensland School Holidays)

Getting there: Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong – Bus route 471 or 475 – Free parking onsite.

Sir Thomas Planetarium Display Zone Neil Armstrong's Replica Space Suit
Sir Thomas Planetarium

3. See the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)

Art brings out the imagination for children and excites their creativity.

When you organise a family visit to the Gallery of Modern Art, the family can view the diverse range of art.

And for the little ones, make sure to book Toddler Tuesdays to continue their learning experience.

Where to Eat: Cafes and eateries nearby

Opening Hours: 10am-5pm (from 12noon ANZAC Day, Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day)

Getting there: Stanley Place, South Brisbane 4101 – Bus route 86 or parking available at the Cultural Precinct Parking for $17 a day.

4. Stop at the Museum of Brisbane

Learning about the city you live in, is made easy at the Museum of Brisbane. Here, programmes of art and history are designed for kids.

From interactive displays, story time, school holiday activities, children are encouraged to understand the local art, history, and culture of Brisbane.

Opening Hours: 10am-5pm (excluding Public Holidays)

Getting there: Level 3, Brisbane City Hall, 64 Adelaide Street, Brisbane 4000

  • Parking is available at King George Square car park.
  • Catch a bus with stops along Adelaide St or Ann Street
  • Take the train to Central or Roma Street stations, then a 10-minute walk

5. Find your Local Library

Your local library is a great source for finding books to encourage imagination and learning. But they are also offer many activities for children.

You can enjoy a variety of sessions like:

  • Babies, books, and rhymes
  • Children’s story time
  • Make and Create
  • School holidays
  • Technology for kids
  • Toddler time

Here children can interact within their own age groups. It’s also perfect way to meet and greet other mums, dads or caregivers new to an area.

And when the children want to spend more time on outdoor activities, Brisbane has some great outdoor playgrounds and swimming parks.

Make a List of Free Outdoor Activities Brisbane

The Brisbane climate makes swimming and outdoor play a very popular activity for families.

During the warmer months, the whole family can cool off in one of Brisbane’s many free-swimming parks. And then enjoy some playtime at playgrounds close by.

6.  Swim at Streets Beach on South Bank

One of most popular swimming location in Brisbane, is Streets Beach located at South Bank with free entry for all the family.

The swimming lagoon with plenty of shallow wading areas for young children and deeper water for older children to enjoy.

The little ones can make sandcastles on the artificial beach, while the older children can enjoy the nearby playground.

It’s suitable for the whole family.

Where to Eat: You can enjoy a picnic on the surrounding grassed parklands under the shade of trees or at one of the surrounding cafes or restaurants.

Opening Hours: 9 am – 5 pm, 7 days a week. Lifeguards operate all year round, but their hours vary.

Getting there: Stanley St Plaza, South Brisbane QLD 4101.

Catch a train to either South Bank or South Brisbane station, or parking available at the Cultural Precinct Parking for $17 a day.

Accessibility: South Bank is accessible to prams people of all abilities. Toilets and showers are also available. Find out more here.

Streets Beach South Bank Photo by TravelKiwis.com

7. Paddle at Redcliffe Settlement Cove Lagoon

Approximately 45 minutes north of Brisbane, is Redcliffe Settlement Cove Lagoon. This free facility is provided by Moreton Bay Regional Council.

It features a large family friendly swimming lagoon and wading pools – great for all ages, with shallow wading areas for young children and deeper water for confident swimmers.

Bring your child’s favourite bike or scooter, as the surrounding parklands include great bike paths and playgrounds. Public toilets and showers are also provided.

Where to Eat: There are plenty of barbeque areas and shaded picnic tables – so you can bring your own lunch and enjoy a completely cost-free day. A kiosk is situated next to the lagoon and a variety of takeaway options are available on Redcliffe Parade.

Opening Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week. Lifeguards operate 7 am – 6 pm every day.

Getting there: Drive north to Redcliffe Parade, Redcliffe. Free parking is available.

Accessibility: Settlement Cove is wheelchair and pram friendly. A pool wheelchair is available during 7 am – 6 pm each day. Find more information about accessibility at Settlement Cove here.

8. Spend the Day at Wynnum Wading Pool

Wynnum Wading Pool is a tidal pool at Brisbane Bay for families to enjoy the natural sea water and beach atmosphere.

At its deepest, the wading pool water reaches 0.75 cm making it a great choice for younger children. If you’re visiting during low tide your kids may get the chance to view the soldier crabs.

Bike and walking paths surround the pool – so bring the kids’ bikes or scooters.

Where to Eat: Bring a picnic or food to barbecue at the facilities available, including covered picnic tables. Cafes and an ice cream shop are nearby.

Opening Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – but only suitable for swimming during high tide.

Getting there: Drive to Wynnum Esplanade or take the train from the central station.

Accessibility: Ramps allow accessible entry to the water, and accessible toilets and showers are available.

Wynnum Wading Pool Photo by Travelkiwis.com

9. Wynnum Whale Park

Set under the shade of many trees, Wynnum Whale Park is ideal for younger children. The water park and playground are a safe area for younger children to play and paddle.

The spouting whale and tipping bucket is lots of fun for the kids and because the water area is flat, parents can also enjoy the water play.

And if the tide is out along the beach, the kids can hunt for crabs or play in the large sandpit.

Where to Eat: Barbeques are available or bring a picnic. However, the kids might like fish and chips or an ice-cream from the shop across the road.

Opening Hours: 24 hours a day

Getting there: Drive to Wynnum Esplanade or take the train from Brisbane central station for a 10-minute walk.

Wynnum Whale Pool Photo by Travelkiwis.com

10. Play Hide n Seek at Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha

One of the best days out for the whole family, is a visit to the Brisbane Botanical Gardens at Mount Coot-tha.

Here the family can enjoy the pathways to see a variety of gardens, flora and fauna. As well as ponds and the glasshouse of exotic flowers.

But what makes the gardens special, is the Senses “Hide n Seek” which the children will love. Ask one of the volunteers for a map and walk with the kids to find the hidden items.

And when they need a break, there are plenty of shady grass areas for a picnic. Or to escape the heat, the Gardens Café has plenty of room and lots of tasty treats.

Where to Eat: Pack a picnic and find a table or grassy area. Or when you leave the gardens, you can choose from the cabinets or menu at the Botanical Gardens café.

Opening Hours: Every day 8.00 am – 5.30 pm.

Getting there: Mount Coot-tha Road, Brisbane – 15 minutes’ drive (6.5 km) west of the city. Free parking available.

And to combine indoor activities with outdoor activities, Brisbane city has you covered.

Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-Tha with toddlers
Botanic Gardens

Free Learning Activities for Kids in Brisbane

The tropical climate of Brisbane allows children to see a variety of wildlife in native bush or near waterways.

Brisbane city has developed several conservation parks to teach children how to protect fauna and wildlife.

By visiting these conservation parks, is one of the free family activities where all the family can have the learning experience.

Here are two of the best free learning activities for kids in Brisbane.

11. Watch Koala’s at Daisy Hill Koala Centre

Who doesn’t love koalas?

The Daisy Hill Koala Centre is located 25 km south of the Brisbane City within the Daisy Hill Conservation Park.

Entry is free to the koala sanctuary and interactive education centre. There are two floors of fun displays designed for children and daily presentations by the wildlife officers.

The park has several walking tracks, barbecues, tables, and shaded grassed area for a picnic.

Where to Eat: There is no cafe on site so pack a picnic or barbecue.

Opening Hours: Monday–Sunday: 10am–4pm and check the website for public holiday times.

Getting there: Drive to 253 Daisy Hill Road, Daisy Hill QLD 4127 – Free off road parking is available.

Accessibility: Ramp access to all areas is available.

Daisy Hill Koala Centre Photo by Travelkiwis.com

12. Explore Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre

If you are want a full day activity for the children, take a drive to the Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre is 22 km south of the Brisbane City.

Here the children can learn about the forest native plants, walk the discovery trails of natural bush, and learn with interactive displays.

Where to Eat: There is no cafe on site so pack a picnic.

Opening Hours: Tuesday–Sunday: 9am–4pm

Getting there: Drive to 149 Acacia Road, Karawatha 4117

And if you need more free activities for kids, Brisbane has some of the best playgrounds for families.

Discover the Best Brisbane Playgrounds

Brisbane goes all out to give the children happy playgrounds of slides, climbing frames, tunnels, and lots more. They even ensure there is a soft landing under the equipment just in case.

13. The Riverside Green Playground

As you walk along the South Bank of Brisbane city centre, you’ll find one of the best playgrounds in Brisbane.

Next to the Streets Beach, the Riverside Green playground on the South Bank Parklands, is ideal for children of all ages.

The expansive playground equipment includes slides, swings, and a rock climb slope. But two of the best features of the playground, is the skywalk with bridges and the newly installed rotating drum.

The kids may not want to leave, especially as there is lightning at night so playtime can continue even when its dark.

There are picnic tables and barbeques to use, plus a large grass area. Otherwise there are cafes nearby.

Where to Eat: Plenty of picnic tables and barbeques to use, plus a large grass area.

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Getting there: South Bank Parklands, South Brisbane 4101. Car parking is at a premium, otherwise arrive by bus until the new metro is built.

Large ferris wheel from South Bank Brisbane in front of a blue sky
South Bank Brisbane

14. Baldwin Lawn Playground

Located at the Botanical Gardens City has interactive play for the little ones. The play equipment is suitable for all age abilities. And with toilets close by, it’s an ideal play area.

Where to Eat: Bring your picnic for the kids to enjoy as a break between play. Or find something delicious at the Sunday market. Otherwise, it’s a walk to the café near Griffith University.

Opening Hours: 9.30am to 5pm

Getting there: 10–15-minute walk from the Central or Roma Street Train Station.

15. Funder Wood Hollow

There is a lot happening in this fairytale playground.

The wooden castle has many towers where the kids can stop and plan how to navigate the walkways between. With wooden bridges, pole bridges and climbing ropes, kids can make their way between the towers.

The other great feature of the park is the pedal powered monorail. Here the children can pretend they are on the train as they cycle the circular loop.

If you have older children, there is a BMX track nearby, and a small wetland with geese and ducks.

Where to Eat: Bring your picnic or barbeque lunch to have at one of the many tables around the playground.

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Getting there: Underwood Park, 956-980 Underwood Road, Priestdale 4127 – free parking.

Funder Wood Hollow Photo by Travelkiwis.com

Making the Most of Free Family Activities in Brisbane

Brisbane makes is so easy to access the many free family activities available in and around Brisbane city.

Most of the activities listed above require little planning, with the decision more dependant on the weather and how far you want to travel.

For hot or rainy days, the museums of Brisbane provide fun and interesting things to do for children of all ages.

And when the kids need some outdoor time, mums, dads, caregivers, and grandparents, can choose from water activities, playgrounds, or educational walks.

The best part, is these activities are free family activities for all the family to enjoy.

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