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The top FREE things to do in Brisbane with Kids

Like many other capitals in Australia, Brisbane is a wonderful city with plenty to see and do – however, also like most other capitals, it can be expensive to plan a day out, particularly once you add children into the occasion. The costs of transport, food and drink, admission to attractions and any other expenses can quickly add up, making what was originally supposed to be a fun-filled day out with the kids more stressful than it should be.

To help out with this, we've put together our list of what we believe are the top 5 FREE things to do in Brisbane with kids in order to hopefully provide your mind – and your wallet – with some peace. We've attempted to cover a variety of age groups for balance; that said, here's our list of “free things in Brisbane with kids” recommendations:


The Queensland Museum

Queensland Museum

Location: Corner of Grey & Melbourne Streets, South Bank Brisbane, Queensland 4101

As an attraction that walks to delicate line between fun and learning, the Queensland Museum is a great example of “edu-tainment” that appeals to young and old alike. As far as museums go, the Queensland Museum is another example of going the extra mile to appeal to children as well as adults, with a focus on the quirky and entertaining with multiple little nooks and crannies available for the kids grab a puzzle or colouring book and get some history-based fun.

The museum walks a pleasant balance between the history of both the natural world and Queensland in general, and is divided into different floor levels each of a different theme; if you're looking for kid-specific entertainment, you'll want to stick mainly to the lower floors which are more interactive.

The bottom levels of the museum focus on the likes of animals and wildlife (which, as always, are ever-popular with the little ones), while dinosaurs have tended remained a hit with children for almost as long as they've been extinct. The building itself is quite modern and well laid out, and the staff on hand are famously helpful and always willing to provide a helping hand of point you in the right direction while recommending those exhibits that are likely to be of particular interest to kids. The sheer scale of the combination of displays from all ends of the historical spectrum – from flora and fauna to mechanical objects, scientific contraptions to lovingly-restored skeletons and much more – means that a trip to the Queensland Museum is one that can provide multiple hours of entertainment.

If you've noticed that there is one major thing missing from this endorsement, it's most likely the price... and that's because there isn't any. Admission is completely free to all the regular exhibits on display at the Queensland Museum, with only special exhibitions and entry to the Sciencentre itself requiring payment. If you want your kids to come away from a day out with the family with something more than a sugar high and temporary, fleeting entertainment, then the Queensland Museum is a highly recommended – and cost-effective – attraction for kids in Brisbane's South Bank.


Visit the Parks and Playgrounds

Brisbane PlaygroundsBrisbane is a city that is renowned for maintaining its open and airy feel despite its recent rapid growth, and this is reflected in the huge array of public parks and playgrounds that can be found throughout its various suburbs.

With over 40 separate playgrounds located throughout the city, there's most likely a fun place to take the kids if not within walking distance then at least easily reachable by bus from where you're currently at in Brisbane. The majority of suburbs have at least one playground available for the kids to stretch their legs in, and most playgrounds provide at least some combination of shade, play equipment, toilets and BBQ facilities that make spending multiple hours at each a viable possibility for a fun – and free - day out.

Playgrounds serve as the best of both worlds, giving your kids the ability to not only get a dose of fun but fresh air and exercise as well, allowing you to kick back with a book or cook up some snags on the barbie. For a complete list of all the currently available playgrounds in Brisbane and their addresses, locations and features, click through to our Brisbane playgrounds guide article for a full breakdown.


Children's Art Centre at Gallery of Modern Art

Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane Kids

Location: Stanley Pl, South Bank Brisbane, QLD 4101

The gallery of Modern Art has been one of Brisbane's brightest cultural beacons since its inception in 1998, and it likewise serves as a great place to take the kids as well due to their dedicated Children's Art Centre.

This facility runs exhibits aimed at kids that run concurrently with the adult-focused exhibitions held throughout the year, and allows the kids to become engaged visually with art work, models and sculptures that are almost always boldly and brightly coloured to appeal to the little ones. The Children's Art Centre aims to make what is usually a passive process – observing and forming opinions on art – more of an interactive endeavour, typically developing a range of interactive multimedia games that coincide with the exhibitions.

Each of these games aims to engage the kids creative minds and get them processing some of the things they are taking in, all while dressing it up in a cleverly-fun package. The only downside to this form of educational entertainment is that it's typically only truly possible for kids of ages 5 and older to really “get it” without intensive guidance from their parents, so if you're taking your kids here this is an important factor to bear in mind – although this might also serve as a possibility for you and your child to collaborate (and create) together.

The Children's Art Centre also offers guided and interactive kids tours throughout the day that attempt to present what's on display to the little ones in a manner that is as fun and easy to understand as possible, looking to tell a story that ties in with the artwork surrounding them.

With Sundays providing kids' craft workshops and Tuesdays aimed almost exclusively at toddlers, there's almost always something going on for kids at the Gallery of Modern Art's Children's Art Centre for children of all ages, so don't hesitate to drop in for a visit if you're looking for free things to do.


The State Library of Queensland

State Library of Queensland

Location: Stanley Pl, South Bank Brisbane, QLD 4101

Who said libraries had to be boring? Those who have planned and run Queensland's state library certainly don't think so, and it's reflected in their wonderful level of devotion to engaging kids that can be found within this well-run public facility. The prime example of this is no doubt their children's corner dubbed, appropriately, The Corner. It's rare for a single spot to combine so many elements that will hold the attention of kids, but The Corner serves to do just that; while there's enough space for them to play and burn up some energy, it's also a spot that's dedicated to learning.

Enthusiastic staff run regular activities to keep kids occupied, with everything from art and craft-based activities, storytelling, kids games and much more available during scheduled sessions, while the gaps in between offer children a cavalcade of self entertainment options from cubby houses and hiding holes to tons of toys and – as one might expect – books.

It's a great initiative that truly pays dividends when you see kids actually having FUN learning and being creative, while the activities on offer change seasonally and combine both indoor and outdoor elements depending on the weather.

The staff here should be commended for their level of ingenuity as they are always coming up with new and engaging ways for kids to participate in activities that will actually give them a head start on developing some important skills later in life. Sessions have been held that provide them a chance at trying their hand at gardening, cooking, construction, exploration and much more. Perhaps one of the best free ways for kids to actually come away with something useful from their day of entertainment in Brisbane, the State Library of Queensland's “The Corner” is not to be missed.


Mt. Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

Mt Coot Tha Botanic GardensIf you're wanting to give your kids a dose of the outdoors all while situated in some visually pleasant surrounds, the Botanic Gardens at Brisbane's Mt Coot-tha certainly tick all the boxes.

With a far more “tropical” vibe than the majority of other typical botanic gardens you'll find in capital cities, the displays of floral life on show at Mt Coot-tha definitely have their own distinct character all in the heart of the Brisbane CBD. It's truly an expansive area of greenery, with over 52 hectares of various plant life to explore – which is all well and good for adults, but what enjoyment do kids derive from it?

First of all, there is wildlife aplenty, and kids who love animal will be in their element here; duck feeding is always popular, and various species of birds and other animals can be easily spotted throughout the garden's grounds. The gardens also come complete with a dedicated “hide and seek” designed specifically with kids in mind set up by the city council to provide kids a self-guided map experience with colouring book that enables them to learn a little about the plant life and history of the gardens along the way.

The map will take them from point to point, highlighting individual points of interest serving as a sort of “treasure hunt” where they can check off individual things they've seen, from types of animals to different plant and leaf shapes as well as simple multiple choice questions to keep them on their toes. (You can download a full colour version of the map by clicking here).

Coupling great scenery and relaxation with plenty of things to keep the kids occupied as well as a wonderful drive, Mt Coot-tha is one of the top nature-based attractions for kids in Brisbane.

In addition, if you're looking for a full range of things to do in Brisbane including all the most popular activities, tours and attractions, be sure to check out our main Brisbane region section to browse and book online!