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10 BEST Things to Do at the EKKA for Families

Enjoy the 10 best things to do at EKKA 2023.

In 2023, there are more free things than ever before and the vast majority of our list is full of FREE things for families to do at the EKKA!

Families Magazine are the recognised experts in providing trustworthy Ekka resources, as evidenced in our multitude of Channel 9 News appearances showing you how to save at the Ekka!

Disclaimer: This article is not yet updated with the latest Ekka information for 2024. When it is, we will let you know! (Especially if you sign up to our emails!) 😉

10 BEST things to do at the EKKA in 2023

What are the BEST things to do at the Ekka? So glad you asked…

BUT FIRST: Make sure you read our detailed EKKA Guide so you know everything we know about making the most of your EKKA experience!

10. Free EKKA shows & activities for kids 

Paw Patrol Might Pups Show

Get ready for a superhero-style PAW Patrol mission!

  • Location: Main Stage
  • Timing: 11am – 11.20am, 12 – 12.20pm daily.


From Melon Patch Academy to the Ekka’s Main Stage for the very first time, get ready to sing, play and dance with JJ!

  • Location: Main Stage 
  • Timing: 10 – 10.20am daily

Ekka Street Science Shows

Don’t miss out on Street Science’s brand new show at the Ekka this year!

  • Location: Ekka Education Stage presented by Podsquad
  • Timing: 11.30 – 11.50am, 1.30 -1.50pm daily

Venomous Snake and Reptile Show by Precision Reptiles

Get wrapped up with friendly pythons and admire the incredible Australian wildlife at the Venomous Snake and Reptile Show presented by Precision Reptiles!

  • Location: King Street
  • Timing: 16 shows take place daily

9. Euro Slide

Kids coming down a slide at EKKA
Kids coming down a slide at EKKA

Your kids will love sliding down the biggest slide in the southern hemisphere! EKKA goers will have a smile on their face as gravity pulls them down the eight-lane, 48-metre bumpy slide. Enjoy! 

8. Agricultural Hall 

Ekka technology precinct
Having fun at the Ekka

The Agricultural Hall features plenty of ag-ucational activities for children, including the Field to Fork interactive rural journey.

This place is A-MAZ-ING… and not to be missed. It provides hours and hours of free entertainment for kids of all ages and they have somehow managed to scale the entertainment for littlies, up to big kids. The littlies have things to play with, the bigger kids will enjoy the play, but also learn in the process.

7. Kids Carnival area

Kids at the EKKA on the dodgems ride
Kids at the EKKA on the dodgems ride

This is a great place to visit with kids aged between 3 and 8!

Little ones will love the chance to take the wheel by themselves in the Cars4Kids dodgems, enjoy a gentle ride on the Tea Cups or visit the Enchanted Circus.  

Check out the prices here 

6. Show bags at the EKKA

things to do at the Ekka showbags
Kids enjoying their showbags at the Ekka

I defy any family to go to the EKKA without a trip to the showbag pavilion. We’ve spent hours pouring over every EKKA Showbag and have put together a guide to help you determine how to get the biggest bang for your EKKA buck, regardless of  your child’s individual interests. We believe there are no wrong decisions to be made as far as which category of show bag you choose, only wrong showbag choices within the categories i.e. when looking at value for money.

You will find our favourite EKKA show bags here.

5. RACQ Animal Nursery

A mother and baby at the Ekka

One of the most family-friendly places to visit at the EKKA is the RACQ Animal Nursery.

This year it will feature some exciting new animals. The kids (and the big kids) will be all smiles as they get up close to hundreds of their favourite farmyard animals on their adventure through the nursery. Feed, pat and snap selfies with a range of loveable animals including calves, goats, lambs, ducklings, chickens, working dog puppies, alpacas, llamas, donkeys, a pony and more.

Last year, there were two adorable highland cattle with long shaggy coats, along with the only two Valais sheep in Queensland. Plus there were camels!

Last year, proceeds from the feed cups ($2) will go to RACQ Foundation, supporting Queensland communities impacted by natural disaster. 

4. FREE & Cheap food in the Woolworths Pavilion

Cheese Toastie
Cheese toasties at the Ekka

If you’re feeling peckish, pop over to the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion where you can taste test your way through the pavilion for morning or afternoon tea. There’s plenty of free samples to enjoy at the Woolworths ‘stations’ but you can also sample other vendors products including dairy free yoghurt, various cheeses, lollies, wine, ice-cream and more!

With more than 70 food and drink stalls offering cheap eats through to Insta-worthy favourites, you’re going to want to fill your belly and try everything!

In 2023 cheese toasties and mini hot dogs are just $3.00 each!

3. Thrill Zone in 2023!

Calling all thrill seekers and daredevils! There are some awesome rides coming to Thrill Zone in 2023! Sounds terrifyingly fun!

The older kids are going to flock to this area to enjoy rides like the Rockstar (with a full 360-degree rotation up to 60 feet, the Rock Star is guaranteed to be a family thrill favourite) and Freestyle (which takes you 40m high in a 360-degree motion in forward and reverse, all while the gondola is also spinning). Top tip: Maybe visit the Thrill Zone BEFORE you head to the Woolworths Pavilion!

2. Eat a strawberry sundae

Ekka Strawberry Sundae Pop Up
An Ekka strawberry sundae

The strawberry sundae is synonymous with the EKKA and one of the bests things to do at the EKKA. At some point in the day, you must invest in this time-honoured tradition and buy yourself and the kids a strawberry sundae. My favourite part about this treat? The cone is packed full of strawberries too! Yum! 

1.  Watch the EkkaNITES Fireworks!

The Ekka - Royal Queensland Show , Bowen Hills
Fireworks at the Ekka

The EKKA organisers obviously know that the BEST thing to do at the EKKA each year is sit with your family and enjoy the EKKA fireworks because they have a family-friendly fireworks time slot.

This year’s show – Imagine – features plenty of ‘wow’ moments of unique firing designs, new special effects, lights and performers all perfectly synchronised to the music soundtrack that will have you up on your feet dancing. This must see arena pyro-musical intensifies to a fantastic finale that will create vivid lifelong Ekka memories for the entire audience.

Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics, celebrating 101 years of pyrotechnic innovation, are world leaders in pyrotechnics and SFX. They have an international reputation for taking projects into the next league, pushing pyrotechnic boundaries and exceeding audience’s expectations. We can’t wait to see what they’ve created for this year’s Ekka!

From the first beat of music, you will be blown away by the EkkaNITES fireworks spectacular. The nightly show will feature an action-packed program including:

  • A stunning fireworks display lighting up the night sky
  • A new equine experience featuring cowboys, cowgirls, two stepping, galloping horses, long horn bulls and all things Yellowstone
  • For the first time in Australian history, not one, not two but three Wheels of Steel, as circus performers balance atop the three storey tall rotating steel pendulums
  • A nailbiting freestyle motocross display with motorcycles launching an incredible 15 metres into the air
  • The rumble of V8 engines as utes tear around the Main Arena
  • And much more!

It’s going to be an absolute blast! 

The full EkkaNITES programme runs daily from 6.30pm and you can watch the EKKA Fireworks nightly at 7.50pm – 8pm in the Main Arena. 

Want more?

Click on our FULL REVIEW of the Ekka to read ALL the details and more tips!

Do you agree these are the BEST things to do at the EKKA? What would be in your ‘Top 10’? Tell us in comments below!

Make sure you follow us on Facebook because I will be posting about my visit to the show on the first morning including where to get the cheapest coffee, where to find the cleanest bathrooms, where to park this year, the best value showbags and my favourite rides (and how to get discounts!).

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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