A visit to a Brisbane discovery centre makes a great day out for the family. In and around Brisbane we have lots of local discovery centres to choose from offering experiences from animal encounters, interactive displays and nature play, to bushwalks and wildlife discovery – and a whole lot more!
Entry is usually free or low cost, and often there are experts and volunteers on hand to answer your questions or act as your guide, and cafés, picnic areas and playgrounds to help you extend your stay.
If you haven’t discovered Discovery Centres yet, what are you waiting for? Start your journey of discovery at one of these Families Magazine recommended centres and discover what you’ve been missing!
Tip: Discovery Centres often have special activities and events during school holidays. Check with each centre to see what’s on!
Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre
Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre is located within 900 hectares of stunning natural bushland under the control of Brisbane City Council. The building includes an interactive floor projection of a frog habitat, a sculptural forest discovery area, and a night-time audio-visual experience room.
Outside there is Queensland’s first nature play space, which includes water play, climbing features, discovery trails and sculptural artworks. Play elements are inspired by features and materials found in nature rather than standard park play equipment. Children of all ages (and adults who wish they hadn’t grown up!) are able to explore the area and discover interesting facts and stories about the forest.
Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre is located at 149 Acacia Road, Karawatha. Click here to read our detailed review.
Rediscover Indigiscapes with its all-new Discovery Centre and Indigi Café. You can also explore the great natural bushland surrounding the centre, take one of the self-guided bushwalks, explore the many themed botanical gardens, or go wild on the adventure playground with flying fox. Learn more about sustainable living, visit the new theatrette and join in the regular community activities and events during school holidays and weekends.
Facilities include BBQs, picnic areas, a gift shop and café. Entry is FREE.
Indigiscapes is located at 17 Runnymede Road, Capalaba.
The Ipswich Nature Centre (Ipswich Zoo)
The Ipswich Nature Centre is beautifully landscaped with an incredible array of native flora and fauna. It also hosts a lovely pond where ducks and swans reside and a fully operational rainforest aviary where you can see all sorts of interesting birds. There is a nocturnal bilby exhibit with a tunnel to go through to see these adorable little creatures snuggled up peacefully.
Just prior to exiting the Ipswich Nature Centre you will find a barn where all your children’s domesticated favourites live; piglets, goats, lambs, cows, chickens and more!
The Ipswich Nature Centre is located in a beautiful park with bushland, gardens and a fabulous playground complete with sunken train.
Open daily through school holidays from 9:30am-4pm. Closed Mondays during term time. Entry is FREE though a gold coin donation is appreciated. Click here to read our detailed review.
The Ipswich Nature Centre is located at Goleby Avenue, Queens Park, Ipswich.
Daisy Hill Koala Centre
Daisy Hill Koala Centre is a great choice for families looking for an inexpensive, fun and easy day out. Set within the huge Daisy Hill Conservation Park, the centre is home to several resident koalas who can be seen from viewing boardwalks across two different levels. Boardwalks are pram and wheelchair accessible. General public are not able to handle or pat the koalas, but keepers give talks twice daily about the koalas and their conservation.
The centre also houses interactive displays, and there are clearly signed bush walks to explore.
Open daily 9am-4pm (Closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday). Entry is FREE. Click here to read our detailed review.
Daisy Hill Koala Centre is located at 253 Daisy Hill Road, Daisy Hill.
At the Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre you can explore the best that Brisbane’s backyard has to offer. At the information centre they have informative displays and friendly Park Rangers to help you discover the unique wonders of D’Aguilar National Park. Visit the shy nocturnal animals in the nocturnal-house and encounter some of Brisbane’s rarer native animals, such as the common wombat and the centre’s most famed attraction; the platypus in the Gondwana Platypus Rockpool.
There are daily animal discovery shows where you can meet our local fauna, and don’t miss seeing the platypus diving for crayfish at feeding time.
Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre is at the entrance to Enogerra Reservoir, which is a great spot for a swim and a picnic, or you can enjoy the tasty delights of the Walkabout Creek Café.
Open daily from 9am-4:30pm, closed Christmas Day. Click here to read our review. See our review here:
The Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre is located at 60 Mount Nebo Road, The Gap. Click here to find out more.
Queensland Museum Discovery Centre
The Queensland Museum Discovery Centre was fully refurbished and reopened in March 2019. Located on level four of the Museum, visitors can immerse themselves in hours of exploration amongst the glass cabinets and discovery drawers.
The Discovery Centre showcases more than 1300 objects including taxidermy, archaeological finds, fossils, cultural history and interactive displays. The centre is also home to many LIVE exhibits. Get up close to giant spiders, insects, scorpions and snakes, and with experts always on hand to answer your questions, you may end up having a closer encounter than you might wish!
There’s a lot more to discover at Queensland Museum, where you can easily spend a full day amongst the dinosaurs, life-size model whale models, and fascinating exhibits. There’s a café on site too!
The Queensland Museum Discovery Centre is open daily from 9:30am-5pm (Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day). Entry is FREE. Visit www.qm.qld.gov.au to find out more.
The Queensland Museum Discovery Centre is located on the corner of Grey Street and Melbourne Street, South Brisbane
Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre
The Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre has recently undergone a massive refurbishment and upgrade, reopening to the public with fun activities and a brand-new building on December 8, 2019. The new building has interactive and digital displays that focus on wildlife education and the significance of wetlands, with interactive activities like the “Great Migration Challenge” where visitors can learn about shorebirds in the area by flapping their arms in front of a motion sensor display, taking on the role of migratory bird navigating across the world.
Other new activities include:
- A sensory wall with buttons visitors can press to experience smells from the wetlands
- Interpretive displays on the walls and in the floor
- A synthetic mud display that gives kids the chance to get their hands into the mud and learn about what does and doesn’t belong in the mangroves
- An interactive display that is accessible for all abilities, which allows visitors to spin hand pedals to appreciate the energy requirements of migratory birds
Boondall Wetlands is a great place to take the bikes for a cycle along the paths and boardwalks, or go on a self-guided bushwalk. Download the ‘Hide ‘n’ Seek Children’s Trail checklist before you go and see how many ‘things’ you can spot!
Entry to the Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre is free.
Find the Boondall Wetland Environment Centre at 131 Paperbark Drive, Boondall. Read our detailed review here.
Now open! – Moreton Bay Discovery Centre
The Moreton Bay Discovery Centre is located at Manly Harbour Village, offering insights into the wildlife and ecosystem of the beautiful Moreton Bay.
Moreton Bay Discovery Centre offers visitors a state of the art, immersive environment that educates visitors on the wonders of the bay and encourages them to experience it for themselves, first hand.
Open 9am-7pm daily, FREE admission.
If you would like to make a donation towards the Moreton Bay Discovery Centre, or keep up to date with its progress, you can find out more here.
*This editorial was featured in our print issue 38; December 2019/January 2020