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Ekka for Toddlers: How to Make it the Best Day EVER!

EKKA for toddlers can be amazing! There, we said it and now we’re going to prove it. You may be thinking the Ekka is no place for toddlers, but we promise you this is far from true. What do toddlers love most? Food, new experiences, cute animals, and plenty of FUN! The Ekka ticks all of these boxes and heaps more. Plus, children under 4 get FREE entry to 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!) 😉

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!

We love a good family tradition and heading to EKKA is simply a must do for any Queenslander! Be sure to check the weather before you head out and check out our pick of the best of the EKKA for toddlers.

What does the Ekka for toddlers cost?

As we shared before, children under 4 get into the Ekka for FREE with an accompanying ticket holder. We love a bargain at Families Magazine, so we know how to save heaps of $$$ at the Ekka. Read our post on Ekka discounts and cheap tickets to make sure you save for your family too!

Ekka animal experiences for toddlers

Animal Nursery

Ekka for toddlers is all about snacks, rides and animals!
A young family playing with animals at Ekka for toddlers.

Ekka = a taste of country and you don’t get more country than farm animals. We love transporting our toddler from the city to the country minus the stressful road trip at this interactive, hands on experience. The only challenge we found when we visited the FREE RACQ Animal Nursery was trying to get our little ones to leave! This is also the case for the adults who are guilty of succumbing to cuteness overload when surrounded by more than 500 baby animals. <We are looking at you Families Magazine Editor!>

Toddlers can get hands on with guinea pigs, rabbits, piglets, puppies, lambs, chickens and ducks. Other farmyard cuties include lamas, alpacas, donkeys, a miniature horse, calves, sheep, and goats. Get your camera ready as your little one falls in love with a plethora of furry and feathery friends.

  • Open from 9am to 5pm.
  • Families Hot Tip: Bring $2 to buy a cup of food for the animals – they are far more engaged with you if you have a hand full of food.


There is something extra special about holding a tiny chick in the palm of your hand. In the case of a toddler, a baby chick cradled in their lap is sure to elicit squeals of delight. When we visited, my two sure had a challenge keeping the baby chick in their hands and it was hilarious to watch! The EKKA Cradle-A-Chick activity even allows toddlers to watch chicks hatch from their shells in a special incubator.

  • Location: Large Animal Pavilion (Ground Floor)
  • Opening Hours: 9:30am – 4pm

Norco Grass to Glass

Ekka for Toddlers is so much fun with rides, animals, treats and more!
A woman milking a cow to show toddlers at the Ekka.

Has your toddler ever asked where milk comes from? Well thanks to the magic of EKKA you can let them experience it for themselves. Children can milk one of the beautiful dairy cows and receive a free sample of Norco milk at the Norco Grass to Glass experience. Keep in mind, some toddlers may get overwhelmed by large cows. You know your child best.

  • Location: Large Animal Pavilion (ground floor)
  • Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm

Ekka food for toddlers

Here’s our take on the must try snacks at Ekka for toddlers.

Dagwood Dog

Dagwood Dogs smotheres in tomato sauce are a must try when visiting Ekka for toddlers
A young girl eating a dagwood dog. Image credit: ABC Brisbane

You simply cannot go to the Ekka and skip a Dagwood Dog. The great thing about the good old Dagwood Dog is that it’s served on a stick making it easy for toddlers to eat on their own. Plus, the ingredients are totally toddler approved – a frankfurt, batter and sauce. We always find ourselves running to grab more napkins as the tomato sauce runs all over our kids faces and hands so don’t forget to bring wipes with you. This is delicious, messy business!

Strawberry sundaes

A must do at the Ekka for toddlers is try a delicious strawberry sundae.
Picture of a girl eating a strawberry ice-cream at Ekka for toddlers. Image credit: The Courier Mail

The smile says it all! There is NOTHING better than a strawberry sundae at the Ekka. It is an absolute rite of passage for all Queensland kids to sink their teeth into this delicious treat. Plus, it’s pretty much all strawberries so you can tick it off as a healthy snack too! On average, more than 153,000 sundaes are devoured each Ekka, using:

  • 6.1 tonnes of fresh Queensland strawberries
  • 720 litres of fresh cream
  • 17,600 litres of ice cream
  • The helping hands of 2,200 volunteers

By buying a strawberry sundae for your toddler you’ll also be funding much needed medical research for the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation. Here’s everything you need to know about Ekka strawberry ice creams.

Cheese Toasties

Do you have a picky toddler you’re worried about feeding at the Ekka? The good news is Ekka allows you to bring your own food. However, if you’re keen to have a day off food preparation we recommend a visit to the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion. Our toddlers loved tasting their way through the pavilion with plenty of free samples to enjoy including dairy free yoghurt, various cheeses, lollies, ice-cream and more! IF you want to spend a little here, you could invest in the $3 cheese toasties and mini hot-dogs!

Ekka exhibitions for toddlers

The Ag Education Hall

A visit to the Agricultural Hall is a must do at Ekka for Toddlers.
Two toddlers exploring the Ag Education Hall at Ekka.

The Ag Education Hall at Ekka features an amazing array of educational activities, delightful experiences and hands-on learning for toddlers. Toddlers can watch Spuddy & Scoot – a musical early-learning show encouraging healthy eating and mindful habits plus explore a heap of interactive displays.

Location: Ag Education Hall

Prized and oversized produce displays

This may just be the exhibition that turns your toddler into a vegie lover! Okay, so that may be a bit of a stretch but we know our toddlers love exploring the creative produce displays on show including fruit, vegetables, grasses, grains and sugarcane. You’ll also see the pump-king of pumpkins, with the Giant Pumpkin Competition.

Location: Ag Education Hall (H-14)

Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm

Ekka rides for toddlers

Ekka for Toddlers is so much fun with treats, animals and rides!
A girl riding the carousel at Ekka for toddlers.

You may not know that the Ekka offers a Kid’s Carnival area specifically for little daredevils. This is in addition to the much larger and much louder Sideshow Alley. We’ve updated our Ekka Rides article to include ALL the rides in the Kids Carnical area, with ride prices and photos!

This year, the Kid’s Carnival rides include:

  • Cars4Kids | Like no other dodgems in Australia, younger kids can ride by themselves in a safe and exciting environment.
  • Enchanted Circus | An interactive funhouse featuring three levels of thrills. We usually go on this ride with our toddler to help them navigate the obstacles.
  • Fantasy Flyer | A mini chair-o-plan ride where kids sit in chairs and are spun around in circles.
  • Fungee Bungee | Bungee trampolines
  • Jumbo Flying Elephants | Little adventurers enjoy a fun flight on their very own flying elephant. They control just how high they go as they fly around and around.
  • Kids Carousel | Toddlers can pretend to fly their own mini hot air balloon.
  • Jurassic Coaster | A mini roller coaster
  • Mini Ferris Wheel
  • Super Fun Slide
  • Spinning Tea Cups, and so much more!

Ride prices start at $7 per ride or you can get a bundle of 3-4 rides for $25. Read our Ekka Rides and Prices post for more details on this years line-up.

Toddler friendly showbags

Ekka for toddlers is all about food, rides, fun and showbags!
Two boys sitting in a pile of showbags at the Ekka.

Okay! This is the big one. You really need to have a plan before attempting the Showbags Pavillion. It is often packed and it can be a real pain to get a pram through the walkways. Then add a toddler who wants EVERYTHING they see and suddenly a lovely day out at the Ekka can become a really stressful time.

Ekka for toddlers is not without its challenges and this is without a doubt the Mt Everest of the Royal Show. To prevent meltdowns, we simply send a member of our crew into the hall to collect a showbag or two for each child. We usually do this while the kids watch the Woodchop Show or visit the larger animals. While they are young and unaware of the literally HUNDREDS of Showbag options this is the approach we take. You can read our Ekka Showbag Guide to decide on the bags you will purchase ahead of time. There IS a map of the Showbag Hall layout at the entrance, so you can cut straight through to the ones you want.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the many Ekka for toddlers showbags:

  • Paw Patrol Team – $32 – Backpack, cap, cooler bag, mask set, and more! (Alternative Paw patrol showbag available).
  • Paw  Patrol Skye – $32 – Backpack, bucket hat, handbag, trinket boxes, and more.
  • Bluey Showbag – $32 – Backpack, bucket hat, lunch box set and novelties. (Bingo showbag also available!)
  • Cocomelon Showbag – $32 – Backpack, bucket hat, bath toys and novelties (two showbags to choose from).
  • Thomas The Tank Engine Showbag – $32 – with a backpack, toy, placemat, cooler bag and more – 2 showbags to choose from!
  • Peppa Pig – $32 – Peppa Pig backpack, headband, masks, and more. George Pig showbag also available.
  • Sesame Street Showbag – $32 – Backpack, bucket hat, ball and more.
  • The Wiggles – $28 – with musical instruments.

Mini shows at EKKA for Toddlers

Ekka for toddlers has so many FREE daytime shows perfect for our little ones. These shows are on EVERY DAY of the Ekka.

Main stage

  • CoComelon | 10am- 10:20am
  • Paw Patrol Mighty Pups Show | 11am-11:20am & 12pm-12:20pm

Ekka Education Stage

  • Spuddy & Scoot | 10:30pm-10:50pm & 12:30pm-12:50pm
  • Podsquad Live | 11am-11:20am, 12:00pm-12:20pm & 1:00pm-1:20pm.

Show Ring

  • The RuffTRACK Kids: K9 Super Wall | 12:30pm-1:00pm & 3:30pm-4:00pm

King Street

  • Snake & Reptile Show | Too many shows to list. From 9:30am – 5:15pm. Shows run for 15 minutes.

Ekka fireworks for toddlers

EKKA fireworks! As the sun sets over Brisbane the EKKA excitement ramps up with a HUGE 1.5 hour EkkaNITES program. EKKA fireworks are the grand finale to a jam-packed day at EKKA pulling huge crowds year after year because they really are some of the best fireworks in Brisbane. We’ve often carried sleepy littles ones into the stands just to catch a glimpse of the magic. We’ve got EVERYTHING you need to know about Ekka fireworks in our article. We’ll tell you where to sit, what time the fireworks start and other important tips to help you keep your toddler comfortable for the big night show.

Ekka for toddlers facilities

Parents rooms

Ekka parents room

There are four parents rooms located around the grounds. The larger parents room under the Ernest Baynes Stand features a microwave to heat up milk, a sink, breastfeeding facilities and nappy change facilities. The parents rooms are not very inspiring, so we recommend bringing an activity (or opening a showbag) for toddlers to keep them occupied while you tend to infants.

If you’ve got a little one currently toilet training you are going to want to know where the toilets are! Toilets are located in most buildings around the Showgrounds and can be located using the Ekka map. There are also banks of portaloo toilets in Sideshow Alley, next to the Alien Abduction ride, and at various other areas areound the grounds.

Pram access around the EKKA

Keep an eye out for ramps that provide access between roads and footpaths, as well as entrances into Pavilions. We find the footpath ramps a little challenging to see amongst the crowds but we haven’t had any issues getting our pram into the various exhibitions. There are also elevators located on each level of the Channel Seven Pavilion and the Large Animal Pavilion.

Where to hire strollers

We often hire a locker to store showbags and the bulky warm clothing we won’t need until the temperature drops later in the day.

  • Where: With Day Locker Hire, underneath the John MacDonald stand
  • When: Hire times are strictly 9am-5pm
  • Cost: Pram: Single $30 | Double $50 plus bond of $ Refundable only on return of item under terms of signed hire agreement.
  • Book ahead at Show Lockers here, or use a casual locker at $2 per use.

Ekka for toddlers pack list

Here is what we pack for a day out at Ekka with our toddlers

  • Food and water to save money and skip the food lines with a hungry toddler. Even if we intend to mostly eat Ekka fare we always bring snacks as wait times can prove too much for little ones.
  • A picnic blanket as seating is limited and it also comes in handy at night for the fireworks.
  • Lots of baby wipes! Little ones will have so much to touch and taste at their fingertips.
  • A pram or stroller. You will need to steer it as efficiently as an F1 driver to navigate the crowds but it’s an essential tool to help little legs get around the huge Ekka site.
  • Protective ear wear for kids sensitive to loud sounds will be helpful.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and sunsmart clothing. Shade at the Ekka for toddlers is plentiful but so are the crowds. It’s best to come prepared.
  • Warm clothes. Even if you are not planning on staying for the night program we definitely recommend packing warm clothing. The westerly winds have turned us into walking Olaf’s more times than we care to remember.

What to do if you lose your toddler?

There is a Keep Kids Safe station that is part of the police marquee. We always make it our first port of call when visiting the Ekka with a toddler. You can pick up a free wristband that you can write your phone number on so that you can be quickly contacted if you become separated from your child. Read our Ekka Safety Guide for more details on how to keep safe.

If you do became separated, and you haven’t been able to find your toddler quickly, head to the Lost Persons station at the police marquee on Gregory Terrace. It’s near the main arena directly opposite King Street. Google Maps can take you there if you search “Gregory Terrace & King Street”. If you have an Ekka map, the Lost Persons station is marked with white male and female person symbols on a purple background.

The EKKA is smoke-free

Great news! This year, designated smoking areas will not be available within the Showgrounds precinct, but two designated smoking areas are located outside the Showgrounds.

Where to park when you have toddlers?

Attention all EKKA-goers! We have a huge round up of all the best places to park at Ekka (including FREE p;aces to park). You can read all our Ekka parking tips here. AND if you only need night time parking, Secure Parking has you covered with convenient parking close to Brisbane Showgrounds. Super EKKA-Nomical $10 night parking. Book early online at Secure Parking.

Let us know how you go!

Firstly, we commend you for taking your toddler to the Ekka. We hope our tips will help you have the BEST.DAY.EVER with your little person. Sure, it takes a heap of effort BUT the giggles plus seeing them discover their first Ekka makes it more than worth it. If you have anything you think we should include for other parents in this article please let us know in the comments.

Photo of author

Natalie Turner

Natalie started her career in the media as a radio announcer for Triple M and B105 before crossing over to the not for profit space, including Cancer Council Queensland. She excels in marketing and communications roles and loves to find events and activities for our readers. As mum of two spirited young children, Nat's number one passion is enjoying new experiences with her family. This takes her out and about exploring and reporting back for Families Magazine readers. Natalie has a Bachelor of Communication from Griffith University as well as a Graduate Certificate in Business from University of Queensland.

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