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FREE Things for Toddlers to do in Brisbane

Chances are if you’re reading this article about FREE things to do with toddlers in Brisbane it’s because you’ve just googled toddler activities Brisbane for the hundredth time and are in need of some major inspiration! Don’t worry, you’re certainly not the only one wondering what to do with toddlers in Brisbane. Keeping little ones entertained is a full-time job and can be expensive when you add it all up.

That‘s why we’ve created this very comprehensive list of FREE Things to do in Brisbane with toddlers. It’s compiled by a mum of two determined small children who gets it! Leaving the house with toddlers takes a huge amount of effort so it can be tempting to just stay home. But don’t do it! New experiences are great for both you and your toddler. We’ve done the work to help you find the best toddler activities Brisbane has to offer that will ensure venturing out is worth the effort.

Table of Contents

FREE Brisbane toddler activities inner city

We are so blessed in Brisbane to have many amazing FREE community-funded spaces that are perfect for when you’re looking for things to do with toddlers rain, hail or shine.

Things to do with toddlers inside

The Queensland Museum 

Toddler at QLD Museum with magnifying glass

Museums are places where families learn together which is why we love them! The Queensland Museum houses permanent and changing exhibitions and also provides in-depth educational experiences, early childhood activities, and entertaining holiday programs. If your toddler loves dinosaurs they can get up close with fossils plus there are a number of permanent exhibits where they can touch and feel objects allowing for a great educational experience. Don’t worry if your toddler gets a little loud and hands-on. When we last visited the term organised chaos came to mind with excited children exploring everywhere. Head to The Queensland Museum website for information.

Take your toddler to play at a shopping centre

Child friendly places to shop

We’ve listed all the best shopping centres in Brisbane and beyond that are toddler friendly based on them having parenting rooms, play areas, parents with prams parking spots, libraries, kids clubs, book swaps and activities during festive and holiday times designed to get little hearts racing. See them all here.

For toddlers in Brisbane who love to run

Roma Street Parklands 

Blooms & Tunes Roma Street Parklands

For toddlers, this is a great spot where they can run their little hearts out. There’s a huge flat lawn that’s bordered by a path that’s great for riding bikes or scooters. They can also enjoy the two playgrounds located in the parklands or explore the gardens which will blow their growing minds with the range of colours, textures, and smells. Something to consider is there are beautiful parts of the parklands where toddlers can easily gain access to waterfalls and other water features but it’s more than manageable and mostly fenced. Read our review here.

Brisbane activities for toddlers who love art

Roddler exploring art at QAGOMA

The QAGOMA Children’s Art Centre works with artists to create interactive installations, artist projects, and activities for kids and families. They offer two programs, Art Starters, and Art Play Date, that are perfect for when you’re after things to do with toddlers inside or you’re looking for art ideas with toddlers. We really love how hands-on GOMA is for toddlers because who doesn’t love not having to say ‘no, don’t touch that’ for the thousandth time in a day. At GOMA there are enough Brisbane toddler activities to keep them engaged and active for hours. Check out our full review here.

Museum of Brisbane

April School Holidays at Museum of Brisbane

If you’re looking to spend a great day with your toddler that won’t cost you ridiculous amounts of money then you need to visit the Museum of Brisbane. Rather than a museum of ancient and dusty old bones, the Museum of Brisbane is a living, breathing expose on our beautiful city of Brisbane – past, present and future. It’s a celebration of all that makes Brisbane such a unique and wonderful city. Recentlty they’ve had some great hands-on exhibitions perfect for curious Brisbane toddlers. Read our review here.

Things to do in Brisbane with toddlers who love the outdoors

South Bank Parklands

Epicurious garden for Brisbane toddlers

When you’re looking for Brisbane things to do with toddlers Southbank has to be top of your list! There are multiple playgrounds, places to swim and enjoy water play at the Aquativity area, rolling green lawns for picnics, Epicurious a tasting garden, and free programs for toddlers each week. See our full review for more details.

Discover a Discovery Centre

Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre Frog Habitat Floor

A visit to a Brisbane discovery centre makes a great day out with a toddler in Brisbane. In and around the river city 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 toddler’s questions or act as your guide, and cafés, picnic areas and playgrounds to help you extend your stay.

Activities for toddlers Brisbane who love to build

The State Library Queensland

Toddlers playing with building blocks at The State Library of Queensland

The Corner is an area of the State Library of Queensland packed with hands-on things to do with toddlers including foam building blocks, toys, art materials, and books that are rotated regularly to match various themes. There’s no need to worry about keeping your toddler quiet as this corner of the library has been purpose-built for toddler chaos. It’s a great place to escape in summer when you’re looking for things to do with toddlers indoors to beat the heat as its airconditioned. Plus there’s a fully-equipped parents room onsite. Read our full review here.

FREE Animal encounters – Brisbane activities for toddlers who love animals

There really is nothing sweeter than watching your toddlers face light up in awe when they spot an animal. The squeals of excitement and frantic pointing accompanied by ‘look, look’ can make you feel like the best parent in the world.  Yet while we’d love to take them regularly to the big zoos when looking for things for toddlers in Brisbane it’s often not worth it when they decide five minutes after you arrive that they want to go home. The good news is we know where you can take your tot to cuddle animals for free which is without a doubt one of the best activities in Brisbane for toddlers.

Ipswich Nature Centre | Ipswich

Toddler chasing a lizard at Ipswich Nature Centre

The Ipswich Nature Centre (Ipswich Zoo) is the perfect place to take animal-loving toddlers. Nestled in historic Queen’s Park in Ipswich, the Ipswich Nature Centre boasts free entry with a gold coin donation. Australian wildlife are housed inside exhibits that are exactly like their local habitats. There is full accessibility for both wheelchairs and prams as ramps and footpaths gently wind their way around the exhibits so everyone can have a close look at the animals which include bilbies, various farm animals, and reptiles. When you ask families with toddlers where to go to see animals with little ones this is always top of the list! Get more details here.

Daisy Hill Koala Centre | Daisy Hill

Daisy Hill Koala Centre entrance sign

Daisy Hill Koala Centre is a great choice for families looking for an inexpensive, fun, and easy day out. There is a long boarded walkway (pram and wheelchair accessible – easy for everyone) that meanders through the enclosure. On our last visit, there were four koalas in residence much to the delight of our toddlers. We also enjoyed exploring the large bushland area which surrounds the main building enjoying a picnic before heading off for a short bushwalk ideal for little legs. Find out more here.

Einbupin Lagoon | Sandgate


The Einbunpin Lagoon Parklands is at the centre of the Sandgate area with plenty of fun things to do. With bike and walking paths around the lagoon, you can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery while discovering the array of native birds and other animals in the park. For a closer look at the wildlife, there is a shaded observation bridge that looks out over a pond. Many people have seen turtles and eels in the waters, as well as the usual ducks on the pond. See our review on fun things to do with kids in Sandgate.

The Lifestyle Centre | Samford Valley

Animals at Samford

Based in the tranquil Samford Valley, the Lifestyle Centre has a nursery, homewares, café, lakeside walk, and adorable farm animals! Ducks, chickens, goats, and even sheep can all be found at the Lifestyle Centre, and love interacting with guests. Your Brisbane toddler can say hello to the latest additions to Lifestyle – two female Donkeys! Enjoy a peaceful stroll around the Lake located on the property and be on the lookout for ducks & geese. The Lakeside walk is approx. 15 minutes and includes resting areas along the way.

Best bird watching activities for toddlers and infants Brisbane

where to see brisbane birds for kids

If you’re looking for things to do in Brisbane with toddlers who love birds look no further! We’ve compiled a list of places where you are guaranteed to spot birds that will have your little one squealing with delight in no time. All of our recommendations can be found in the greater Brisbane area but if you’re willing to travel as the crow flies there are always more spots to be found. Read our comprehensive list of bird spotting activities for toddlers in Brisbane here.

FREE Brisbane toddler activities celebrating all things that move

Is your little one in love with Thomas the Tank Engine or perhaps they enjoy pointing planes out in the sky? We’ve uncovered the best FREE things to do with a toddler in Brisbane who loves trains, buses, planes, and boats.

Plane spotting near Brisbane Airport

A plane taking off

Did you know 217,436 planes on average take off and land at Brisbane Airport, guaranteeing excellent plane spotting all year round? Acacia street loop, Brisbane Domestic Airport is one of the most popular spots in Brisbane to watch planes. We love it because there’s plenty of places to park with room to set up a plane watching picnic! You’ll be amazed by how much you can see including the occasional wave and smile from pilots on a clear day. Find out more at Brisbane Airport Australia.

Head out for a FREE bus, train, or ferry ride with your Brisbane toddler

Brisbane Toddler riding CityCat in Brisbane

One of the things we love most about toddlers is their ability to remind us to find joy in the simplest of things. That’s why we highly recommend taking your little one for a spin on a free bus, train, or ferry ride around Brisbane. Travel on the TransLink network is free for children aged 4 years and under. You can find out more on the Translink website. Here’s our review on where to take kids on a CityCat in Brisbane.

Parkland Explorer Train | Roma Street Parklands

Parkland Explorer Train

The Parkland Explorer is a trackless train that provides an alternative to guided walks. The train operates in the Roma Street Parkland, the beautiful gardens located in the heart of Brisbane City. By placing a gold coin contribution (per passenger) into one of the collection boxes located on each carriage, you are helping volunteers keep the Parkland Explorer running. The Parkland Explorer usually operates:

  • Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday between 10am and 12.30pm
  • Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 3pm.

Operating times may change due to volunteer availability, events in the parkland, or inclement weather. 

Read our review for more ideas on making the most of a trip to Roma Street Parklands.

Bracken Ridge Lion’s Train Day | Bracken Ridge

Backen Ridge train

The Bracken Ridge Central Steam/Electric Railway is proudly run and operated by the Bracken Ridge Central Lions Club, with all proceeds going back to the community. The Bracken Ridge Lion’s Train Day isn’t completely free as you are asked to give a gold coin donation but it is too good not to include. This is another activity that comes up every time we speak with parents about what to do with toddlers in Brisbane. Trains run on the 4th Sunday of each month in McPherson Park, Bracken Ridge.

FREE Things to do with toddlers Brisbane who love to create & play

Creative Kids Brisbane | West End

Toddler painting

Creative Kids Brisbane offer a FREE, outdoor children’s art space in West End, Brisbane. All sessions are open-ended, so you can pop in anytime during their opening hours. The art space allows toddlers to use the materials on offer to make a set art piece or something else completely. Parents and guardians must be in attendance at all times. Children under 5 will need some assistance from their parents. All sessions are open to any age group. To book a free art session head to the event calendar on the Creative Kids Brisbane website.

Address: West Village, 97 Boundary street, West End | Mon – Fri 9am-11am | Sat & Sun 9am-12pm

Kids Collective | South Bank

Kids Collective

The Kids Collective is a series of FREE weekly children’s activities at South Bank and a must-visit if you have a little one aged 0-5 years. Every Thursday from 9-1 pm you will find an activity that will expand your child’s skills or teach them something new. Bookings are not required so you can come and go as you wish.

First 5 Forever Toddler Time | Libraries across Brisbane and surrounds

A toddler with a cookbook

Join other parents and toddlers for a FREE fun session of singing, clapping, and dancing at your local library. Learn action rhymes and songs which will help your child’s pre-literacy, communication, language, and social skills. Ideal for toddlers aged 1-2 years. Some libraries also run pop-up storytime sessions in local parks across Brisbane and surrounding areas. Find out more about what’s happening at your local library here.

FREE Things to do in Brisbane with toddlers who love to learn

Where the Wild Things Are | West End

Toddler books on a shelf

A book shop that is a home for young readers and stocks all the latest releases and classic titles. It often has events like book clubs, book launches, and signings. They have books for early readers, picture books, and board games. Take your toddler here and get lost in the colours and the books! Find out more here.

FREE places to cool off when you’re looking for what to do in Brisbane with toddlers

Living in Queensland means long, hot summers which often means cranky, sweaty little people who want to play in water all day. The challenge is finding somewhere that has options where they can explore water without being completely submerged and if it has shade, then bonus! Here’s our pick of the best water play activities in Brisbane for toddlers

Waterplay activities in Brisbane for toddlers

Wynnum Whale Park | Wynnum

Wynnum Whale Park new whales

The Wynnum Whale Park is an area on the foreshore built for water play with fountains and whales that spray water perfect for toddlers to run under on a hot day. Canals and water blocks have been built into the ground to allow the water to flow and be blocked off by budding engineers. The Wynnum Wading Pool is right next door and there’s an epic park co-located. Find out all the great things to do with kids in Wynnum here.

Rocks Riverside Park | Seventeen Mile Rocks

Rocks Riverside Park features water pools that are perfect for younger kids. Water flows between rock pools and is sure to fascinate the little ones. For those slightly more active kids, there is an area of pop-up fountains where they can run around to their heart’s content. There is also a paddling pool (0.3m depth) so they can really get wet! Did we mention it also has a fully fenced toddler park shaded under gorgeous old trees? Read our full review here.

Logan Gardens Water Park | Logan Central

Logan Gardens Water Park - bucket

Logan Gardens is a huge parkland space encompassing a water park, playground, dog off leash areas, community gym equipment, a basketball court and much more. There really is something for everyone. The water play area centres around a raised water table painted with a mural. It is great for toddlers however watch them around the edges. For the bigger kids, there is bucket that fills and then empties water all over them, jets coming out of the ground and colourful poles that spray water when you run past them. Read our full review here with photos.

Ferny Grove Aqua Splash Park | Ferny Grove

Water park for toddlers

This water play area has something for everyone and if not already operating, you can start the water with a button at the entrance to the area. We love that the bigger kids areas is slightly separated from the smaller kids areas. For the littler ones, there are ladybirds that spray water, as well as water jets coming up from the ground. This entire area is well shaded, which makes a huge difference in the middle of the day. Read more about this great spot to cool off with toddlers here.

Darlington Parklands | Yarrabilba

A shady park for toddlers

The water is just over ankle-deep, making it perfect for toddlers to splash and play. The water play area and playground at the Parklands have lots of seating and grassed areas available for picnics with shade. Read our full review here.

Best beaches to visit when looking for what to do in Brisbane with toddlers

We’re super lucky to have so many toddler-friendly beaches right on our doorsteps. With the only cost being the fuel (or a grown-up train/bus ticket) to get there, it’s a great option whether it’s warm enough to swim or even just to frolic along the sand.

There are some great family-friendly beaches near Brisbane, some of our favourites are:

Bongaree Beach | Bribie Island

Bongaree Beach

With crystal clear water, fine white sand, and no waves to speak of, Bongaree Beach on Bribie Island is one of our new favourite day trips from Brisbane. Families with kids of all ages enjoy the beach and surrounding parklands, but it is especially suited to families with toddlers and primary aged kids. If you are lucky, you may even spot a dolphin or a dugong! Read our full review here.

Lower Moora Park | Shorncliffe

Shorncliffe locals are so lucky to have this picturesque swimming spot combined with an incredible playground right on their doorstep. It can be a little tricky to find this gem but trust us, it is worth the effort. The park is a great size for toddlers who love to climb and explore. Find out more here.

Nudgee Beach 

Nudgee Beach is an underrated beach for toddlers in Brisbane and should be added to your day trips list. Kids can dig in the muddy sand and get dirty, then splash in the low tide water to wash it off. This is a secluded, quiet beach with picnicking opportunities that is perfect for families.

Wellington Point Reserve

With spectacular ocean views of both King Island off the point and the Manly marina, Wellington Point Reserve is a beautiful area to spend the day out with the family. There’s three fully shaded playgrounds, ancient trees to climb and an island you can walk out to when the tide is out. Brisbane toddlers will love collecting shells and hunting for crabs along the beach.

That’s a wrap!

Brisbane is brimming with FREE things to do with toddlers and kids beyond parks and playgroups. Treat your toddler to a fascinating day out in Brisbane without spending a penny!

This article was featured in Issue 42 of our printed magazine, published October 2020.

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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