GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) or as it’s now officially known QAGOMA in Brisbane’s beautiful South Bank precinct is the perfect destination for families with children of all ages.
If you’re looking for an easily accessible, free, stimulating, and enjoyable place for your family to spend a day you’ve just found it!
Immerse the family in creativity at the Children’s Art Centre or, for older kids, view the best in international film and video at the Australian Cinematheque. There is always plenty to see, do, and experience!
What is GOMA?
GOMA is one of the most dynamic, innovative and exciting cultural and art spaces in Brisbane. Paired with the Queensland Art Gallery, it is located across two riverside buildings. The galleries present evolving programs of Australian and international exhibitions with a focus on contemporary art from Australia and the Asia Pacific.
Where is GOMA, exactly?
The cultural precinct begins at The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and then moves north past the Sciencentre, Museum (with its famous Whale Mall), Queensland Art Gallery, State Library of Queensland, and then GOMA at the end. Clear signage will direct you between venues and there are plenty of shaded rest stops if required. Lifts and ramps abound so pram, stroller, and wheelchair users will find their needs well catered for.
How do I get to GOMA?
If travelling by bus, there is a bus station in between the Museum and QPAC called South Bank busway station. Catching the train more your style? Ensure that you disembark at South Brisbane, not South Bank, for the cultural precinct. If you get off at South Bank you’ll have quite a distance to walk which could be an issue with little ones.
There are many secure parking options in the area but check your maps prior to driving in – many of the streets are one way and can be confusing for a first-timer. Think smart and book your spot in advance (click here) to ensure you pay a discounted rate. Ticket inspectors regularly patrol the South Bank area so make sure you’re not caught out!
What’s else should I know about?
Planning a big outing, especially when you have got little kids, can be daunting but we’ve got you covered. GOMA is fully accessible for wheelchairs and prams. A cloakroom is available upon entry for bulkier items but staff will permit you to keep your nappy bags and pram with you if you prefer. The GOMA Children’s Art Centre has a pram storage bay so you can have your hands free to join in on the fun. The air-conditioned climate is perfect for baby-wearing without getting hot and sweaty – you’ll most likely find your littlest ones quickly drift off to sleep in the cool, calm environment so you can focus on the exhibits.
There are a number of different bathrooms across different levels. All parent’s rooms are well-equipped with change mats, chairs, and heating facilities. GOMA was designed with families in mind and the enjoyment and comfort of your family is a vital part of the experience.
Plenty of places to eat
GOMA Café Bistro, on the bottom garden level, is the perfect place for families or large groups. A huge outdoor dining area with a beautiful view of the river complements a menu ranging from breakfasts to burgers to brownies. Upstairs in GOMA restaurant, you’ll find a two-hatted dining experience that might be better suited to an adults-only outing.
What’s on at the moment at GOMA?
Find out what is on at GOMA right now by clicking here!
(Please note – we leave exhibits here as a living record of all the cool stuff GOMA puts on for kids! Some of these exhibits may no longer be installed)
QAGOMA Children’s Art Centre
QAGOMA Children’s Art Centre works with artists to create interactive installations, artist projects and activities for kids and families.
Art Starters is a free program for babies 4– 12 months and their parents and carers. Together kids can explore select works through an engaging walking tour and a multi-sensory interactive play session.
Art Play Date is a self-directed program engaging children aged 1-3 years through movement, song and sensory play, inspired by key artworks.
Art Explorers uses games, music and making activities to engage children aged 3-5 years with art. Children can now engage with the Art Explorers program from home through a series of interactive videos.
The Alien Others eX de Medici | 24 June – 2 October 2023
In collaboration with the Children’s Art Centre, Australian artist eX de Medici encourages children to pay close attention to insects and to think about the vital roles they play in our world.
Gods and Monsters | 24 June – 2 October 2023
In collaboration with the Children’s Art Centre, Australian artist Michael Zavros is interested in exploring his Greek-Cypriot heritage through his work. A way in which he does this, is to bring a modern twist to stories from Greek mythology.
The Castle of Tarragindi | 9 September 2023 – 14 July 2024
Australian artist Natalya Hughes creates paintings, textiles, sculptures and installations informed by decorative and ornamental traditions. A way in which she does this, is to create immersive interiors that draw on art history. For this project, Natalya invites children to explore the imaginative artform of the ‘grotesque’ through hands-on and multimedia interactives. Grotesque designs are characterised by hybrid forms made up of parts of animals, plants, and other shapes.
Roy & Matilda Australian Art Collection | Permanent | Free entry at Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Galleries
Discover paintings by artists in the Australian Art Collection with Roy and Matilda, two friendly mice who love art galleries and live behind a tiny door in the Queensland Art Gallery. The mice visit artworks and create an adventure in ‘Roy and Matilda: The Mysterious Music ’. Focus artworks can be used in conjunction with the publication to complement before, during, or after-the-visit to support engagement. You can also create your own artwork guide with ‘My Collection’.
Kids Trail – Australian Art Collection | Permanent | Free entry at Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Galleries
From the earliest rock paintings to contemporary works, animals have featured in art for thousands of years. For many artists, animals are subjects that allow them to share ideas and experiences. In this trail activity, you can discover a wild and wonderful menagerie of animals hiding in the Australian Art Collection.
Previous QAGOMA Exhibitions for kids
Superpowered | 3 September 2022 – 16 July 2023
This exhibition at GOMA brings together four interactive projects by Indigenous Australian artists – Kaylene Whiskey (Yankunytjatjara people), Tony Albert (Girramay/Yidinyji/Kuku Yalanji peoples), Gordon Hookey (Waanyi people) and Vincent Namatjira (Western Aranda people) – who use their voices and their art to empower Aboriginal people and create inspirational imagery for all children. Together, the artists have created an immersive world full of cheeky humour and courageous characters for young visitors to explore.
Brian Robinson Lag ǀ Malu ǀ Daparr (Land ǀ Sea ǀ Sky) | 26 November 2022 – 23 April 2023
Australian artist Brian Robinson creates artworks inspired by his Torres Strait Islander heritage and the tropical marine environment surrounding Waiben (Thursday Island).
For this exhibition, Brian has created the large-scale print work Lagalgal: The Mysteries of our Land 2022. This artwork was inspired by constellations that appear in the sky above the Torres Strait, and how the movement of the stars is intertwined with life on the Islands. Children can watch this artwork come to life through an animation on display in the exhibition space.
As part of the exhibition, children can also make a woven angel fish using coloured paper strips and create a drawing by rubbing crayons over different carved designs.
Chiharu Shiota: A Feeling | 18 June – 3 October 2022
‘A Feeling’ by artist Chiharu Shiota explores aspects of our inner worlds, including emotions, the soul and how to express abstract ideas.
As part of the exhibition, visitors can watch a video in which children share their thoughts about the soul. Children can also make a drawing of how they feel using coloured pencils, and add what they make to a cumulative display.
The exhibition also includes a display of children’s drawings of a feeling, and a selection of picture books to further explore big ideas with young visitors.
APT10 KIDS | Until 10 July 2022
Featuring seven projects by artists from across the Asia Pacific region, APT10 Kids celebrates inclusion and diversity, and the importance of collaboration and community. At this FREE exhibition, families can engage with these themes through hands-on making and multimedia activities, artwork displays and large-scale installations. APT10 Kids projects are located across both the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) and the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) buildings.
The Gifting Tree | Until 17 October 2021
The Gifting Tree’ brings together the work of Sonia Chitrakar, Archana Kumari and Kamta Tahed, three contemporary Indian artists who use bright colours, pattern and storytelling in different ways. Each artist has created a painting or drawing that references the importance of trees in supporting life. ‘The Gifting Tree’ refers to a divine, life-giving tree otherwise known as Kalpavriksha, which appears in many religions and stories throughout India.
Children can reflect on their own experiences of trees through two hands-on activities. Taking inspiration from the artists’ work, children are invited to draw a picture about the importance of planting trees and add their response to a cumulative display in the exhibition space. Children can also make a drawing of a problem-solving fantasy tree.
This is a FREE activity with no bookings required. General admission to QAGOMA is also FREE however you will have to pay to enter some special exhibitions.
European Masterpieces | Until 17 October 2021
Spanning 500 years, ‘European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York’ offers a breath-taking journey from the 1420s and emerging Renaissance to conclude at the height of early twentieth century post-impressionism.
This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Brisbane families at QAGOMA allows you to experience works by painters such as Fra Angelico, Titian, Raphael, Rembrandt, Turner, Van Gogh and Monet, direct from The Met’s collection – one of the finest collections of European painting in the world, the majority of which rarely leave permanent display in New York. Find out more here.
Now is the Time | 7 August 2020 to 1 August 2021 | Free entry at the Children’s Art Centre
Raquel Ormella invites children to speak up about climate change and the environment in her exhibition Now is the Time at the Children’s Art Centre. Raquel highlights Australia’s long history of environmental activism with a timeline featuring historical photos and posters. The exhibition also includes two videos made in collaboration with Junction Park State School students. In these videos, the students perform protest songs and share their views about climate action with the artist. In the exhibition space, children can design a protest t-shirt and watch their message come to life in an animated protest scene, while listening to a playlist of protest music.
The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire | 28 November 2020 – 26 April 2021
This world-exclusive exhibition, only in Brisbane, showcases the art, design, and history of one of the most iconic objects of the last 150 years, the motorcycle.
Featuring more than 100 innovative and influential motorcycles from the 1860s to the present day. Highlights of the exhibition include an 1871 Perreaux, the first steam-powered velocipede and oldest known motorcycle in the world. Plus the earliest Australian-designed and built machines, including a Spencer produced in Brisbane in 1906. Tickets required for this event.
Ross Manning: Idling Engines | 28 November 2020 – 26 April 2021
Ross Manning is an Australian artist who has always been fascinated by science and how things work. Through his art, he explores the relationship between humans and technology and often works with light and sound.
For this exhibition, Ross has created the sound work Idling Engines 2020, which responds to movement. This installation includes a number of small motors that have been attached to cables hanging from the ceiling. Ross has positioned the motors so that when triggered they send vibrations up and down the cables. The vibrations shake an assortment of simple materials that have been clipped onto the cables – producing a variety of sounds.
Is there anything else I should know?
GOMA opens daily from 10am – 5pm (closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day). Entry is free but certain exhibitions may sometimes require a special entry fee. GOMA is signed very clearly and staff will be happy to help you if required. For more information, including maps, visit QAGOMA.
Make the most of your day out and see what the rest of South Bank has to offer. Countless food and drink options, beautiful gardens, innovative play options, and the always fun Streets Beach await. Brisbane is so lucky to have the kinds of public facilities that people in other cities could only dream of. So get out there and let your kids experience it all!
If you’re looking for school holiday inspo check out our guide to the BEST school holiday activities in Brisbane here.