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Ipswich Art Gallery Treasure Hunt | What Will You Discover?


Here’s a hot Families Magazine tip! Do your family a favour and bookmark the Ipswich Art Gallery as a place to visit these school holidays. In fact, we highly recommend you go the whole hog and schedule a visit every chance you get.

You see the Ipswich Art Gallery is made for families. The venue regularly hosts incredible FREE or low cost, high quality exhibitions that are hands-on and so fun! Trust us when we say even adults find themselves happily engrossed in play at Ipswich Art Gallery. Plus, the staff are amazingly warm, knowledgeable, and always welcoming! This is really helpful when you’re braving an art gallery with multiple kids in tow.
Rest assured exhibitions in the Children’s Gallery have been purpose built for curious minds. So you can relax in the knowledge you are exposing your child to exciting new things without having to worry about them not touching or breaking everything in sight.
For the Winter school holidays, Ipswich Art Gallery have two AMAZING experiences for kids. Dig for treasure in the HUGE Treasure Hunt sandpit then explore transport in all of its forms in the On the Move interactive exhibit. Read on for more details about each of these awesome activities for kids.

Treasure Hunt

>> Watch our video review to learn more about Treasure Hunt!

Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt?! The chance to discover your own treasure has to be one of the most exciting experiences you can give the kids these school holidays. Ipswich Art Gallery’s Treasure Hunt includes a HUGE sandpit with buried treasures hidden under layers of sand.

The Treasure Hunt sandpit is located outside of the Ipswich Art Gallery but to gain entry you still need to head to the Gallery’s Information Desk and pay the $5 entry fee per child (card only). This event is FREE for under 3s and accompanying parents/ carers. Once you’ve paid your entry fee, staff will fit you out with a wristband and give each child their treasure hunt bag ready to decorate.

Make your own treasure bag

Ipswich Art Gallery Treasure Hunt

This activity really helps build the excitement for the Treasure Hunt. Will you find enough treasure to fill your pouch? The decorating stations have stamps and pens to personalise your treasure bag. We didn’t hang around here for too long as the kids were busting to get into the sandpit. However, each child was very proud of their individual treasure bag and we loved how unique each of their designs were.

The GIANT Treasure Hunt Sandpit is bursting with treasure!

The excitement on our kids faces when they saw the HUGE sandpit was priceless. It took no time for them to jump right in and get digging. Within a few minutes they each had a handful of gems, coins, gold rocks, and even a key. We highly recommend grabbing one of the sieves to shake off the excess sand and get a really good look at the treasure you’ve uncovered.

We were surprised to learn our Ipswich Art Gallery Treasure Hunt haul included REAL crystals (clear quartz, rose quartz, amethyst), and semi-precious stones (turquoise, moss agate, carnelian, etc). Gallery staff hide treasure daily (and usually top up during the day also) so rest assured there will always be plenty of treasure to discover.

What do kids love almost as much as a MASSIVE sandpit filled to the brim with buried treasure?! Waterplay! Whilst the treasure washing station is no more than a large plastic tub filled with H2O it’s the magic that happens in its depths that counts. Once you’ve got a decent stash of treasure, use your sieve to take it over to the tub and give it a rinse. The vibrant colours will have your kids celebrating their finds all over again.

For families with sensitive skin, rest assured the sand is a special mix selected for its fine grain and softness.  We also love that once Treasure Hunt is finished, the sand will be sieved to remove any remaining ‘treasure’ making the sand then safe to use to top-dress parks and sporting fields around Ipswich. Top job Ipswich Art Gallery!

Can you find all of the different types of treasure?

Ipswich Art Gallery Treasure Hunt

After digging in a frenzy for a good 20 minutes the kids noticed the signs around the sandpit listing the types of ‘treasure’ hidden in the Treasure Hunt sandpit. They decided to challenge themselves to find a piece of treasure from each of the groups listed. This was no easy feat as there are 16 different types of stones, crystals, shells, and objects listed. We were really impressed by the quality of ‘treasure’ to be found in the Ipswich Art Gallery’s Treasure Hunt sandpit.

Choosing what to take home

If your Treasure Hunt experience is anything like ours, your child is going to find themselves with an abundance of treasure. The deal is that whatever you can fit in your treasure hunt bag you get to keep and take home. How amazing is that! For our little ones, the job of choosing what to keep and what to return was a fun challenge and learning experience. First they sorted their bounty, selected their favourites, and then went about filling their treasure bag at first to overflowing but we got there!

Plenty of seating, shade and a special spot for Under 3’s

Treasure Hunt at Ipswich Art Gallery is located under a number of large awnings that provide almost complete shade across the sandpit. There’s also ample ampitheatre style seating around the sandpit and some chairs are available too. Under 3’s have been catered for with their own sandpit complete with a tunnel and toys.

Ipswich Art Gallery staff are a great bunch of people who are always eager to ensure kids get the most from each exhibit. You’ll find them engaging with kids in and around the Treasure Hunt sandpit. Be sure to say hi and tap into their knowledge of the exhibit.

Families Tip: There are dustpan brushes by the entry/ exit so you can brush the sand off your clothes before exiting. If crowds or noise are an issue Ipswich Art Gallery recommend visiting after 1pm as it tends to be less crowded in the afternoons. Last entry is at 3pm.

All the useful information


Treasure Hunt is a playful experience for young children aged 3 – 8 years (and their families)*. It is the perfect way to learn about fossicking and geology while having fun.

  • Dates: Wednesday 23 June – Saturday 10 July 2021
  • Times: 9.30 am to 3.30 pm daily EXCLUDING SUNDAYS
  • Cost:$5 per child. FREE for under 3s and accompanying parents/carers. Each entry fee entitles one child to a Treasure Bag to decorate and a wrist band for entry into the Treasure Hunt sandpit.
  • Bookings: Not required. Pay at the Ipswich Art Gallery’s Information Desk on the day. (Cashless sales only)
  • Age suitability: Recommended for ages 3 – 8 years. Children must be accompanied by a parent/carer.
  • Other: Keep shoes on or off. Pram parking is available in the Treasure Hunt area. However, as sand-clogged wheels can pose problems Ipswich Art Gallery do not allow prams, strollers or wheelchairs in the sand itself.

*WARNING: Due to the choking hazard posed by ‘treasure’, this activity is unsuitable for children under 3 years old. A separate safe area is provided to cater to younger siblings under 3 years, admitted free of charge.

NB The Treasure Hunt sand pit will close periodically in the event of heavy rain or extreme weather, but will otherwise continue to operate during light or passing showers. In the event of a full-day cancellation, a notification will be posted to the Ipswich Art Gallery’s Facebook page.

For more information visit the Ipswich Art Gallery website.

On the Move

>> Watch our video review to learn more about On the Move!

Today we were lucky enough to be invited to see this new exhibition for children at the Ipswich Art Gallery. Boy were we impressed!! Want to know what is there and if your kids will like it? Keep reading!

Planes, trains, and automobiles! Transport is the theme of On the Move, a interactive children’s exhibition at the Ipswich Art Gallery. This family friendly exhibition explores transport in all of its wonderful forms. On the Move opened in the Children’s Gallery on Saturday 27 February and will be running to Sunday 18 July 2021.

On the Move was created by Sydney Living Museums in collaboration with illustrator James Gulliver Hancock. This highly interactive exhibition takes you on a fascinating journey around Australia, discovering different modes of transport and vehicles.

Fuel Up Station Imaginary Play Fun

Ipswich Art Gallery

We spent a lot of time at the Fuel Up Station letting our imaginations roam free. The kids loved pretending to drive the little cars complete with sound effects and music that plays when you push buttons on the dashboard. Budding mechanics can tune up under the hood, change tyres, pump gas, raid the tool cabinet, and man the counter.

Craft your dream machine

When children arrive at On the Move they are given a bag with coloured paper to create their own paper plane dream machines. Art Gallery staff are on hand if you need guidance on how to build the ultimate flying contraption. You’ll also find helpful guides on how to create different styles of planes. This ensures even the most experienced paper plane builder can learn something new during this activity.

Ipswich Art Gallery Fly Zone 2

Once you’ve created your masterpiece you can test it out in the fly zone. A huge net is suspended from the ceiling to capture planes as they land. You can even throw your plane together with a friend or family member and have a mini ‘fly off’ to see who’s plane goes the furthest. Expect lots of giggles during this activity.

Reinventing the Wheel Interactive Game

Ipswich Art Gallery Interactive Screen

This HUGE interactive game is projected onto the wall by two projectors. It uses technology to enable kids to make the different modes of transport move and become animated when they are touched. You’ll hear plenty of squeals of delight when the rocket suddenly launches or the big ships go sailing down the river.

Build a Lego® vehicle for the future

We’re sure you’ll agree that Lego® fun in air conditioned comfort is always a great way to entertain the kids. Throw in two ramps to test drive their inventions and you’ve now got a trifecta of fun on your hands. This activity is more challenging than it looks and even the most experienced ‘brick’ expert may be caught out with a vehicle of the future that tends to tumble more than it drives down the track. But of course, that is what makes this activity brilliant!

Ipswich Art Gallery Lego vehichle for the future

You’ll find yourself heading back to the Lego® table over and over again to tweak your design and the collective cheers when your creation makes it to the bottom makes the effort all the more worthwhile. This activity is a great way to spend quality time together as a family collaborating on designs, or for the more competitive setting a challenge for the title of Master Vehicle of the Future Creator!

Gridlock Interactive Ball Tunnel Wall

The Interactive Gridlock wall allows kids to explore traffic congestion in a really interesting and engaging way. You can move the red discs to manipulate where the balls travel once they are inserted into the wall and then powered by air blowing them up and gravity dragging them back down to earth. At times the balls even pop out from the wall leading to a wild chase to bring them back into play.

Ipswich Art Gallery

The Learning behind the Fun

Children will discover how transportation works in busy cities and how fuel choices can have a positive impact on the environment. You can also experience how transport modes have evolved over time – the trials, the failures and the successes.

Helping you along your journey are the stories of some of Australia’s transport ‘trailblazers’:  from engineer John Bradfield, a graduate of Ipswich Grammar School who went on to design Sydney’s underground electric train system and the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Adam Gilmour, founder of Australia’s leading space technology company.

Stories of pioneers include Kathleen Howell, Jean Robertson and their dog Barney, who mapped areas of Australia in their sports car and aviatrix Nancy Bird Walton – the youngest female pilot in Australia.

All the useful information

Dates: 27 February to 18 July 2021

Times: 10am – 5pm | 3 sessions daily:  10 am – 12 pm | 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm | 3 pm – 5 pm

Cost: FREE although bookings are required.

Age suitability: All ages welcome. Perfect for children aged 3 to 8 years. WARNING: Choking hazard – contains small parts. Children must be supervised by an adult over 18 years at all times.

For more information visit the Ipswich Art Gallery website.

Previous shows and installations at the Ipswich Art Gallery

Below are the details of the previous exhibits and shows at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

TapeScape at the Ipswich Art Gallery (downstairs)

If you went to the previous installation of TapeScape at the gallery 3 years ago, you’re in for a surprise as this year it is twice as big, twice as high and has twice as many lights!! They have supercharged the exhibit and you and your kids are going to love it!!

Explore the tunnels and slides made from more than 115,000 metres of packing tape designed and created by artist Eric Lennartson — direct from the US! Spark your sense of wonder about the unusual use of materials and unexpected forms in this latest TapeScape – an Australian exclusive at the Ipswich Art Gallery this summer.

Don’t forget your socks! Socks MUST be worn on the TapeScape. Bring your own or buy specially designed TapeScape Socks (they are really cool stripey socks!) at the Gallery for only $3 a pair – yours to keep!

This exhibit is recommended for all ages but will be loved most by kids aged 2 to 12 years.

Construction Zone (Upstairs)

If you have kids that love to build things or demolish things, then this is the place to bring them these summer school holidays!

Your kids can be builders, architects, engineers and demolition experts all in the same day. They can build their dream cubby house, throne, tower… or whatever their heart desires using giant foam blocks to build whatever they can imagine.

They can work together as a team to build a whole city or play solo – the choice is theirs!

The team at the Ipswich Art Gallery challenge YOU to recreate this….

Ball Run at Ipswich Art Gallery (downstairs)

Ipswich Art Gallery ball run

As well as the two above installations, the gallery has the ball run maker space…. grab tubes, cardboard and various other design elements to make a huge ball run along the walls of the gallery.

Blue Blocks (downstairs)

Take a break while you contemplate a small scale build with Blue Blocks – part of Construction Site Summer Fun.

Designed and produced by Imagination Playground for children’s museums around the world, these bright blue foam blocks, bricks, cogs, cylinders and connectors transform the activity tables into an instant creative play space. Build, stack, channel and connect to create your own invention for the gallery’s display wall.

Playing with Light at the Ipswich Art Gallery

Today we were lucky enough to be invited to see the latest exhibition for children at the Ipswich Art Gallery; Playing with Light!

Like all the exhibitions for children that we have been to at IAG, this exhibition is interactive and full of ‘oh wow’ moments that will delight kids of all ages.

Playing with Light is a full-body interactive exhibition that explores our big bright, colourful world full of light, lasers and lenses and it is PERFECT for kids!

Two floors of ‘Playing with Light’ fun!

From the moment you step in to the gallery, you will see a huge ‘cube like’ display that houses an array of sensors that will light up as the children walk past them and through the structure … complete with sound effects, this first ‘taste’ of the interactive nature of the exhibit will make sure that the kids are enthralled right from the outset!

Interactive fun!

The Playing with Light exhibition has over 22 interactive displays suitable for children aged 4 to 12 years and with light ‘toys’ for toddlers too! ALL the experiences are interactive, you can move, touch, draw, write, paint, dance, hop, dodge and even ‘freeze your shadow’ using light as you move from station to station.

Trust me… there wasn’t a ‘colouring-in’ area to be found! Just hands on ‘create your own’ light-show fiesta!

What were our favourites?

Dancing Shadows (downstairs)

The kids loved this – of course they had to ‘Floss’ their way through this exhibit!

Freeze your shadow (upstairs)

We literally could NOT get the kids out of this exhibit!! The more they made themselves into silly poses, the more poses they wanted to try. THEN they found the torches that they used to give themselves ‘crowns’ and ‘unicorn horns’ and other things that we probably shouldn’t put on a family friendly review… 😉

Dodge the lasers (upstairs)

Playing with Light - Ipswich Art gallery

This is another exhibit that the kids kept going back to. They had to move through the laser beams without breaking the connection – ala Catherine Zeta Jones style… Once they had mastered getting through without penalty, they wanted to do it faster and with less ‘moves’. They bounced back and forwards between this exhibit and the ‘freeze your shadow’ exhibit!

Video review – Playing with Light

Watch our video review to get a real feel for some of the exhibits and add this to your school holiday bucket list.

SHARE and TAG ALL THE PEOPLE on Facebook too!

All the useful information

Dates: Sunday 1 Dec 2018 – Sunday 28 Apr 2019 (closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year’s Day)

Times: 10am – 5pm daily

Cost: $5 per person or $15 for a Family Pass (admits up to 5 people. Must include at least 1 adult). FREE for under 2s

Bookings: No Bookings Required for Families/ Individuals.* Pay at the door. EFTPOS available.

Age suitability: Recommended for ages 4-12 years. WARNING: Children must be supervised by an accompanying adult or carer.

This exhibition was created by SCITECH, Perth, Western Australia.

For more information visit the Ipswich Art Gallery website.

Splasdash Galaxy

We were lucky enough to get invited to the preview show so we could tell you about it from our point of view (and from the kids!)

Slapdash Galaxy is a one man show designed to entertain and delight audiences from around age 5+. On our visit there were some younger kids who were not huge fans of the early special effects. My guess is that they were a little scared. Kids aged around 5+ were engaged through the whole show with most sitting still on the cushions at the front or the chairs behind the cushions with their parents.

What is Slapdash Galaxy about?

This entertaining, one man show is about shadow puppets in space! Two brothers embark on an epic quest to find a new home planet…. there are props and lights and clever use of dry ice and bubbles (all the best shows have bubbles!).

It is the tale of Sam and Junior: two brothers, who must flee their barren planet, and embark on an epic quest across the galaxy. Using the contents of your cleaning cupboard, Bunk Puppets’ David Geddes conjures up astonishing lo-fi theatrical wizardry using only old boxes, bubble wrap, drinking straws, tennis balls, ping pong bats and old toys. It’s a crazy shadow puppet universe, made from bits of rubbish.

What happens during the show?

The show opens with David blowing into his hands that then light up with coloured lights… it’s both cool and curious. It makes you wonder how he is doing it and what other magic tricks we would see. The audience was instantly engaged.

David cleaverly weaves his story telling, using different voices and props, to keep the kids entertained with age appropriate jokes and a touch of magic.

Everyone knows that when working with kids a little bit of audience participation goes a long way and my very own Master 11 was asked to come on stage to be the ‘bad guy’ (pic above).

Throughout the show, David flies the rockets into the audience and steps carefully between the kids to involve them. The kids laughed and squeeled with delight when the rocket ship would land on their heads!

He also chose a parent vounteer to briefly hold a torch and other children to be part of the show too!

Ipswich Art Gallery

Families Tip: Let your kids know that when he asks for volunteers to put their hand up HIGH and FAST… he may choose the first hand sees!

He has a cardboard box that blows GIANT smoke(?) rings (might be dry ice), across the heads of the audience to a very audible ‘wow’. All the kids in our audience put their hands up to try to touch them!

The 55 minute show will have everyone enthralled as the story progresses to a satisfactory conclusion (obviously I won’t spoil the ending for you, let’s just say it’s a ‘happy ending’).

What happens after the show?

Ipswich Art Gallery

After the show (and indeed before it if you are early), head back downstairs so the kids can make their very own shadow puppets using the craft material provided.When we attended, there were staff from the gallery to help the kids make their creations!

The Ipswich Art Gallery has also set up lights on tables so the kids can play with their hands in the lights to create their own puppets. Our kids were super keen to try out what they saw in the show!

Families Tip: You might need to plan an exit strategy – the kids love it here, so you may struggle to get them to leave unless you have a reason for them to go!

What the kids thought

Master 11: It was great, I loved that I got to be in the show!

Master 9: I liked the rockets and the sound effects.

Miss 7: I thought it was funny. I liked it when the alien ate the girl’s hair.

Master 8: I liked the special effects – the smoke rings were cool!


We went along with a friend who didn’t know that we were going to a show (she thought it was an exhibit like the ones mentioned below). I invited her for one specific reason… her family are self confessed ‘non-theatre people’, as she and her boys are not fans of sitting still and watching shows! If we were allowed to take photos during the show, I would have had plenty of opportunities to document her very engaged children watching the show (they didn’t budge from their seats) and she didn’t roll her eyes once! LOL

If that is not a glowing recommendation for this show, then I dont know what is!

All the useful information

Dates: Saturday 22 September to Sunday 7 October 2018

Times: Session times vary. Each performance is 55 minutes duration. No intermission. Book & pay online.

Cost: $7 per person (FREE for under 2s not occupying a seat)

Bookings: Bookings essential! NB online bookings close at 9am for sessions that day. Limited walk-in tickets may be available on the day for purchase in person from the info desk (unless the session is fully sold out). Please check ticket time and date as they are unable to refund.

Age group: Recommended for 5 years +. Parental guidance is recommended for under 5’s as some scenes may be scary.

Watch our video review for the Ipswich Art Gallery here then scroll down for opening times, prices and further details:

Built for Speed at the Ipswich Art Gallery

Escape the heat at the Ipswich Art Gallery this summer and visit Built for Speed for an awesome hands-on experience the whole family can enjoy. (Like, for real, the dads we saw today were like little kids and some were down-right competitive!)

Be your own engineer and build your dream racer! Design, build and race your LEGO® hot rod, dragster or supercar down rad ramps and slick tracks. Modify your ride for extra speed then re-race your turbocharged wheels for ultimate victory!

Ipswich Art Gallery - Built for Speed

Ramp Building

Downstairs in the (well air conditioned) Ipswich Art Gallery, is the creative spaces where kids can construct their very own racing tracks with the materials provided using their imaginations…. there are multiple track options so your child (and you too if you like) can unleash your inner engineer with the return of the popular ‘build your own’ racing tracks. Create your own track using the materials provided including tubes and recycled materials to send your racer speeding on its way. See if you can make the best, longest, loop-the-loop racing track ever!

Ipswich Art Gallery - Built for Speed

Families Tip: Take your jumper – their air-conditioning is VERY good!

Racing Track Installation

The racing track fun continues in the next room downstairs with the purpose built racing tracks. Your kids can (ok, yes you and your partner can ‘help’ too!) create their own LEGO® racer to speed down these massive tracks putting their building skills against their siblings, friends and other visitors.

Ipswich Art Gallery - Built for Speed

Ready, Set, Fun at the Ipswich Art Gallery

After you (I mean your kids) have perfected your racing car downstairs, take the new design upstairs to ‘beat the clock’ and have your name recorded in the ‘wall of fame’ for the fastest time. Practice on more ramps and race your family and friends to be the champion of all time…

Ipswich Art Gallery - Built for Speed

Families Tip: You may have a difficult time getting your kids to leave – make sure you give them a 10 minute warning, it could get teary!

All the useful information:

Dates: Friday 17 November 2017 to Sunday 18 February 2018 (closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day)

Times: 10am-5pm daily

Cost: All Ages All Day Entry $5 per person

$15 for a Family Pass (Admits up to 5 people. Must include at least 1 adult)

Free for babies and toddlers under 2 years.

Bookings: No bookings required – pay at the door

Age Group: All ages. Recommended for ages 4 to 12 years. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

WARNING: Choking hazard – contains small parts. Children must be supervised by an adult over 18 years

What else is there for kids to do in Ipswich?

We HIGHLY recommend a visit to the amazing Ipswich Children’s Library. Read our full review here.

 Another great way to make the most of your visit to Ipswich is with a trip to the Ipswich Nature Centre.

Check out the Nicholas Street Precinct in Ipswich.

Whether you are into fast cars, vintage trains or jaw dropping aircraft aerobatics, Planes, Trains and Autos held annually in Ipswich has something for you!

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.

2 thoughts on “Ipswich Art Gallery Treasure Hunt | What Will You Discover?”

  1. Hi Yee, I’ve spoken to Ipswich Art Gallery and Built for Speed is coming back either at the end of 2020 or 2021. You can sign up to their newsletter here to get all the updates 🙂

  2. We had enjoyed the “Built for Speed” programme in early 2018. We wonder if you ever organise this fun time again.
    We’d like to be informed of any school holiday programmed you put on for kids.
    Thank you.


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