The Complete Guide to School Holiday Activities in Brisbane
School holidays are coming! We’ve put together a guide to school holiday activities in Brisbane for the upcoming school holidays. Here’s how to treat your kids to an amazing break without blowing the budget! Add this page to your bookmark bar right now for an at-a-glance, go to resource for parents this school holiday period.
Getting out and about in your neck of the woods
When the kids have had a lovely morning in but you’re starting to get “I’m borrrreeddd” complaints, here’s a few ideas for getting your kids out and about in your part of Brisbane. For a full list, check out these “local guides”:
Half Day Train Trips:
FREE things to do for Brisbane kids!
Get the kids out of the house and doing some cool things over the school break. Here’s ten ideas for cool experiences and activities that are free in Brisbane.
Queensland Museum, South Brisbane
We are so lucky to have the Museum on our doorstep. It houses permanent and changing exhibitions. It is a great place to teach the children about Queenland’s history. There are lots of hands on exhibits. Most of the Museum is free, the visiting exhibits usually have an entrance fee. There is a family friendly café on the premises which is great for a quick coffee or lunch. It is pram friendly and a place where you can set your own pace. Opening Hours are 9.30am – 5pm daily. Click here.
Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, South Brisbane QAGOMA
QAGOMA is also located in the Cultural Precinct of South Bank. It houses over 16 000 works of Modern Art. Entry to the Children’s Art Centre is free. Here you will find interactive installations, artist projects and activities for your Brisbane Family. The projects and activities change throughout the year to keep your little ones interested. There are different dining options to suit you from a café to a restaurant. Or pack a picnic and sit in the lovely grounds that surround the Gallery. They are open daily from 10am – 5pm. Read our GOMA Review to find out more!
Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha
These Botanic Gardens are a favourite for Brisbane Families. You can either pack a picnic and enjoy it amongst the gardens, or visit the café for coffee or lunch. You can venture along the hide and seek children’s trail, where your children can hunt for native bees, a crocodile, water dragons, dragonflies and other critters. You can easily head up Mt Coot-tha when you are finished in the gardens and let your children see Brisbane from a different perspective.
South Bank, South Brisbane
Located on the banks of the Brisbane River, South Bank is 17 acres of lush parklands full of play areas for children, eateries and an amazing lagoon and water park area. And best of all, you can use it all for free! It is easy to spend a whole day here in the warmer months, playing in the water and exploring the play areas. The views are fantastic and the atmosphere happy! There is always something happening at South Bank and their new playground is nothing short of spectacular.
Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane
If you are heading into the city with your Brisbane Family, make sure you visit the Museum of Brisbane, located in Brisbane City Hall. City Hall itself is beautiful to walk around and you can catch the lift up to level 3 to where the museum is housed. This is not a museum of fossils and bones, it is dedicated to the living history of our city. You can book in for a free tour of the Clock Tower for an insight into how the clock tower was built and how it operates. You travel up into the clock tower in a lift and get a bird’s eye view of the city. Pretty special! The Museum is open 10am – 5pm daily and the tour operates from 10.15am – 4.45pm every 15 minutes.
Daisy Hill Koala Reserve, Daisy Hill
Do your children love koalas? If so this is the place to take them and it is all FREE! This dedicated Koala education facility has large koala enclosures and lots of interactive displays. There are two level boardwalks from which you can view the koalas. It is a great place for a picnic and opportunities for bush walking and spotting other critters and creatures. Open daily 10am – 4pm.
CityHopper, Various destination in the City
The CityHopper will help you fall in love with our city again! It is a free ferry service that runs every 30mins from 6am to midnight, seven days a week. The CityHopper travels along the Brisbane River, stopping at North Quay, South Bank 3, Maritime Museum, Thornton Street, Eagle Street Pier, Holman Street, Dockside and Sydney Street terminals.
Settlement Cove, Redcliffe
Located bayside at Redcliffe, Settlement Cove will trick you into thinking you have landed on a tropical island. With clear blue waters, palm trees and lots of sunshine (hopefully!) it is like a little piece of paradise. There is a little water play area for the youngest of your Brisbane Family, BBQs, a shady playground and picnic facilities. You can easily spend a day here. Click here.
Robelle Domain Parklands, Springfield
This spectacular parklands has so much to offer. There are 11kms of boardwalks, walking and cycling tracks, amazing water park areas, playgrounds, picnic facilities, waterfalls and a café. What else do you need for a relaxing day out?
City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane
Have you been to visit the new all abilities playground yet? Children of all abilities can play in this park, with wide access for wheelchairs and upgraded toilet facilities with a ceiling hoist. The Gardens are a magical place to spend the day and the children will love exploring them. There are free guided tours available at 11am & 1pm Monday to Saturday, where you can learn more about the plants and the features of the Gardens.
School holiday activities for under $10
Fancy an affordable day out? Here’s five activities that your kids will LOVE for under a tenner per child!
Brisbane Tramway Museum, Ferny Grove
You can step back in time in Brisbane and ride a tram at the Tramway Museum as many times as your Brisbane Family would like. Set in a bush land setting, you can explore restored trams and other reminders of Brisbane’s tramway era. There are plenty of spots for picnics and souvenirs and drinks available. It is open Sundays from 12.30 – 4pm. Children cost $6.50.
Queensland Maritime Museum, South Brisbane
You can discover historic vessels of all shapes and sizes at the Maritime Museum. It is located on the banks of the Brisbane River at South Bank. You can take a complimentary audio guided tour to make the most of your visit. The children will enjoy the big exhibits such as the warship Diamantina. It is open daily from 9.30am – 4.30pm. Children cost $7.00.
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, Mt Coot-tha
If your little ones are interested in all things astronomical, then this is the place for them. You can view regular shows in the Cosmic Skydome which are projected onto the dome. These shows are recommended for different age groups, so check that detail when deciding which show to go to. There is also the Galaxy Gift Shop where you can buy all things cosmic. The Planetarium is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Read our Planetarium review and check the website for opening times as they do vary. Children aged 3 – 14 years cost $9.40.
Ipswich Art Gallery, Ipswich
Ipswich Art Gallery is Australia’s first permanent interactive children’s space designed for the under twelves. They are committed to delivering child-centred programs that you will not see anywhere else. They have different exhibitions that are VERY hands on for the children. This is not a place for the children to be directed by adults, it is a space for the children to really explore and self direct. The exhibits for the children range from free to around the $5.00 mark. They are open daily from 10am – 5pm. Watch our Ipswich Art Gallery video review here.
Bricks n Fun, Capalaba
If you have a Lego lover in your house, then this is the place for them. They have a Lego Buildroom where the kids can go for a 1 hour or 2 hour session. There is a massive variety of LEGO kits they can choose from and sit and build them. All of the instructions are included and there is something to suit all abilities. There are only 12 children allowed per session so there is plenty of room for the LEGO creations. There is also LEGO displays to look at and become inspired from. Sessions run from 10am each day until 4.00 or 5.00pm. One hour sessions cost $8.50.
BIG days out over the December and January school holidays
Right, it’s not just about the big ticket theme parks. There’s other great ways to treat your kids to an amazing school holiday excursion. Here’s some ideas for an amazing family day out over the break – that aren’t just about the theme parks!
Perception Deception at the Sciencentre, South Brisbane
The Sciencentre is located on Level 1 of the Queensland Museum. They have permanent and changing exhibitions and your Brisbane Family can be very hands on to learn more about science. Perception Deception is the exhibition from the September school holidays. Suitable for ages 10 and up, Perception Deception is a collection of 28 hands-on exhibits and 60 interactive multimedia experiences that challenge our sensory signals to create our perception of the things and people around us. Perception Deception is the ultimate display of mind trickery to test and fool visitor’s perceptions. Lift shapes of the same weight, though due to texture, the brain perceives them as lighter and heavier. Adult: $14.50 Concession/Full-time Student: $12.50 Child (3-15) (must be accompanied by an adult 18+) $11.50 Family: (2 Adults/Concessions & up to 4 Children) $44.50. See more details on the Sciencentre and all that is happening there.
School Holiday Fun at The Workshops Rail Museum, Ipswich
For a relaxed day out with your Brisbane Family, you can’t go past The Workshops Rail Museum. There is so much to do here – you can drive a train on the simulator, check out the miniature railway, explore the history of trains, get hands on with the interactive exhibits, get creative at the Creation Station and let off steam at the indoor playground Nippers Railway. The children can also build wooden toy trains and carriages in the Wood Workshop (these workshops cost $10.00 and are not included in the entry price). You can either pack a picnic or buy food from the café onsite. They are open daily 9.30am – 4pm. Children cost $12.00. Read our Ipswich Rail Museum review here.
Junior and Teen Keeper for a Day, Fig Tree Pocket
Your children can spend a day with an experienced wildlife education officer at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. They will discover all areas, including behind the scenes, of the Sanctuary. They will get to clean enclosures, feed the animals, train birds of prey and get a photo with a koala as well as much more. Cost is $98.00 per child. Bookings essential.
Kids Dig It, Caboolture
The Abbey Museum will once again host another amazing school holiday activity, with this programs them being all things Medieval! To tie in with their Medieval Festival which is just around the corner, the Museum will have a range of fun and educational activities on offer including a medieval dig, archery, drumming workshops, story tellings, dress ups, and many fun arts and crafts to keep little hand busy. With doors opening at 9:30 and activities beginning at 10am, this is one school holiday program you do not want to miss! Book your tickets online to receive 10% off!
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, Mt Coot-tha
Another fun activity to do is to visit the Sir Thomas Planetarium at Mt Cootha. The planetarium will feature a variety of different shows on the day, including ‘Black Holes: Journey into the Unknown’ (3pm) and ‘The Search for Life: are we alone?’. The child friendly show ‘Perfect Little Planet’ is also playing and is recommended for children from the age of 5. You could pack a picnic and make the most of the Botanic Gardens afterwards or there is an onsite café.
Maleny Dairies, Maleny
For a big day out, head up to one of our favourites – Maleny Diaries! They run farm tours multiple times a day. You will get to pat calves, get to see where the cows get milked (at the 2.30 session, you will see them getting milked), see the factory where the milk is processed and bottled and at the end of the tour, you will get to sample some of the dairy goodness. Click here and see our video review.
Theatre & Stage Shows for Kids in Brisbane in the December and January School Holidays and beyond
After her family’s annual celebration, little Clara is wide awake on Christmas Eve. Everyone has gone to sleep, the clock chimes midnight and a magical fantasy unfolds before her eyes! With the magnificent music of Tchaikovsky and lavish sets and costumes, Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker is a must-see Christmas treat. QPAC
In this fairy tale classic, love between a sweet young woman and a ghastly beast is only a heartbeat away. Brisbane Arts Theatre.
Parents and children the world over will recognise the bizarre excuses a child makes to keep the light on at bedtime. Emily Brown and the Thing demonstrates the importance of talking with children and finding out what is really going on in their complex imaginations. QPAC
Following a sell-out season of The 13-Storey Treehouse in April, the official world premiere of The 78-Storey Treehouse comes to QPAC!
The forever romance, the hundred year classic, the most heart-warming dancing you will see this year. The Russian National Ballet Theatre will draw the audience into this tragic love story. ‘For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo’ William Shakespeare. RPAC.
A beautiful princess must sleep for 100 years – until woken by true love’s kiss… Experience all the dazzling wonder of The Sleeping Beauty in a live, interactive production created especially for children aged 3 and up. Fairies in glittering tutus, storybook characters, and a prince’s quest – all set to Tchaikovsky’s hum-along score.
Running for under an hour, and packed with favourite characters like Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, this narrated version of The Sleeping Beautywill have both boys and girls dancing all the way home. Don’t forget to dress up in your favourite ballet-inspired outfit! Click here for more information.
The Wiggly Christmas Big Show will feature all your favourite Wiggles songs such as Do the Propeller and Rock A Bye Your Bear, as well as Christmas songs like Go Santa Go! You’ll see The Wiggles, their Wiggly friends and dancers, Santa Claus, dancing reindeers and for the first time ever, it will snow on stage! Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
Christmas would not be Christmas without The Nutcracker! Come and celebrate the holidays with us, joining the magical adventure of Clara, Fritz and The Nutcracker as they battle the evil Rat King. After Swan Lake’s success in touring Australia last year, The Russian National Ballet Theatre returns, this time bringing the world’s greatest classic ballet: The Nutcracker. RPAC.
The halls will be decked, the stockings hung. December 2017 welcomes back Spirit of Christmas, with all our favourite carols to be sung. Presented in the grandeur of QPAC’s Concert Hall, Spirit of Christmas has become a cherished annual tradition at QPAC. So gather your friends and family and join us for this magnificent celebration, including traditional carols the whole family can join in and sing.
Following their sold out Australian tour in January 2017, Dr Chris and Dr Xand, the stars of hit ABC Me children’s television series Operation Ouch!, are coming back to Australia with a brand new show! Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Celebrate the festive season with The Spirit of Christmas, starring tenor Roy Best, soprano Alison Rae Jones, compere Chris McKenna with Len Vorster on the piano. It will be a musical morning full of Christmas favourites with a wonderful blend of traditional Christmas carols mixed with some contemporary Christmas songs and plenty of funny moments to keep you laughing until Christmas Day! SUNPAC
Directed by former Circus Oz Artistic Director Mike Finch, The Funatorium: Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is a delightfully chaotic cabaret for kids that features the country’s top talent from the realms of circus and cabaret. Led by Monica Trapaga (Play School), this immersive party experience features an all-star cast of circus luminaries performing fiendish precision juggling, comic hula tricks, incredible hand-balances and surreal aerial acrobatics. Pop on your hat, raise your tea pinky, get your silly faces on and join Alice in Wonderland favourites The Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat and The Queen of Hearts in a show full of acrobatics, circus, singing, dancing and roller skates! QPAC
More explosive than ever before, Brainiac Live! will take you on a breathless ride through the weird and wide world of science in an hour-long action-packed show full of big bangs and plenty of laughs. The show that laughs in the face of science comes to QPAC with messy, loud and live all-action experiments and demonstrations set to blow your minds. Watch from the safety of your seats as the Brainiacs delve fearlessly into the mysteries of science an d do all of the things on stage that are too scary to do at home – from daredevil stunts to freezing fingers with liquid nitrogen. Kids who want a hands on experience can upgrade their ticket to join the Brainiac Detective Academy workshop and becoming a Trainee Brainiac Detective. The interactive workshop will take kids through real forensic techniques to discover clues and help the brainiacs solve a crime! QPAC
Enter the magical underwater world of Ballet Theatre of Queensland’s The Little Mermaid, an enchanting ballet based on the Hans Christian Anderson classic tale of love, loss and discovery. Choreographed by Timothy Brown, with exquisite sets and costumes, The Little Mermaid showcases the talents of Queensland’s finest young dancers, in a ballet that will enchant both the young and the young at heart. QPAC
Adam Savage and Michael Stevens have joined forces to bring this one of a kind interactive, hands-on, minds-on theatrical experience to Australia. They’re master explainers, who bring along their crazy toys, incredible tools and mind-blowing demonstrations for a celebration of curiosity that literally has audiences shouting “more” after their favourites. Audiences are engaged and enthusiastic test subjects, as they spend two hours laughing, learning and exploring during a theatrical experience like no other. Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.