If you're looking for fun, Brisbane is the place to be. The river city is famous for its family-friendly appeal, but a day out with the kids doesn't have to drain the piggybank. Thanks to a little local knowledge, we've put together a list of budget-friendly activities that aren't just easy on the wallet – they'll score you some serious brownie points too!
Book a Paddington walking tour with our friends at Brisbane Greeters and enjoy a casual stroll through the ‘hood of Australia’s most lovable cartoon blue heeler, Bluey. Your Bluey-loving youngster can say ‘wackadoo’ while you take in some of the architecture and history of Paddington, Rosalie and Red Hill. All that walking’s sure to work up an appetite, so once you’re done why not stop to refuel at one of Paddington’s great cafes.
Start their appreciation for art early with a game of 'I spy' through Brisbane’s laneways using the artworks in the Outdoor Gallery. The exhibits are constantly changing so make sure you check back regularly to keep the game fresh. While you’re in the city, duck into the Museum of Brisbane for an additional hit of art, culture and history. Bonus points for downloading the free MoB Kids @ Home activities, so they can channel all of that new-found creative energy.
With more than 2160 parks across the city and great weather year-round, a trip to your local park is the perfect way to burn off youthful energy. Pack snacks, scooters and sunscreen and head off on a family adventure at firm favourites like New Farm Park, Roma Street Parkland and South Bank. Or discover a new favourite haunt like Torwood Park at Auchenflower (the adorable Peach Cafe next door will have all your caffeine needs covered) or Kidspace Playground in 7th Brigade Park in Chermside.
If your kids would rather do a day on wheels, Brisbane’s BMX parks and skate parks have you covered. Whether they skateboard, blade, BMX or scooter, there’s a track for them to have a ‘wheely’ good time while you cheer from the sidelines.
While belting out David Bowie’s Space Oddity won’t win you kudos with the kids, a trip to Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium certainly will. Sit back and relax under the Cosmic Skydome as you jet off on an outer space adventure. Conveniently located in the heart of the Mt Coot-tha precinct, you can make a day of it exploring the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, waterfalls and Hide 'n' Seek Children's Trail.
For real-life stargazing, head to one of our lookouts after dark and explore the cosmos at your own pace. Our vote goes to Mount Gravatt Outlook Reserve for its 180-degree cityscape views.
Do your kids love anything that floats, flies or drives? Spend the day indulging their passion for public transport by riding one of Brisbane’s buses, exploring the river onboard a CityCat or traversing the suburbs via train. You can also pack a picnic and head to one of Brisbane Airport’s dedicated plane spotting sites to experience the magic of flight firsthand (minus the airfare).
Keep little hands and minds busy at your local Council library with a range of workshops and maker spaces for kids to explore their creativity.
Creative Kids Brisbane in West End also has a calendar of activities to encourage imagination including glittery star mobiles, crazy car paintings and more.
Head to Reverse Garbage Queensland in Woolloongabba to stock up on ideas and supplies for eco-inspired DIY projects.
If your kids love books, open their minds to wonderful tales and adventures at a storytime session at a Council library, or head to storytime at a Brisbane bookshop inclulding Quick Brown Fox (Grange) and the Where the Wild Things Are Bookshop (West End). If your kids are Harry Potter fans, treat them to a visit to the Harry Potter room at Manly's Mad Hatter's Bookshop.
Want even more family-friendly inspiration and activities? Head to Brisbetter Explore to discover more fun things to see and do near you.
On the go? Download the Brisbane app today to discover and share the best things to see and do around Brisbane.
Editor's note: The featured content in Brisbane Explore is created to inspire residents and visitors to plan a day out exploring Brisbane. Brisbane City Council disclaims any relationship with, or endorsement of, businesses featured in this article.
**This article was updated in November 2023.**
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