The Gold Coast is famous for its outdoor lifestyle of sun, sand and beaches. In the summer, it is one of the best places in the world for children to get out and play in, with families often seen surfing, skating and bike-riding all along the coast, and in the winter there is still plenty for the family to do, without breaking the budget!
1. Baby Rhyme Time
If you are home with a baby or young child under 6 years old, Baby Rhyme Time is a great free activity to take your little one to. Held at 10 libraries around the coast,
Baby Rhyme Time is held by library staff and attended by a huge audience of Mum's wanting to get out of the house! The first time that we attended it was completely by accident, on a trip to the library, when we were lured in by the voices of dozens of mothers with small children on their laps singing "if you're happy and you know it,.." and dancing their little people around on their laps.
Parents who need to get out and see other parents singing silly songs too!
Especially recommended for:
Mum's who have been alone in the house for too long and need to bond with other mum's who don't mind the sight of a little baby vomit on new friends!
2. Story Time
Also hosted by the Gold Coast City Libraries,
story time is held at all of the major libraries in the Gold Coast and is run by lovely and attentive staff who read to a large group of babies and toddlers, giving Mum's and Dad's a much-needed rest. Story time is recommended for children from 3 - 5 years old, as younger babies have been seen to get bored quickly at the event and may try to escape and start unpacking the shelves in the library.
Parents who have read The Little Tug-Boat
one time too many
Especially recommended for:
Mum's who have a baby and
a toddler in the house (you need a break - and this is a good way to get it!). If your baby is the one who is usually in the corner climbing up the book shelves, definitely consider bringing a sling/ carrier though.
With a large and diverse community, there are playgroups on the Gold Coast to suit every type of family. From the Natural, Attachment & Aware Parenting Group
who get together to discuss alternative parenting methods such as baby-lead weaning, and elimination communication, to The Gold Coast French Babies & Children's Playgroup
, who run specifically for french families, there is a group that is sure to fit in with your family.
4. Pelican-feeding at Labrador
We had lived in the Gold Coast for a whole year before we discovered that this existed! Located at Ian Dipple Lagoon at 371 Marine Parade, Labrador, hundreds of pelicans show up to be fed in spectacular fashion at 1.30pm daily by the staff at Charis Seafood. Completely free, dozens of people arrive daily to witness the incredible sight of these beautiful pelicans eating at this spectacular location off the beach. The parking here can get crowded, so leave a little early if you are wrangling more than one child, and take advantage of the amazing location complete with playground and a shallow swimming area for the little ones.
5.Jumping Pillow - Southport Broadwater Parklands
Before we moved to the Gold Coast, we used to have to wait until we were on holidays at one of the Big4 caravan parks for our children to have a chance to jump on these huge trampoline-like jumping pillows. So imagine our delight when we discovered the Broadwater parklands with a FREE jumping pillow for our children to play on! For those unfamiliar with jumping pillows, they look similar to what they sound - like massive, air-filled colourful pillows coming straight out of the ground. And everyone from small children to teenagers will love playing on them.
Toddlers and young children, with strict adult supervision. The pillows can be risky when they are over-crowded and it is easy for a small child to bounce too high in the wrong direction if left unattended!
To get the most out of the pillows:
Avoid peak-play times such as after-school drop off's (9am - 11am) and weekends. The jumping pillows are best enjoyed early in the mornings before the rush, or on week day afternoons before school ends for the day.
6. Drumming, dancing and circus at Burleigh Heads
After a full weekend of sun and sand, the drumming circle at Burleigh Heads is the perfect way for young families to end their weekend. Located just off the beach, free family activities such as tight-rope walking and baton-twirling start late in the afternoon, just before the main events of fire-twirling and the drumming circle. Babies and toddlers love participating in the circus events - throwing around colourful balls and for 4- 6 year olds, trying their hand at hula-hooping to festive music.
Everyone! On the first day that we attended the drumming, we were delighted to see a girl in a wheelchair being carefully assisted by one of the circus-activities hosts, until she got the hang of the circus play. Little children are assisted by big children, and teens are encouraged by friendly adults.
Not free for Mum or Dad, but toddlers get a great deal of free entry until they are 3 years old. Thia can be fantastic if you have multiple young children, or if you have just moved to the Gold Coast and are looking for a low-cost activity that you can do often.
When we first arrived to the Gold Coast, we bought Seaworld passes, and at around $100 on special, it is only $2 per week for one adult and your babies/toddlers to have a fun day out whenever you feel up to it! Food can be expensive at most of the theme parks, however the lovely staff are happy to let babies or very young children bring in baby food/ special food that is not available there (such as gluten-free or dairy-free items). Plus, you can always visit just after breakfast or lunch if you are on a very tight budget!