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Top Five Free Things to Do With Kids in Brisbane CBD

Home > Brisbane > Adventure | Cheap | Family | Free | Lists
by S Lynn (subscribe)
A freelance writer and bargain hunter with wanderlust, recently moved to Perth from Brisbane.
Published October 7th 2019
Magical day trip in Brisbane City
The city is not just a place with tall buildings where people flock to every morning for work or a tourist spot where people go to shop. If you live in the suburbs, a day trip into the city with a toddler can be a magical adventure filled with delight and wonder especially if you take public transport into the city.

Once in the city, there are plenty of free activities to do regardless of the weather and schedule. If you have kids I'm sure you have experienced having the best intentions to attend an organised event at a certain time but had to miss out because your child ended up sleeping or dawdling.

A day trip to the city is flexible and you can change the order of the activities depending on your child's mood. Although some of the indoor activities have opening hours, they are open almost every day and you can browse at a time which suits you.

1) South Bank Parklands

If the weather is good, kids love to go to the South Bank Parklands on Little Stanley Street. There is a beach and swimming area called Streets Beach which feels like you are in the middle of a resort on a sunny day. My child can spend the whole day just in this area if I let her. There is also an area called Aquativity which is basically an interactive water play area and splash pad which younger kids simply love. If you want to take a break from swimming, there are plenty of eateries nearby, some of them resort-style.

Next to the swimming area is a large playground called Riverside Green with a fun pirate ship, slides and areas catered to different ages. This is not an ordinary playground either as some of the equipment span great heights it's more of an adventure park for curious and active kids.

2) Free ferry rides

If your child has had enough of the South Bank Parklands (it can be hard to drag them away), the lure of going on a ferry ride should be strong enough to convince them. Best of all, this wonderful activity is free! Brisbane City Council has a free CityHopper every 30 minutes which runs between 6am and midnight, seven days a week.

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The ferry stops at the below terminals:
North Quay, Brisbane City
South Bank 3, South Brisbane
Maritime Museum, South Brisbane
Thornton Street, Kangaroo Point
Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane City
Holman Street, Kangaroo Point
Dockside, Kangaroo Point
Sydney Street, New Farm

When you hop on the ferry you can either sit inside or climb the stairs to feel the wind whipping in your hair while you take in the sights of the city (my child's favourite).

3) City Botanic Gardens

Hop off at Eagle Street Pier and catch the free bus to the Botanic Gardens. If your child is into nature, the City Botanic Gardens is a bit of peace and quiet in the city. This oasis is very shady on a hot day with river frontage and ornamental ponds.

Your kids might like the sculptures that are dotted around the gardens. There is also a cannon set up as a firing battery on the bank of the river. This cannon was cast in 1803 and faces the river next to the pathway near the Alice Street entry.

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There are free guided walks at the Botanic Gardens from Monday to Saturday if your child is at an age where they are fascinated by the different types of flora.

4) Museum of Brisbane and Clock Tower tour

After the Botanic Gardens, you can hop back on the free bus to head to the Museum of Brisbane next to King George Square Station. Entry is free and it is open from 10am to 5pm daily or 10am to 7pm on Fridays.

It is located on level 3, City Hall, Brisbane City.
A major drawcard here is the clock tower tour which you will need to book in for. This runs every 15 mins and you are taken up the Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower in a beautiful old, hand operated lift for a bird's eye view of the city. There is a special after dark clock tower tour on Fridays between 5pm-7pm so you can enjoy the city at night.

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There is also a Brisbane City Hall tour if you would like to have a look at the civic seat of the city which is home to the Lord Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

5) Queensland Museum

If the weather has turned, you can head back to the Queensland Museum. General admission is free with charges for special exhibitions. Open daily from 9.30am and 5pm. My child absolutely loved this with displays of dinosaurs and animals being her favourite.

At the moment there is a Lost Creatures exhibition where your children can explore prehistoric times. Entertainment and learning at the same time a real bonus.
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Where: Brisbane City
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Great article, S Lynn!
by Elaine (score: 3|8195) 617 days ago
Isn't it terrific that the city provides so many opportunities for free.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|8098) 617 days ago
Good choices for children and adults.
by May Cross (score: 3|7899) 617 days ago
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