The Best Museums for Kids in Queensland
From an educational perspective; research backs up the benefits of museum visits for children being based on inspiring creativity, developing critical thinking and forging connections to the fascinating world around them.
But ask any child – and they just want to have fun. So with both sides equally considered; we’ve rounded up the best museums in Queensland for kids.
Queensland’s Pioneer Of Museums For Kids – Ipswich Art Gallery
Leading the way in interactive learning, Ipswich Art Gallery was the first museum in Australia to have a permanent, dedicated gallery space for children.
Founded on the principle that learning starts with interactive play. The gallery’s rolling exhibitions and activities for children involve getting hands on by creating art, building using foam blocks and exploring interactive spaces. A favourite – The Ball Run, encourages kids to use recycled materials and tubes to create the longest, most gravity-defying ball run, leaning about engineering, physics, problem solving and team work in the process.
Open 10am to 5pm daily, $20 for a Family Pass (Admits up to 4 people and must include at least 1 adult). Free for babies and toddlers under 2 years or adults at kids prices of $7
Ipswich Art Gallery, d’Arcy Doyle Place, Ipswich.
State Of Play at Queensland Museum
A free museum is a bonus for budget conscious families, but you will not be short changed in any case with a visit to the Queensland Museum. Spread over 5 intriguing levels, with permanent and changing exhibitions; your kids will not know where to look first with life sized dinosaurs at Playasaurus Place. Wild State is a taxidermy gallery stuffed with Australian animals and the ANZAC Legacy Gallery is a stirring tribute to our fallen heroes shared in a Queensland specific dialogue. The Lost Creatures exhibit will take them on a tour back through the species that once inhabited our State.
Allow their curiosity to hit overload at SparkLab Sciencentre as their inner scientist explores 40 exhibits over three zones designed to challenge, inspire, provoke and propel learning for 6-13 year olds. Be sure to visit the Science Bar to learn fascinating things including what a marshmallow looks like in the vacuum of outer space and all things that might not be as they seem until science steps in.
A perfect start to a cultural day out in Brisbane as the Queensland Museum is within walking distance of Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (which has a fantastic Children’s Art Centre full of hands-on activities) and Southbank’s spacious, family friendly parklands.
Open daily from 9.30am to 5pm, free entry, South Bank.
All Aboard – The Workshops Railway Museum, Ipswich
If your kids are keen Thomas The Tank Engine fans (in fact even if they are not), The Workshops Railway Museum will inspire your child to uptake an interest in trains. This is a multi-award winning museum with up to 20 exhibits to explore. Visit the lovingly restored locomotives, carriages and engines where kids can take a turn as a real life driver (or bossy conductor) in the simulator.
Watch their eyes light up when they see Queensland’s largest model railway, there’s a play area for budding rail workers and why not bring the grandparents to really stoke the nostalgia. Kids learn best when surrounded by the people they love and trust the most.
Open daily 9:30am to 4pm, $44.50 for a family pass (2 adults, up to 4 kids) or an annual pass for the family giving unlimited entry for $99.
Ipswich Railway Museum, North Street, North Ipswich.
Horsing Around in History at Cobb+Co Museum
The kids might not believe you when you tell them there was a time before planes, trains and automobiles, so a visit to the National Carriage Collection at Cobb+Co in Toowoomba might just surprise them. There’s 47 horse drawn vehicles on display, all of whom played an integral part in Queensland’s development and history.
But it doesn’t just stop at carriages. Kids can play dress ups in olde world garb, take a turn being a shop assistant in the Old Museum General Store or learn about the Diprotodon at the Megafauna exhibit. Once they know what a Diprotodon is (hint: it’s a marsupial the size of a rhinoceros), blow their minds with a 500kg Goanna called a Megalania that roamed the Darling Downs ten thousand years ago.
Side note – Cobbs Coffee Shop is home to the best scones in Toowoomba.
Open daily from 9.30 to 4pm, Family Passes are $32 for 2 adults and up to 4 children.
Cobb + Co Museum, Tafe Queensland Toowoomba Campus.
People’s Place – Museum of Brisbane
Experience the art, history and culture of Brisbane via an interactive journey where kids can immerse in art, craft, music and creativity as a means of learning. Housed at the Brisbane City Hall, the Museum of Brisbane has a revolving selection of family based activities underway ranging from silent discos and drum and music making workshops to providing a chance for little activists to express their hopes for a better future. Kids can create mini protest banners to leave as contributions on the felt board or take them home as positive affirmation that their little voices can be heard.
Open daily from 10am to 5pm, free entry, King George Square, Brisbane.
Outback Spirit – QANTAS Founders Museum
2020 is the centennial year of Australia’s own airline – QANTAS who took off for the first time from Longreach. Your kids will learn about the kind of spirit that Australians are renowned for but also the aeronautical excellence that took Australia to the World. You’ll find interactive aircraft exhibits, a flight simulator for the kids to test themselves as pilots and clues spread around the Founders Museum for kids to find as education dressed up as fun.
In celebratory style, 2020 will be the launch of ‘Luminescent Longreach’ – an epic light show beamed onto QANTAS aircraft.
And to herald 100 years of Australian aviation history further, QANTAS Constellations will be revealed. A fully restored Constellation Aircraft will be featured – the aircraft that enabled QANTAS to establish long-range overseas air services. The first to complete the Sydney to London QANTAS Kangaroo Route. The first to welcome in-flight hostesses on board and the first pressurised aircraft to fly for QANTAS. Take a tour to see just how far our passenger planes have come at the birthplace of Australian aviation.
For more things to do in Queensland with kids read here.
Go Troppo at The Museum of Tropical Queensland
You kids will learn all sorts of fascinating, fun facts at the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville. Take a virtual trip to the Great Barrier Reef by discovering the Ancient Seas and Reef Exhibition where kids can track the changes of the Queensland landscape over millions of years. Kids will delight in learning how the reef communicates via colour, light, pattern and textures. And they’ll take an interactive wander through the enchanted rainforest to explore the worlds oldest living ecosystem and the foundation of North Queensland’s important Wet Tropics Rainforest.
The Museum of Underwater Art, Townsville
The Museum of Underwater Art reveals much anticipated one of a kind underwater art gallery depicting reef conservation, education and restoration. It is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and designed by world renowned underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor (creator of MUSA in Mexico and Museo Atlantico in Spain).
Installations can be visited at Palm Island, The Strand, Magnetic Island and John Brewer Reef in Townsville, so get your masks ready, this is one your kids are going to love with the most unique immersive element of them all to get there.
Read here for more Queensland destinations you must visit in 2020.