Almost every weekend, at locations all around Brisbane you're likely to find some free community events. We are really lucky here that there are so many community organisations, sponsors and government agencies that are always willing to put their hand up and help in putting these events together! We like to support these events by going along, buying a few things at the local stalls and making an effort to contribute to making the event a success! Plus we get to have a fun time as well! The Backyard Bonanza at Bracken Ridge is a really great community event! Heaps of things to check out, rides for the kids, entertainment and to top it all off, it coincides with the Lions Club's monthly running of miniature trains!
We set off on our way to Bracken Ridge at a relaxed pace - it's not too far out (to the north) of the city so even with getting the kids up, fed and ready there was little stress. We realised when we arrived that it is certainly a popular event as there was plenty of cars there - we managed to find a park ok but we had maybe a 500m walk to the event. There is a small car park on site, but it was closed off for the day's events.
Set up in McPherson Park, we found no problems navigating our way around the event as the whole festival was reasonably compact and there was something of interest wherever we walked. It's a nice little playgound and park area, so taking the pram was no hassle at all - there are a number of concrete paths winding through the park, however you do need to watch out for the trains! There was also a few different options for food and drinks so bringing your own food was optional, however the park is nice and shady and is a great spot for a picnic!
Upon arrival, the kids had a bit of a blinkered view of things and headed straight for the little playground - it didn't matter that there were carnival rides or miniature trains in the vicinity, they wanted to play on the playground! That said, it didn't take them long to realise that there was more going on in this park. So, after a few minutes we bought our tickets and had a few laps on the miniature trains! The trains run every fourth month regardless of the BYB festival, and aren't they fun! Really well organised by the Lions Club, these are worth a visit in their own right. But there was more to this festival than the activities that are a regular occurrence here, so off we went to explore!
Once we had prised (with some effort) the kids off the trains, we had a wander around the rest of the festival. We had a bit of time to get through before a special visitor got up on stage! There was a great little exhibit set up by the Brisbane City Council Libraries with a craft table, handouts and books to read! It's amazing how much fun a few pieces of coloured paper, some scissors and some glue can provide! In other parts of the festival there was also music, dancing, skate displays, signing and carnival rides! But the one event that the kids were waiting for was a visit from a very popular character in Captain Barnacles from Octonauts! It was an interactive and very popular show which all the kids loved!
We don't think that we could identify anything really wrong with this event - heaps of things to engage the kids, entertainment, rides, music, craft and of course, the miniature trains! The trains and the carnival rides were paid events and there were plenty of free activities, I think that it would have been difficult to attend with kids without paying for something (the trains are hard to resist!). Captain Barnacles was a crowd favourite and hopefully they will bring back a similar show in future years! This one is certainly worth a visit.
Amenities: Toilet block and port-a-loos! 👍👍👍
Cost: Free to enter, but you will have to pay for the miniature trains and carnival rides! 👍👍
Parking: Limited but adequate street parking! 👍👍👍
Access: No problems at all - pram friendly! 👍👍👍👍
Entertainment: That's what this event is all about! 👍👍👍
Best for: Probably best for kids between 3 and 10! 👍👍👍
Wildlife: Not too much to see here (although we did see a talking polar bear!) 👍
Summary: A nice, simple day out for those in the north of Brisbane! Very easy to get around and enjoy what's on offer, it should keep you entertained for a good half day! 👍👍👍
Hints: Keep an eye out for similar events in your suburb!
Brisbane Family Explorers