Where is it: 6 Yoga Way, Springfield Central
What’s it all about: A wonderful and casual family café with fantastic healthy food and a relaxing and friendly atmosphere!
Tell me more: Have you ever struggled to find a café that serves yummy food that the kids will tuck into, but is also healthy to boot? Well, we’re sure that Raw Energy will satisfy both requirements! Offering a wonderful array of meals with a focus on healthy and full of energy foods, Raw Energy in Springfield is a fantastic choice for the kids as well! It has a casual and friendly vibe, super yummy food and heaps of activities for the kids (and adults) while you are waiting and dining – card games, books toys and even a little blackboard will certainly keep the little guys occupied while you relax and enjoy the food! Add to that the wonderful, relaxing views of the Orion Lagoon and it’s no wonder that this is one very popular spot for those in the Springfield area!
Where is it: 38 Brisbane St, Ipswich, entry via Prasser Lane
What’s it all about: Fun challenges to complete with the added pressure of a timer – fantastic family fun!
Tell me more: For those who haven’t experienced an escape room, let us firstly tell you that they are a perfect activity for family or for a group of friends! Simply put, the idea of an escape room is that you are put together into a room, and you must solve a number of challenges in order to either escape or to reach your goal! Seraphim Escape currently has 2 rooms (with more soon to be added) – a Christmas-themed one which is perfect for families with younger kids and one which is a little more on the scary side. We tried out the family friendly option of course and we had the best time! Half an hour to solve a number of challenges and we only just made it – the kids were so excited as the clock ticked down and it did become a little nerve-wracking by towards the end, but super fun! Highly recommended for those with inquisitive kids or even would be great as an outing away from the little guys! We can’t wait to try out another!
Where is it: King Edward Parade, Ipswich
Why we love it: A really fun park with all the features, and nestled in a nice and relaxed spot by the Bremmer River!
Tell me more: With the summer heat already hitting us, it's great to know that the local councils have got us covered when it comes to providing places to cool down! There are some great water-play parks and playgrounds around the area, and a number of these are zero-depth so they are great for the littlest of our explorers, but still heaps of refreshing fun for the bigger guys! Bob Gamble Park at the Riverheart Parklands is one of the better ones - a superbly laid out playground which incorporates both wet and dry playgrounds and plenty of shady spots for parents to sit, relax and supervise! There a two different water-play areas, one is completely shaded and has a number of concrete channels with little locks so that the kids can direct the flow of water on their own! It's surprising how fun this can be!
The other wet area is covered in soft fall foam and is covered in intermittent spray systems so you never know where the water will be coming from, again this one is heaps of fun and the soft fall floor is a little less stressful for us parents! Both areas get a really good work out from our little kids and they all give it a big thumbs up!
Even without the water features, this would be a really impressive park with all the features of a modern park - plenty of climbing areas, swings, sand pit, slides, a flying fox, lawn areas, picnic tables (shaded), barbeques and a river-side boardwalk! But wait, there's more! Venture into the forest and you will find two fort-style playgrounds hidden away in there! If you have some little park aficionados in your family, we are sure that even the fussiest would be impressed by Bob Gamble Park!
Amenities: Excellent! A really well thought out park with great facilities! 👍👍👍👍
Parking: Both on and off street parking, but expect it to be popular in summer! 👍👍👍
Access: On the banks of the Bremmer River so expect some ramps. Well connected with concrete paths. 👍👍👍
Best for: The under 10s will absolutely love this park! Most likely the over 10s will as well! 👍👍👍👍
Summary: This park really ticks all the boxes, great wet and dry playgrounds, heaps of well-maintained facilities and in a beautiful shady location! One of the best around! 👍👍👍👍
Hints: Make sure that you've got plenty of time up you sleeve so that you can make the most of your visit!
Where is it: In the centre of Ipswich
What's it all about: One of the most visited regional art galleries in Australia, the Ipswich Art Gallery will have something for everyone!
How can I join in: Check out their website to see what exhibits or events are on, or just turn up and explore!
Tell me more: One of our favourite spots in Ipswich (along with the Workshops Rail Museum) is the Ipswich Art Gallery! It always has really interesting exhibitions and events on! And the best thing is more often than not there are some really great kids programs - from genuine artistic events, through to some that are more like a playtime - like building the fastest Lego cars! It's a great facility with really helpful and friendly staff, so we think that it is definitely one to visit! Some of the awesome exhibits for kids that we have been to have included 'Wind Tubes for Toddlers' - a really fun event where the kids got to suck and push things around with wind tubes, a Lego car construction event where the aim was to build your fastest car and then race it down a track and we've also seen some amazing Lego towers! We've also seen tunnels made from sticky tape, giant marble runs, foam block constructions and a giant model city made from recycled items from the kitchen! There's something for everyone at the Ipswich Art Gallery and it's certainly worth your while visiting!
Amenities: Well-appointed and some nice little cafes nearby! 👍👍👍
Cost: Some exhibits have a cost, but generally quite reasonable! 👍👍👍👍
Parking: Plenty of options available, and well priced too! 👍👍👍
Access: Quite easy to access - only one lift though! 👍👍👍
Entertainment: Pick your exhibit and you will have so much fun! 👍👍👍👍
Best for: Depending on the exhibits on at the time, but there's generally something for everyone! 👍👍👍👍
Wildlife: Only painted wildlife! 👍
Summary: We always enjoy our visits to Ipswich Art Gallery! It is really well presented and the exhibits are very well considered! We think that the gallery deserves more recognition! 👍👍👍👍
Hints: There are some great attractions in Ipswich - make a day of it and visit the Workshops, Queens Park or River Heart Parklands!
Playing with light
Built for speed
Towers of Tomorrow
Where is it: Ipswich Art Gallery, Darcy Doyle Place, Ipswich
What's it all about: Two brothers go on a wonderful journey through the galaxy in this fantastic puppet and shadow spectacular! It’s on from 22 September through to 7 October 2018.
Tell me more: Engaging from the first minute, ‘Slapdash Galaxy’ from Bunk Puppets tells of a younger brother who exceeds all expectations as two brothers travel across the galaxy! And as wonderful and as entertaining as this show is, it is almost overshadowed by the amazing way that this performance has been created! Shadow puppets created with hands, feet and props, plastic bottle spaceships, space monsters made from balloons and amazing worlds using just the tops of people’s heads are just some of the fantastic props that contribute to this fantastic tale! Best for kids 5 and over, this show will keep the little guys entertained for all 55 minutes before they head straight to the craft table to make their own shadow puppets!
Where is it: Various locations
What's it all about: A festival of mud for the kids!
Tell me more: There's just something about getting muddy that kids find irresistible! Perhaps it's because it can by slippery and slimey and sticky all at the time, or perhaps it's because kids are generally told to stay out it, but it just seems that everytime there's mud on offer for kids - they go crazy for it! Mudworld was a fantastic event for kids 0-12 yrs (although we did see a lot of parents getting muddy and having fun!) where five specific mud 'realms' were set up and the kids were encouraged to get as muddy as possible! Mud slides, mud villages, mud kitchens and mud soccer were just some of the fun muddy activities that could be experienced here at mud world, and the smiles on the faces of the kids said it all! Such a fun event!
Where is it: North Ipswich, only 10 minutes’ drive from Ipswich CBD
What's it all about: One of the great museums in Queensland's Museum Network - dedicated to rail workers and the history of rail in Queensland!
How can I join in: The museum is open daily and is an easy drive from Brisbane so head along at any time, or keep an eye on their website for special programs!
Tell me more: The Workshops Rail Museum is a really fun place to visit at any time, but for kids, it's especially fun when they have their special programs on, like Day out with Thomas! They also have special school holiday activities, Easter and Christmas events and many more throughout the year! The museum is situated on and in the actual workshops and rail yards that constructed and maintained much of Queensland's early rail network! There are a number of actual trains that you can get up close to, heaps of historical artefacts and lots of memorabilia. The kids will love the dedicated play areas, and the whole museum is really spread out so you can relax as you wander around at your own pace! A really fun day out for the whole family!
Amenities: Full amenities including a café - picnics are welcomed too! 👍👍👍👍👍
Cost: Reasonably priced and a good deal on annual passes! 👍👍👍
Parking: More than enough parking available - some of the event days do get busy though! 👍👍👍👍
Access: Access has been considered and ramps added to all areas of the museum! 👍👍👍👍
Entertainment: The special programs have some really good entertainment on offer! 👍👍👍👍
Best for: Little kids and adults should enjoy this one! 👍👍👍
Summary: We keep coming back to this museum! The kids always find something here to entertain themselves with, and we just love that there's so much space to wander around in - it just feels so relaxing! 👍👍👍👍
Hints: Look out for the special programs - they make the visit so much more worthwhile!
A day out with Thomas
A Room for Wild Animals
Where is it: Churchill – not too far from Amberley
What's it all about: An aviation themed playground that ticks all the boxes in what a fun park needs!
Tell me more: The award-winning Lobley Park is a super fun park with an airplane theme – paying a bit of a tribute to the Ipswich’s connection with the air force! The little guys loved the airplane to play in, an air traffic control tower and the parachute swings! Heaps of space for running about and all the usual playground fare – swings, slides and story time area, as well as barbeques and tables for your picnic or party! And a great network of paths makes it very accessible for wheeled devices! It’s a quality park and its awesome aeronautical theme really defines it!
Amenities: Full public facilities including barbeques! 👍👍👍
Parking: Free parking! 👍👍👍
Access: Great access throughout the park! 👍👍👍
Best for: Your little budding pilots! 👍👍👍
Summary: A really fun themed park that will set your child’s imagination soaring! 👍👍👍
Hints: It would be great to visit after a morning out at Amberley Air Force Base’s open day!
Where is it: Leaving from Bundamba Racecourse, Ipswich.
What’s it all about: Another one of Ipswich’s excellent rail experiences! Get to ride on a vintage train - either steam or diesel powered – and learn a little about Queensland’s rail heritage!
How can I join in: Buy your tickets online or at the station (we recommend online so that you are assured of your spot)! They run a number of different experiences so check their website for details!
Tell me more: A surprisingly easy to access experience is the Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway (QPSR) which runs its heritage rail from Bundamba Racecourse - right in Ipswich! The sight of the old steam engine with smoke and steam billowing out is almost too good to resist, and we're sure that they have collected a few passengers who until they saw it, probably weren't planning on a heritage train trip!
QPSR runs their vintage steam an diesel locomotives, pulling retired Queensland Rail carriages generally once a month (they also do longer special trips at times - check out their website for more information) along a short section of track, before looping back and returning from the original departure point and taking about half an hour to complete the trip. There's no stopping or hopping off on the journey, so we think the half an hour is a good length for little kids. The train leaves for each trip every hour.
While the ride on the old carriages was fun and well worth taking, for us we probably enjoyed being on the platform more! Seeing the old steam train up close is truly impressive, and it's something that is a little hard to appreciate when you are sitting on the train. So we loved being on the platform for the half hour before the train departed again with the smoke and steam, the hisses and whistles, and the heat of the fire box! We could have watched it for hours! The volunteers are also really friendly and passionate about the train, and more than happy to have a chat and provide some more information about the train.
This is a really fun and authentic experience! The locomotive and carriages are well maintained and very comfortable for the short journey. There's an added bonus of coordinating with the Handmade Markets which is on at the same time across the road at the racecourse. The markets have lots of great products so they're great for doing a bit of shopping or even just browsing. You can also grab a bite to eat and there's always a few things going on for the kids - plus you can see the train pull in across the road every hour!
Websites: http://www.qpsr.net/ and http://www.thehandmadeexpo.com.au/ipswich.html
Where is it: 2 Ipswich Street, Grandchester, about 1.5 hours' drive west of Brisbane
What's it all about: Scaled down replica trains that you can ride on! What fun!
Why we love it: Little, working trains (are there any kids that don't love trains?) which run on real, miniature tracks that you can ride on! It's such a lovely, relaxed and rural setting which heaps of space and more than enough shade for a picnic as the trains go by!
Tell me more: Grandchester is a tiny little town about half an hours' drive from Ipswich. It might be tiny, but it has a very special place in the history of Queensland, as it was the last stop on the (then) new Queensland Rail which provided a huge impetous to the development of this great state! As a reminder of the importance of the town's rail heritage, Grandchester Model Live Steam runs on the first Sunday of every month and we have to say that it is heaps of fun!
The detail on the trains is simply amazing - you will find both steam trains (actual little steam trains burning coal!) and faithful replicas of Queensland Rail diesel locomotives (although we don't think that there are any diesel engines in there)! The association members who provide their time to running these days are quite accommodating, so if you or your little guys really want to ride a specific train they will do their best to get you on that train. They pull specially built wagons that can carry around 6 - 8 people per wagon and the ride is surprisingly smooth and lots of fun! And at two dollars a ride and multi ticket discounts, it's great value as well! There's a canteen on site for food and refreshments or bring a picnic as there's heaps of lawn and shade.
While you are in Grandchester for the train rides, you really need to pay a visit to the historic Grandchester Station. The heritage listed building is only a two minute drive from the Model Live Steam tracks and is a lovely and faithfully maintained old station, which looks as though it could be in daily use still to this day! It's not however, but the train line that runs directly past is still in use and on occasion this station will be put back into service for heritage steam train visits! It holds some intriguing memorabilia from days gone by and it is a beautiful old building!
We had a great day out at Grandchester - the little trains are heaps of fun for the kids, Grandchester Station is a lovely visit, and the whole day in this little town was so relaxed and quiet. It's a great way to switch off and recharge, while at the same time enjoying the fun of the model railway!
Amenities: Toilets on site and there's also a canteen so you can visit without packing your lunch! There are a few covered picnic tables and lots of lawn areas. 👍👍👍👍
Parking: Roadside parking that can get a bit busy, but no problems with finding a park! 👍👍👍
Access: Easy to get to and get around, but you will need to drive to Grandchester! 👍👍👍
Best for: Everyone will enjoy this day out, however we think that kids 6 and under would have the most fun! 👍👍👍👍
Summary: A really fun and relaxed day out in a quaint little rural setting. Well worth a visit and especially if you have little train buffs in your family! 👍👍👍👍
Hints: Be sure to visit the historic Grandchester Station and the Model Live Steam is a great spot for a picnic lunch!
Grandchester Model Train
Brisbane Family Explorers