Ipswich! You may have heard Little Scholars School of Early Learning is coming to you! We’re thrilled our newest campus is coming to Ipswich in early 2025. As we prepare to open our doors, we want to celebrate by sharing some of our favourite family-friendly activities in Ipswich, because we’re not just about early learning, we adore our families and our Ipswich community!

We think Ipswich has really stepped up its game when it comes to offering some great entertaining offerings for the young, and the young at heart. 

Ipswich Children's Library

 

Did you know Ipswich has Australia’s only public library dedicated to children?  It features a specially designed catalogue with over 35,000 books just for children, and unique multi-reality interactive experiences.

The Ipswich Children’s Library is designed to be an interactive and engaging space for children. It features various zones with elements that encourage exploration and active participation. Highlights include a series of colourful tubes where children can send fabric pieces flying through the air, large interactive screens, and colouring tables where children can scan and watch their decorated fish swim on a screen. The library also offers cosy reading nooks, a gaming touch screen with STEAM-based puzzles, and a unique Reading Tree with a cushioned tunnel for reading. The space is filled with natural light, thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Nicholas Street Precinct and landscaped gardens. 

The library is open seven days a week and hosts regular, child-focussed programs and events and special tech adventures just for little ones!

Queensland Pioneer Steam Museum

Hop aboard the Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway in Ipswich for a fun-filled family adventure. Ride in beautifully restored vintage carriages and explore the rich mining history of the area. As the train chugs along, you’ll pass by old mine ruins and vintage equipment, giving you a glimpse into Ipswich’s past. It’s a perfect outing for families to enjoy a unique and educational experience together.

RAAF Base Amberley Heritage Centre

Attention all young aviation enthusiasts! Visit the RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre near Ipswich to see some amazing aircraft up close. Walk around and marvel at the F-111 with its famous “dump and burn” feature. Check out the WWII Boston Bomber, Vietnam-era Canberra bomber, Caribou airlifter, Sioux and Iroquois helicopters, and WWII Jeeps. You’ll also see cool Sabre and Mirage fighter jets. Learn about the RAAF’s important role in history with interactive exhibits and displays. It’s a fun and educational trip for the whole family!

Check the website for times to visit.

Ipswich Art Gallery

Ipswich Art Gallery takes play seriously! Its goal is to create dynamic pathways for lifelong relationships with art.

It’s a visual arts and social history museum presenting a dynamic program of exhibitions and heritage displays with complementary workshops, performances and an extensive program for children and families. We also adore that the gallery guides itself by philosophical principles for its children’s gallery, highlighting that learning begins with creative play, and that children are important members of our community who should be encouraged to express and develop their ideas and views.

Ipswich Nature Centre

Located in Queens Park, the Ipswich Nature Centre offers a delightful experience for families and nature enthusiasts. This free-entry zoo showcases native Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, emus, wombats, and bilbies. Wander through lush gardens, see barnyard animals, and enjoy the aviary filled with colourful birds. The centre provides an educational and fun outing, promoting conservation and the beauty of local wildlife.

For more information, visit Ipswich Nature Centre.

Cooneana Heritage Centre

Discover the rich history of Ipswich at the Cooneana Heritage Centre, home to the Ipswich Historical Society. Explore historical photographs, artifacts, traditional crafts, and coal mining displays that highlight the region’s diverse past. Visit Cooneana Homestead to see early Ipswich life, and Jim Donald House, a well-preserved miner’s cottage from the 1890s. Experience an old-fashioned classroom in the schoolroom and watch blacksmiths at work in the blacksmith shop. Perfect for history enthusiasts and families alike.

Queensland Museum Rail Workshops

Take an eye-opening journey through Queensland’s history at the heritage-listed Ipswich Railway Workshops. The award-winning Queensland Museum Rail Workshops is a must-visit for anyone in Ipswich. Once employing over 3,000 railway workers and making it Queensland’s largest employer at the time, this historic site now blends the charm of the past with modern technological advances.

Explore the old boilershop, home to beautifully restored locomotives and carriages, and marvel at Queensland’s largest model railway, showcasing detailed scenes of the state. Perfect for visitors of all ages, this museum brings history to life.

Top Ipswich Playgrounds

Faye Carr Park, Ripley

Check out Faye Carr Park in Ripley, a rocket ship-themed playground designed for the whole community.

The standout feature is the impressive trio of red and green pods, which have become a landmark of the Ecco Ripley development since its opening in 2018. These custom-designed pods by Playscape Creations are a first for Australia, offering sensory delights like cogs, steering equipment, and rainbow spinning wheels, all connected by a bridge. The exterior is just as engaging with ladders, slides, staircases, and fireman poles for endless fun.

For younger children, there’s a separate toddler playground complete with a mini slide, ladder, and puzzles. The area also includes a five-person swing circle, a rotating net climber, a see-saw, and a double-track flying fox for inclusive play.

Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the middle section of the park with multipurpose fields for soccer, rugby, and basketball, as well as an outdoor workout zone. Picnic shelters and BBQs make it perfect for a family outing.

 Over 20 developmental activities between the main and toddler playgrounds promote educational play in a fun outdoor setting. The park also emphasises social play with shared swing circles, rotating net climbers, and multi-track flying foxes, encouraging greater participation.

The parklands are wheelchair and pram friendly, with accessible pathways connecting all areas. The seated playground equipment, including an adaptive swing, see-saw, and net climber, are designed for inclusivity.

Faye Carr Park Features:

  • Accessible toilets
  • Unfenced
  • Baby change table facilities
  • Playground 50% covered by shade sails
  • Rubber, bark chip, and sand base
  • Adaptive swing with harness
  • Learn-to-ride track
  • Basketball court
  • Fitness equipment
  • Open kick-around area
  • Soccer/rugby field
  • BBQs
  • Picnic shelters
  • On-street parking

Orion Mega Playground, Springfield

 A multi-million dollar playground that is accessible and engaging for all ages is the incredible result of a consultation between locals and Orion Shopping Centre.

The main attraction is a vibrant activity centre with a tower reaching 11 metres high, accessible via internal ladders or a 16-metre Sky Walk bridge offering a birds-eye view of the playground below. Two enormous tunnel slides flank the tower, perfect for young thrill-seekers. Note that the play area is not fenced from the nearby car park, so close adult supervision is necessary.

For children who prefer to stay grounded, the playground features in-built trampolines, mountaineering ropes, and a large climbing net tunnel. A wheelchair-friendly merry-go-round promotes inclusive play.

The toddler area includes slides, stairs, a rock climbing wall, a fire pole, a colourful see-saw, and a cognitive play hut with educational activities. Swings are available for both independent children and those needing assistance. Most of the playground is covered by shade sails or roofing for sun protection.

Lobley Park, Churchill

Lobley Park is a charming, aviation-themed park that pays tribute to Ipswich’s Air Force heritage. Children will love playing in the aeroplane structure, exploring the air traffic control tower, and enjoying the parachute swings. The park also offers ample space for running around, traditional playground equipment like swings and slides, and a story time area. Perfect for picnics or parties, Lobley Park features barbecues and tables. It’s a fantastic spot for family fun, with memorable attractions that children will adore!

Redbank Plains Recreation Reserve Playground, Redbank Plains

Located just 15 minutes from Ipswich city, the recently upgraded Redbank Plains Recreation Reserve has become a popular community hub for gathering, playing, socialising, and relaxing.

The central playground features a 9-metre tall adventure tower made of cargo netting, platforms, and ladders, offering a vertical thrill for older children. Climbers can choose between a speedy tunnel slide and a twisty tube slide. The roped exterior allows for easy parental supervision.

The reserve also boasts a 20-metre high ropes course, challenging balance, strength, and coordination, with opportunities for adults to assist younger climbers. Additional features include a giant rotating bird’s nest swing, a multi-bay swing set, and sensory spinners.

A dedicated toddler playground caters to ages one to five with accessible platforms, ground-level activities, gentle slides, and imaginative play areas. Essentials such as swings, see-saws, bouncers, and an inclusive carousel are built on a soft base with ample shade sails. Nearby seating is available for supervision and picnics.

The reserve also includes a newly renovated skate park, suitable for skaters of all levels, adjacent to a large grassy field ideal for soccer, cricket, or kite flying.

Additional features:

  • BBQs
  • Car Parking
  • Dog Off Leash Area
  • Drinking Water
  • Gazebos/Rotunda/Shelters
  • Picnic Facilities/Seats/Benches
  • Power
  • Public Toilets

Splash n' Play Adventure Park, Ripley

The rapidly expanding Ripley Valley is home to several state-of-the-art playgrounds, and the Splash ‘n’ Play Adventure Park is a standout. Designed for all age groups, the park features towering sky cabins at 7.5 metres high, connected by enclosed rope bridges for safety. Children can exit the playground via a straight tubular slide, a twisted mega slide, or by climbing down netted ladders. This section is ideal for children over 5, though confident younger climbers can also enjoy it.

The park also includes a flying fox, a small swing set, and toddler-friendly options in the neighbouring play area.

Directly across from the playground is a shaded, multi-age Splash ’n’ Play area with water fountains, movable sprayers, button-controlled jets, and waterfall arches. This area is divided into two sections, allowing smaller children to play safely away from the larger splash zone. The non-slip rubber base and ample seating enhance safety and supervision.

For families, the Forty West Café at the top of the adventure park serves delicious coffee and food daily. A takeaway coffee is ideal, as a tall garden partially blocks the view between the café seating and the playground below.

  • Accessible toilets
  • Not fenced but set back from the road
  • Largely shaded playground and water play area
  • Zero-depth Splash ‘n’ Play area
  • Mixture of bark, artificial turf, and rubber base
  • Family-friendly café
  • Showers
  • Picnic shelters
  • BBQs
  • Open kick-around area
  • Ample on-site parking

Sunshine Park, Bellevue Ripley

As you approach the Sunshine Park playground, the central tower immediately catches the eye. Standing at 8 metres tall with three levels, it invites children to come and play. Inspired by the towering trees and creeping vines of a rainforest, the structure is both impressive and engaging.

Children can access the different levels through vertical climbing tunnels, ball pommels, and nets. The internal decks are inclined to provide an extra challenge. Once at the top, the 4.5-metre tunnel slide offers a thrilling descent back to the ground.

In the junior play area, there is a cubby-style fort with interactive elements decorating the walls. A small slide is easily accessible for little ones using stable stepping platforms.

For those who love to run or play ball sports, Sunshine Park features a basketball half-court, a handball court, and a generous kickabout area. There’s also a small pump track designed to manoeuvre around without pedalling, providing an additional challenge for competent riders and a fun spot for little ones to push their diggers down the hills.

Features:

  • 8-metre tall central tower with three levels
  • Vertical climbing tunnels, ball pommels, and nets
  • 4.5-metre tunnel slide
  • Junior play area with cubby-style fort and interactive elements
  • Basketball half-court, handball court, and kickabout area
  • Small pump track
  • No public toilets

Sunshine Park is an engaging and versatile playground, offering a variety of activities for children of all ages.

Tucker Family Park, Bellbird Park

Tucker Family Park is one of the best parks in Ipswich for children of all ages and abilities, set in a beautiful, nature-filled environment. This park offers a range of exciting features:

Key Attractions:

  • Giant Cube Tower: An impressive 11-metre structure with an 18-metre steel slide, providing plenty of thrills.
  • Toddler-Friendly Features: Includes a smaller slide from the second level of the cube and a dedicated play fort for younger children.
  • Sports Facilities: A large sporting field with goal posts and a fenced multi-purpose court for basketball and other games.
  • Nature Trails: Concrete pathways that lead around the park, through the trees, and to a dog off-leash park and separate puppy park. These paths also connect several local communities with hectares of green space.

Playground Features:

  • Fort with Mini Climbing Wall and Rope Bridge
  • Cube Tower with Giant Tube Slide
  • Musical Bar Chimes
  • Rocker and Roundabout
  • Climbing Nets
  • Sports Field and Multi-purpose Sports Court
  • Gym Equipment
  • Bike and Walking Paths
  • Picnic Tables and Shelters

Tucker Family Park is perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in nature while enjoying a variety of activities. Whether it’s exploring the extensive playground, participating in sports, or simply taking a peaceful walk, this park has something for everyone.

Whiterock Adventure Playground and Splash Pad, Ripley Valley

Whiterock Adventure Playground and Splash Pad in Ripley Valley is quickly becoming a top summer destination. The standout feature is the intriguing “play curl” structure, accompanied by water play and natural exploration zones.

Upon entering the beautifully designed space, the first thing you’ll notice is the huge and uniquely shaped “play curl,” which looks more like a sculptural masterpiece than a playground. The Australian-first design is over 16 metres long and can accommodate up to 40 children at a time with its mixture of net climbs, rock climbing holds, rubber ramps, balancing ropes, and suspended resting areas. This area is best suited for children aged 5 to 12, though confident younger climbers can also enjoy it.

Directly across from the playground is a mostly shaded, zero-depth Splash ’n’ Play area. It features water fountains, movable wiggly sprayers, button-controlled jets, and waterfall arches. Smaller children can safely enjoy water play away from the larger splash zone. The area has a non-slip rubber base for safety and ample seating for supervision.

Rounding out the play space are other playground favourites, including an embankment slide, swings, a seesaw, educational games, and an accessible carousel. The parklands are also equipped with full picnic amenities, making it an excellent choice for birthday parties and family gatherings.

The “play curl” offers a foundation for imaginative play. Its abstract design creates a sense of mystery and encourages problem-solving. Running adjacent to the curl is a dry creek bed with cylindrical stepping stones, providing a nice contrast to the metal and steel of the playground and encouraging a nature-style play. The different ground textures, equipment heights, and water play combine to form a multi-sensory experience.

Whiterock Adventure Playground is located on even terrain with connecting paths, making it easy to navigate with prams. The ground-level carousel spinner is designed for inclusive play. Disabled toilets and a baby change room are available on site.

Additional Features:

  • Unfenced playground
  • Accessible toilets
  • Mostly covered by shade sails
  • Bark chip, rubber, stone bases
  • Swings, including toddler and birds nest swings
  • Natural play elements
  • Educational games
  • Steel slide
  • Seesaw
  • Wheelchair accessible carousel
  • Short bike and scooter track
  • Picnic shelters
  • Electric BBQs
  • Bench seating
  • Kick-around area
  • Ample on and off-street parking

Whiterock Adventure Playground is perfect for families seeking fun and adventure, with diverse activities for children of all ages.

Best parks and nature reserves

Ipswich has a number of incredible parks and reserves for families to explore and make memories together.

Conveniently, the Naeus app makes it easier to discover Ipswich’s natural areas with GPS guided maps of walking tracks that include distance and grading information.

The Naeus Explore app enhances your outdoor adventures with several interactive features. It provides real-time weather updates and has a native plant identification tool—just take a photo, and the app will instantly provide details about the plant. Additionally, the app uses geo-fencing technology to automatically highlight points of interest near you. As you near important sites, like a historical tree or scenic lookout, the app notifies you with detailed information.

The app is also designed to be collaborative. You can report any issues, like fallen trees, directly to the local council through the app. Moreover, you’re encouraged to contribute by adding new points of interest that you discover, such as notable wildlife sightings or unique natural formations.

Queens Park

Queens Park, a jewel in the heart of Ipswich, holds profound cultural and historical significance not just locally, but for all of Queensland.

Established in 1842 and with its architectural roots dating back to 1862, Queens Park is the first and one of the most iconic parks developed in Queensland. It offers visitors a unique blend of historical elegance and contemporary amenities, making it a perfect destination for both relaxation and exploration. Challenge your little ones to spot animals such as Wallabies, Eastern Quolls, Wombats, Frill Neck Lizards, Emus and more!

Nestled near Ipswich city centre, the park provides a convenient escape with its shady gardens and tranquil spaces ideal for a leisurely lunch or a peaceful stroll.

Queens Park is replete with attractions that cater to all ages and interests: from the meticulously maintained formal garden beds and the serene Nerima Gardens, reflecting the beauty of Japanese landscape design, to the engaging Ipswich Nature Centre. The park also boasts modern play areas for children, the rustic charm of Bush House and Bush Chapel, sports facilities including the Queens Park Croquet Hall, and a café. Additionally, the Environmental Education Centre offers learning opportunities about local flora and fauna. 

Robelle Domain

Featuring water parks and lush gardens, Robelle Domain is an ideal spot for cooling down on hot days and enjoying outdoor concerts and events.

This huge park is spread over 24 hectares and comprises over 11km of boardwalks, sporting fields, walking tracks and playgrounds, as well as the stunning Orion Lagoon.

This park is a paradise for families and the play area boasts features that include interactive equipment that combines play with the excitement of electronic gaming and a zero depth water park with a large tipping bucket, jet sprays and spouts.

The park also features shady picnic areas, land art pyramids and an early evening sound and light show to cap off your day.

Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate

Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate is a  2,200 hectare estate and is popular for a wide range of activities including bushwalking, horse-riding, mountain biking, birdwatching and Traditional Owner cultural practices.

To explore the area, there are many trails available. The shortest trail is just 560m through bush tucker gardens, and a few other trails that are about two to three kilometres in length, which might be doable for little ones. They’ll be excited to spot wildlife such as king parrots,  willy wagtails, kangaroos and wallabies. 

White Rock Spring Mountain Conservation Estate

With its breathtaking landscapes, a wide variety of flora and fauna, and deep cultural heritage, White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate offers an ideal setting for a family bushwalk and picnic. Located just 20 minutes from Ipswich and 35 minutes from Brisbane, the estate is conveniently accessible while still providing a peaceful escape from urban life. There are boardwalks, caves, and lookouts, all along well-maintained paths with clearly marked trails and benches for resting tired legs along the way.

Most walks are relatively easy and flat, with dirt tracks and some boardwalk sections. However, some steep inclines, rough terrain, and loose surfaces also exist.

A few short routes for little legs include:

Bluff Lookout Circuit, 200m one way 
Little White Rock Lookout Circuit, 200m one way 
Six Mile Creek Boardwalk, 300m one way 
Little White Rock Track, 600m one way 
Six Mile Creek Track, 1.4km return 

Toilets and picnic shelters are positioned by the parking area with grassy areas where you can set up a picnic blanket.

Denmark Hill Conservation Reserve

Located right in the heart of the city, Denmark Hill Conservation Reserve is a favorite destination for birdwatchers and day-trippers. The reserve is well-equipped for visitors, featuring BBQ facilities, toilets, picnic tables, and ample parking. It offers five short walking tracks suitable for a quick escape into nature. The 200-metre Waterfall Track is wheelchair accessible, making it easy for everyone to enjoy. For those seeking a longer walk, Bluey’s 800m Circuit and the Water Tower 800m Circuit are the most extensive paths available. You can find the main entrance and parking area directly opposite the corner of Deebing and Clay Streets, just a three-minute drive from Ipswich CBD.

At the Quarry Street entrance, you’ll find a  wooden playground which fits in with its natural surroundings. The small playground consists of a climbing net, birds nest swing, balance beam and obstacle course made from ropes and stepping logs.

Best family camping

Hardings Paddock

Hardings Paddock offers a serene bush camping experience close to the city, yet feels a world away. With only eight spacious campsites, you’ll enjoy privacy and tranquility. Facilities include long drop toilets, shower cubicles (bring your own water), free barbecues, and a fire pit. Suitable for tents, caravans, and motorhomes, it even has a holding yard for horses.

The nearby Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate provides excellent hiking trails across volcanic peaks and slopes, making it perfect for nature lovers and adventurers.

Ivory's Rock

Just a short drive away from Hardings Paddock, you’ll find Ivory’s Rock – a 600 hectare property,  backing onto the Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate and surrounded by native bushland.  It’s an excellent option for those campers that prefer a few more modern amenities than what Hardings Paddock offers.

Ivory’s Rock is a private property that offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountain peaks.  Animal lovers will be in heaven here with wallabies and kangaroos regularly hopping about the property.  You may even be lucky enough to spot a koala or two.

Campsites at Ivory’s Rock are suitable for all kinds of campers, including those with tents, caravans or motorhomes.  There is a choice of powered and unpowered sites, which all have access to laundry and bathroom facilities.  Other amenities include gas barbecues, communal fire puts, water and even free wifi.

For those new to camping and don’t have their own gear, at Ivory’s Rock, you can even request a site that has all the camping gear set up for you. Then, all you have to do is arrive and relax. Of course, there’s no packing up either – that’s camping in true style!

Ipswich Caravan Village

Ipswich Caravan Village offers a tranquil bushland setting with options for overnight, tourist, and permanent accommodation. Choose from powered and unpowered sites for caravans and campers, or stay in one of our air-conditioned cabins, available for singles, doubles, families, and groups.

Conveniently located near shopping centres, restaurants, sporting venues, Willowbank Raceway, tourist attractions, and heritage sites, our park is perfect for exploring Ipswich, Queensland’s oldest provincial city. Enjoy the blend of natural beauty and nearby amenities during your stay.

Rosewood Showgrounds

Rosewood Showgrounds Camping Facility is located in the picturesque township of Rosewood, 20 minutes west of the Ipswich CBD and one hour from Brisbane making it the perfect place to set up camp while you explore South East Queensland.

Rosewood has been designated as an RV Friendly Town and the Showgrounds is a short drive or walk to a supermarket, chemist, doctors, coffee shops, and the electric train to Brisbane.

The Showground has 28 powered sites (some with access to sullage) and 17 un-powered sites . Other amenities include toilets, showers and free dump point and potable water.

Nearby attractions include the historic Rosewood township, Cobb & Co Tourist Drive and historic coach display, the heritage Rosewood Railway and museum, St Brigid’s Catholic Church (the largest timber church in the southern hemisphere), Grandchester Model Steam Railway, Spicers Hidden Vale and the Hidden Vale Adventure Park, Queensland Museum Rail Workshops, Ipswich Art Gallery and Ipswich Nature Centre.

There you have it! We hope you enjoyed our list of the best things to do with your family in Ipswich. If you’re after the best childcare in Ipswich, look no further than Little Scholars Karalee, due to open early 2025!

Contact us or book a tour today to ensure your little one gets the best start to life that they can.

Do you have a playground you think should be here? Let us know on our socials @littlescholarsearlylearning!
*Images courtesy of Ipswich city council, mrslardeedah.com, romethegnome.com, and Brisbanekids.com.

There you have it! We hope you enjoyed our list of the best things to do with your family in Ipswich. If you’re after the best childcare in Ipswich, look no further than Little Scholars Karalee, due to open early 2025!

Contact us or book a tour today to ensure your little one gets the best start to life that they can.

Do you have a family friendly Ipswich place to visit that should be on this list? Let us know on our socials @littlescholarsearlylearning!
*Images courtesy of Ipswich city council and Brisbanekids.com.

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