Things to do with your children on rainy days on the Gold Coast, Redlands and Brisbane

Families who live in South East Queensland, a truly beautiful part of the world, are fortunate to enjoy pleasant weather most of the time. But, like anywhere, we get our (small) share of rainy or cooler days. And while one or two days of weather-related downtime can be welcome, our corner of the Earth can sometimes see days on end of rain, something we’re not quite used to, which mean our little ones may be bouncing off the walls if we don’t find some weather-appropriate things to do for them.

Since Little Scholars is in the business of small humans, we’ve gathered some activity ideas for parents we know children will love in any weather!

Gold Coast

With its plethora of beaches and hiking trails, most people associate the Gold Coast with sunshine and heat, a near-perfect holiday destination, but what can  families do if it’s cool, cloudy or raining? The answer is, there’s still plenty to do!

We’ve selected some of the most fun, unique indoor activities families with young children can do on the Gold Coast, the Redlands and in the state capitol, Brisbane.

Home of the Arts (HOTA)

This creative hub offers plenty of rainy day entertainment options. Wander through five levels of thought provoking and inspiring displays, exhibits and artworks at the incredible HOTA Gallery. There’s a Children’s Gallery on Level 1 where little ones can do craft activities and interact with creative displays. 

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Gold Coast Car Museum

The Gold Coast Motor Museum in Upper Coomera is a fantastic option for rainy days, featuring over 80 cars and memorabilia. Opened in October 2020 by brothers Carl and Grant Amor, the museum is a tribute to their parents’ love for cars. Located in the scenic Gold Coast hinterland, adjacent to Stanley’s Barn Restaurant & Bar, it’s a perfect destination for family fun and nostalgia.

Only closed Mondays and Tuesdays, children under 13 enter for free, and they’ll love exploring the eclectic range of vehicles spanning the years 1900 to 1988. 

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EMF Pacific Fair & Nerang

Looking to entertain your children and use up some of that endless energy? EMF Junior caters for children ages two to 13, with massive ball bits, slides, tunnels, climbing apparatuses, giant blocks and more. There is a separate zoned toddler area that caters to their specific abilities and needs.

Parents can also book their children in for the creche at Nerang and supervised drop and shop sessions at Pacific Fair, which comes in particularly handy for parents who need a bit of time to themselves!

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Gold Coast City Libraries

A classic rainy day activity! But the 13 locations of Gold Coast City Libraries are not your grandmother’s library! They offer a ton of benefits besides an incredible array of books!

Join your library for fun times as the friendly librarians help build pre-literacy, communication, language and social skills for your babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

Baby Rhyme Time – Giggle, coo and cuddle with favourite rhymes and songs. Ideal for children from birth to two years.

Toddler Time – Sing, move and groove, learn new words and make new friends. Ideal for toddlers aged two to four years.

Storytime – Listen, laugh and roar with favourite stories old and new. Ideal for children from three to five years.

These are offered seven days a week across all locations. For your closest library’s schedule, or to find nearest availability for these programs when they suit your schedule, click this link.

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Ice Skating

Grab the family and head over to Paradise Resort Gold Coast for an experience rare to the southern hemisphere – ice skating!

Planet Chill is suitable for anyone over three years, and to make it a little easier for beginners to stay on their feet, Planet Chill has fibreglass penguins to help make your ‘icecapades’ more bump-free. 

Your family will be gliding to popular music, a disco ball and under-ice lighting to light up your session.

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Imaginator

IMAGINATOR is a multisensory, walk-through experience that houses a series of immersive art installations that celebrate imagination, technology and play. 

There are 15 immersive, one-of-a-kind experiences under one roof that have been created by a talented team of architects, audio-visual artists, futurists, renderers and sound designers. The rooms feature multi-sensory installations like AI projections, sensor-triggered LED waves, giant silk parachute canopies, cosmic gardens, an anti-gravity sunset, an electronic hall of mirrors, a digital wishing well and a whole heap more.

Suitable for all ages, and is generally safe for people with sensory sensitivities, epilepsy or neurodiverse persons.

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Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

Marvel at hundreds of rare and unusual artifacts and get hands-on with unbelievable interactives at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Surfers Paradise. Play your way through! Shatter your senses in the Vortex Tunnel, where illusions and a colourful light show transport visitors into a mind-bending dimension, or let curiosity be your guide in the Funplex, filled with hands-on interactives.

Families can add on fun by purchasing an experience at the Ripley’s Mirror Maze Surfers Paradise

Redland Bay

Charming Redland Bay has a real country feel despite being a growing bayside residential community. For its residents, the conservation areas and places for sport lead the activities, but that doesn’t mean rainy days mean families need to stay home. 

IndigiScapes

The IndigiScapes Centre is Redland City Council’s environment education centre. Situated on 14.5 hectares of serene natural bushland, IndigiScapes offers native botanical gardens, a native nursery, bush trails, a nature playground. But while a lot of its appeal is focused on the outdoors, it does have an indoor environment that visitors can access in less desirable weather. 

The Discovery Centre is full of information, displays and hands-on learning opportunities for visitors of all ages! With interactive environmental education areas, microscopes, lookout window, and touch screen activities, everyone will love learning more about the natural world. 

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After exploring the Discovery Centre, you may have worked up a hearty appetite, so check out the IndigiCafe and enjoy local cuisine with a bushtucker twist while overlooking beautiful Coolnwynpin Creek tributary on Redlands Coast. You’ll love the food so much, you’ll want to take some of the bush flavours and spices home with you.

Redland Museum

Check out the Redland Museum! Step inside the Museum and discover a treasure trove of historic artefacts and fascinating stories about the people, places and events that helped to shape the Redlands Coast.

The museum even has a toy hall of fame, where children can see unusual toys from the past, play with the interactive model railway, wind the handle and make calls on 100 year old telephones and see a collection of 100 dolls in handmade costumes.

They can also climb aboard and ‘drive’ the Redlander railmotor and even see how children learned at school in the past.

Open seven days a week from 10am to 3.30pm, the museum is great for families. Admission prices are $10 adults, $6 concession, children are FREE.

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Redland Art Gallery

This award-winning gallery offers ‘Family Sundays at the Gallery’ once per month at RAG, Cleveland. These sessions offer families a chance to create together exploring a variety of techniques themed to compliment the gallery’s latest exhibitions. It is a great chance to connect with each other while enjoying some hands on creative fun. The gallery also offers a Parents and Prams session one Wednesday a month as an opportunity to explore the latest exhibitions, socialise and get arty.

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Historic Ormiston House
Historic Ormiston House, which dates back to 1862, is regarded as the birthplace of the Australian Sugar Industry. 
 
The restored house, expansive grounds and beautiful gardens overlook stunning Moreton Bay.
 
Open every Sunday from February to December, children under five enter free and visitors can add a Devonshire Tea option to their visit. Volunteers offer information about the site and the history of one of Brisbane’s prominent families.
 
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North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum

Called a ‘hidden gem’ on Tripadvisor, we’re bringing this charming museum out of hiding to share with our families.  The museum represents the 65,000 years or so of Aboriginal history, the British invasion and colonisation and a complex shared history of less than 200 years.

Colour My Pot

If your little artist wants to try something new, why not visit Colour My Pot, a pottery painting and clay studio that provides a fun and creative environment where people of all ages can come together and make memories and some beautiful art.

Colour My Pot also caters to children for birthday parties and school holiday activities.

Brisbane

Beenleigh Historical Village 
Explore the past at Beenleigh Historical Village, which showcases a variety of buildings, experiences, and demonstrations that bring the region’s history to life. You’ll find a blacksmith, an old post office, a schoolroom from the 1800s, and traditional printing presses. There’s also an art gallery, café, and museum displays to enjoy. You can choose to join a guided tour or stroll through at your own pace to see everything the village has to offer.
Beenleigh Historical Village Church
Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway

If families are looking for something completely different to do, or have a locomotive-obsessed little ones, check out the Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway in Ipswich! 

Experience a ride on vintage steam trains from the early 1900s and learn about Queensland’s railway history as you travel along historic tracks. Enjoy beautiful countryside views and grab a bite to eat or drink onboard. Check their website for dates and times.

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Queens Park Environmental Education Centre

Queens Park Environmental Education Centre offers locals, visitors (and especially families) the chance to learn more about Ipswich’s unique natural environment, waterways, and sustainability themes at no cost. Located in the heart of the city’s beloved Queens Park, children can get hands-on with this delightful, interactive, playful learning environment.

The Centre has many environmental education exhibits that showcase Ipswich’s unique natural environment, waterways, and sustainability themes. The interactive displays connect visitors with nature in the home and around the city. Families will love visiting the giant fig ‘growing’ inside the centre and explore the variety of ecosystems and wonderful wildlife that can be found in the Ipswich area.

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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!

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miniBOUNCE

Head over to Carindale to exert some of your little ones’ boundless energy where you’ll find this active adventure-play centre specially designed for pre-school children, offering fun, active-play experiences that help develop a positive relationship with physical activity. 

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Hologram Zoo

Hologram Zoo is a family-friendly entertainment centre that operates like a traditional zoo, but with a twist – all the animals are holographic projections created using laser light technology. Suitable for children aged three and above, there are different country based shows like Africa, North Pole, Asia, and Australia. The zoo even allows guests to travel back in time and visit the dinosaurs. 

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Area 51

Area 51 Brisbane is Australia’s largest indoor playground, occupying an incredible total space of 10,000 square metres of endless fun for all ages. 

For babies to small toddlers there’s Astrotots Wonderland and Cosmo’s Inflatable Wonderland. For children aged three to four, they can explore Mini Rovers, which includes Trampoline Park, Cosmo’s Inflatable Wonderland and Gizmo’s Galaxy. Children ages five and up can explore Universe, which includes High Ropes, Bouldering, Trampoline Park, Gizmo’s Galaxy, Mega Slides, Parkour X or Ninja Park.

Adults are very welcome to supervise for free or play for the price of a ticket.

Area 51 also has four different eateries, including iDumplings, Night Market, Mollis and the Area 51 Cafe.

Space Shuttle Inflatable At Area 51

At Little Scholars, with locations across South East Queensland, we understand that rainy days are opportunities for unique and engaging learning experiences. Our early learning service is dedicated to providing the highest quality early education and care, making every day, rainy or sunny, a chance for exploration, learning and fun.

Our beautiful campuses, best of the best resources and sector-leading curriculum, including play-based programs underpinned by the Early Years Learning Framework, ensure that your child won’t miss a beat in their development, even when it’s pouring outside.

Our team of dedicated educators tailors activities to the individual needs and interests of each child, making every day an adventure in learning. We cherish the deep, nurturing relationships our educators build with each child and celebrate the friendships they form with their peers.

Why not see for yourself how we transform rainy days into super fun learning experiences? Book a tour today and join our Little Scholars family!

There’s nothing like a three year old with a transport obsession! Plane, ship and train spotting is an excellent way to encourage your child’s interests whilst creating an engaging, contextual learning experience that can connect their early learning centre activities to the real world. Your child’s interests in transportation and machinery will have been noticed by their early education teachers and encouraged. You can expand on their excellent work by crafting a family day out that everyone will enjoy.

Train Spotting Brisbane and Gold Coast

Here are the best places to go train spotting in the South-East Queensland region. Train spotting in Brisbane isn’t just limited to the electric train system.  The Caboolture line especially boasts a broad variety of freight trains, long distance passenger trains and even the odd diesel.  Anyone with a Thomas obsessed kid will know all about diesels!  Thomas lovers may also enjoy a day trip out to the old turntable in Imbil.  If you want to take the train spotting experience further, you can always book a Steam Train Sunday ticket or ride the Valley Rattler historical park in Gympie.

  • Yeerongpilly overpass
  • Moorooka, Rocklea and Salisbury Stations
  • Acacia Ridge (on the road bridge)
  • Roma Street – both above the busway and in the station itself. You can also get a great view from within the Roma Street Parklands.
  • Wooloowin Station
  • Virginia Station – Take the bike path between Brickyard Road Dog Park and Norths Junior Rugby League to see trains pass just meters above your head!  The rail overpass is so close you could almost reach up and touch it.
  • Dakabin Station
  • Morayfield Station
  • Chelmer, Graceville, Sherwood and Corinda Stations
  • Wacol, Ebbw Vale, Wulkuraka, Karrabin, Walloon, Thagoona Stations
  • Pedestrian bridge at Strathpine Station
  • Toombul, Clayfield and Eagle Junction Stations.  Your little one can also sit under the Toombul rail overpass and see the trains from beneath.  Enter via Parkland Street at Toombul.
  • Darra Station
  • Dutton Park Station
  • Varsity Lakes Station
Train Spotting Brisbane

Best Spots for Little Plane Spotters in Brisbane

Got an eagle-eyed toddler in love with planes? Here is where you can take them to spot planes near Brisbane.

  • Acacia Street Loop (Brisbane)
  • Boronia Road (Brisbane)
  • Da Vinci Boulevard (Brisbane)
  • Redciffe Aerodrome (Brisbane)
  • Caboolture War Plane Museum (North of Brisbane)
  • Adina Avenue (Gold Coast)
  • Diamond Betty Park (Gold Coast)
  • Tugun Seahawks (Gold Coast)

Don’t forget the wonderful Sir Charles Kingsford Smith Memorial near Brisbane Airport.  The memorial features The Southern Cross aeroplane, carefully preserved for eager aviation enthusiasts, displayed in a giant hanger.  It’s open 24/7 and is completely free.  Learn more here.

Train Spotting Brisbane

Ship Spotting Ahoy – Brisbane

There are a number of excellent vantage points from which young learners can see enormous ships. Any coastal point that you can find is going to offer many opportunities to spot a variety of ships. A fun idea for Brisbane families is to head to the P&O Docks at Hamilton to see the huge cruise liners come in to port. Imagine the look on your child’s face as they are completely dwarfed by the ship of their dreams! This spot offers a plethora of family-friendly dining and activity options in the surrounding areas to cap off a wonderful family day out.

Anywhere along Bramble Bay and on the Redcliffe Peninsula will offer little ship spotters great views of cruise ships and freighters coming in and out of port.  You can also take a drive out to the Port of Brisbane to see these giants up close.

To truly pique little interests, toddlers love a visit to the Queensland Maritime Museum where they can get up close and personal with a variety of different vessels.

Plane, ship and train spotting Brisbane and Gold Coast

Becoming involved in, and planning activities around, your child’s interests is not only an excellent way to connect their learning between home and school but to create special moments together that can sometimes be lost in the grind of the day-to-day.

Looking for other great ideas for your toddler this weekend?  Check out our guide to toddler friendly bushwalking!

Train Spotting Brisbane

Looking for the right childcare experience for your little plane spotters? At Little Scholars, we believe in embracing your child’s natural curiousity and helping them to develop interests.  Tour our centres across Brisbane and The Gold Coast to see how we do early learning better.

The Gold Coast is ripe with opportunities for healthy, outdoor family fun. You’ll be bombarded with suggestions for theme parks and the like but if you’re looking for more creative things to do on the Gold Coast with toddlers, the following suggestions are bound to make for some excellent memories.

Feeding pelicans

The best bet is to head to Harley Park and Ian Dipple Lagoon (Broadwater). Charis Seafood does daily pelican feedings at about 1.30pm every day. The clever birds start massing an hour or so before (they must have watches in their massive beaks). This is an exciting and impressive activity that little kids will enjoy as they take in the wonderous size and amusing antics of these impressive water birds.

Bushwalking with toddlers

This is not an editing error! Bushwalking with a toddler in tow is possible and it can be enjoyable as well, as long as you’re prepared.

Bushwalking provides toddlers and young children with the opportunity to exercise in an entirely natural setting. It promotes an appreciation of the beautiful natural settings that we often take for granted in Australia and it’s an excellent way to spend some quality time together as a family.

The best locations for bushwalking with young children on the Gold Coast are:

  • Three Sisters Walking Track (1.6 km)
  • Purling Brook Falls Circuit (4 km)
  • Cougal Cascades Track (1.5 km)
  • Minyon Falls (4 km)
  • Tarrabora Reserve (2.4 km)
  • Heritage Park Trail (2 km)
  • Caves Circuit (5 km)
  • Federation Walk (3.5 km)
  • Oceanview Walk (4.6 km)
  • Palm Grove Circuit (2.6 km)

Animal experiences

The big theme parks have the crowd, the prices and the plastic. If that’s exactly what you’re hoping to avoid with your little ones, take heart! There are a number of fantastic family-friendly venues on the Gold Coast that promote sustainability and conservation. They provide families with animal experiences in a natural, respectful way that sets up a lifetime appreciation for the wonderful creatures we share our world with. These can make for excellent days out and really are one of the best things to do with toddlers on the Gold Coast.

Places you can take toddlers to see animals on the Gold Coast:

  • David Fleay Wildlife Park
  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Paradise Country Farm Stay
  • Cedar Glen Farm Stay
  • Macadamia Castle

How can nature and creativity enhance your child’s learning? Contact Little Scholars today to find out how.

Thinking of bushwalking in Brisbane with little ones in tow? There are great tracks that are closer than you think. Taking young children bushwalking can be an excellent way to contextualise the great learning they do about nature with actual immersion in a natural setting. Outdoor nature play features heavily in the Little Scholars curriculum design – so much so that you might be surprised by what your young children will be able to teach you!

Little Scholars would like to remind readers of the policy of ‘leave nothing and take nothing.’ Natural environments should not be disturbed and animals should be left well alone.  Here are some easy nature walks on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane that toddlers can do as well!

Gold Coast Bushwalking

There are a number of easy, short tracks that little legs will find somewhat manageable. Ensure that you bring appropriate clothing, sun protection and the obligatory snacks that must accompany any outing with small children!

Cougal Cascades Track

This track is only 1.6km return and can be found in Springwood National Park. There is a beautiful outlook to Currumbin Creek that will prompt many discussions of environmental concepts like water flow and erosion. Kids can even safely swim depending on the time of year you go!

Three Sisters Walking Track

Again, you’ll find this track manageable as it is a mere 1.6km return. You can head to the lookout at Kings Beach where you will have the opportunity to learn about the Indigenous heritage of the beautiful surrounds.

Natural Bridge Gold Coast

Natural Bridge in the beautiful Springbrook National Park is a very easy 1km circuit that includes a glow worm cave (best viewed in the evening) and waterfall.  If you know where to look, you may also get a glimpse at a trap door spider so hold little hands and avoid touching muddy embankments!  You will find a lot of stairs on your walk, so it’s not suited to a pram but still an easy walk for kids of all ages.

Brisbane Bushwalking

JC Slaughter Falls, Mt Coot-tha

The morbid name does not represent the wonderful experience that awaits your toddler! Brisbane bushwalking for kids is well represented by a number of tracks that differ in terms of difficulty and duration. There is also Indigenous artwork along the way to inspire and promote discussion.  Take your swimmers as the track offers plenty of shallow water creeks in which little ones can paddle.

Toohey Forest Park, Mt Gravatt

This south side Brisbane location boasts a number of tracks as well as family-friendly facilities designed to promote engagement with nature. There are a large number of animals in this area as well – perfect for the eagle-eyed toddler.

Freshwater National Park, Deception Bay

Freshwater National Park on Deception Bay Road is a hidden gem for parents of nature loving little ones.  Besides the very easy walk through a forest of beautiful grass trees, Freshwater National Park is home to a reclusive koala population, lizards, birds and wallabies.

Cedar Creek, Samford

Cedar Creek, with its deep and shallow swimming options, meanders its way through 11 different picnic spots, ideal for families to spend a leisurely afternoon. The once popular Cedar Creek Falls now lie on private property but there are still ample opportunities enjoy a little bushwalking in Brisbane’s outer west. If your little one is all about the exploring rather than the walking, Cedar Creek offers plenty of exploration opportunities with a little bit of exercise thrown in!

The Importance of a Nature Curriculum

Kindergarten and early learning programs that feature nature play prepare our children to embrace sustainability and foster a healthy respect for the environment. Take the lessons of your Little Scholars’ classroom into the great outdoors this weekend. At Little Scholars, we believe sustainable living, bushwalking and immersing children in the natural environment is an important element of their education and development. Learn more about our unique curriculum here.

How Little Scholars Gets Little Ones Inspired By Nature

Our innovative programs not only promote values around conservation and sustainability, but also pique your child’s interest in the natural world.  Your child doesn’t need to be a budding scientist (although we’ll always encourage children to pursue an interest in science) to benefit from keen observation skills and natural curiousity.  A fundamental interest in the natural world and “how things are” is the foundation for a life time of learning.  As early educators, we believe that this is invaluable to little minds.  All of our centres feature a comprehensive nature based curriculum – with Yatala currently trialling a cutting edge program for little scientists and nature lovers. Read about our nature walk in Yatala here.

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Come and see the Little Scholars difference

Let us hold your hand and help looking for a child care centre. Leave your details with us and we’ll be in contact to arrange a time for a ‘Campus Tour’ and we will answer any questions you might have!

Come and see the Little Scholars difference

Let us hold your hand and help looking for a child care centre. Leave your details with us and we’ll be in contact to arrange a time for a ‘Campus Tour’ and we will answer any questions you might have!