When I was very little my parents would take my sister and I into town on a Friday night. We’d dress up, take the train and window shop. The city seemed an exotic and grown-up place, a magic window into another world.
As a young woman the CBD was my playground. It was a place of learning, the theoretical at uni and the practical after-dark in the bars and clubs.
For the years I worked in town it was all about the hustle and bustle and little else.
Now, I return to the lens of childhood as I take my boys on city adventures. Every town has so many facets and different angles. As a child the city seemed wondrous, as a young adult it seemed the parochial poor cousin to Sydney and Melbourne. As the years passed I have watched Brisbane grow into herself. And now I see it again through the eyes of a child and there are so many adventures to be had. Most of them free.
Buses, trains and ferries are a source of amazement and excitement for my boys. Just getting into town is an adventure within itself. Children currently travel free on public transport on weekends in Brisbane (City Cats included). Weaving through the city and surrounds using various modes of transport is a (cheap) option for hours of entertainment. The City Hopper ferry is a favourite (and currently free for everyone). It makes playground hopping between Kangaroo Cliffs and the Botanic Gardens just a little more fun.
City Square Library
The Brisbane City Council libraries are amazing places and all of them have areas for kids. The Brisbane City Square library is no exception. It also tends to be quieter than your standard suburban library.
The city gardens are a joy to walk through and even more fun to scooter or cycle through. There is a great playground for kids, nestled among the gardens like a fairy castle. And the abundant grassy hills are perfect for picnics and gazing at the clouds.
Within QUT itself, the cube consists of three huge, interactive screens. The kids can spend ages learning about all sorts of things. I am so jealous that this wasn’t around when I was a student. How does anyone get any work done? Entry is free. You can find out more here.
The Museum of Brisbane is housed with the historic City Hall and is fun place to explore as an alternative to GoMA and the QLD Museum. You can also go up into the clock-tower, via the old, hand-operated lift. So much fun and completely free.
Roma Street Parklands
The Roma Street Parklands offer acres of beautiful gardens to explore and play in. There is often live music to listen on a lazy weekend afternoons.
Skyscrapers and Lifts
One of the beautiful things about having children is rediscovering the amazing things we grow to take for granted. My boys love going up in lifts and seeing the sky-scraper views. The lifts with glass outsides (like the ones outside the Hilton) are particular favourites. 111 Eagle street has a glass lift if you feel like braving the corporates with the kids in tow. Just don’t tell the suits I sent you.
On Wednesdays from 8am – 6pm, the Jan Powers markets are hosted in Brisbane Square. There are lots of delicious treats to try, but avoid the 12pm – 2pm rush.
And if all else fails, the city is an epic place for Pokemon hunting. I have been reliably told by my eight year old.
The city isn’t overtly child friendly compared to places like Southbank or suburban shopping precincts, but there are so many gems to discover if you make the leap.
Do you ever take your kids into town for adventures or do you stick to the kid-centric suburbs and parklands?