20 ideas to entertain the kids these school holidays

What's on over the June/July 2021 school holidays...
09 Jun 2021
Ashleigh Howarth, Freelance writer

The June/July school holidays are quickly approaching, so if you’re stuck for activities to fill up the two weeks, never fear, because we have compiled a comprehensive list of ways to keep the kids entertained.

Everyone’s favourite blue engine returns to The Workshops Rail Museum

Day out with Thomas

Thomas the Tank Engine, plus his friends the Fat Controller, Douglas, Annie, Clarabel, Diesel 199, Trevor the Traction Engine and George the Steamroller, will be appearing at the Workshops Rail Museum these school holidays.

The Day Out With Thomas event features lots of Thomas-themed activities like colouring-in, games, puzzles, a special play pit, and even a movie!  The museum will also be hosting a sensory day so they can ensure all the children in the community with sensory processing disorders can come along and join in the fun too.

If you’re feeling hungry during your visit, why not purchase a special lunchtime picnic hamper before going to explore more of the museum’s exhibitions. Bookings are required, and tickets can be purchased online.

Due to the recent COVID lockdown, The Workshops Rail Museum will remain closed until at least Sunday 4 July. Please click here to confirm re-opening before attending.

Be brave and take a ghost tour throughout Ipswich

Ipswich Cemetery Ghost Tour

If you’re not scared of things that go bump in the night, book tickets to attend one of the many ghost tours that run throughout Ipswich every month. Ghost Tours Australia will be running seven tours during the holidays, including the Haunted Ipswich CBD Ghost Tour (June 25 and July 9), Goodna Cemetery Haunted History Tour (June 26 and July 10), and the Ipswich Cemetery Ghost Tour (July 3). Log onto their website to reserve your place.

Build your own snowman just like Olaf

Snow 4 Kids

You don’t have to travel interstate to see snow – all you need to do is head to Orion Springfield Central these holidays.

During the Snow4Kids holiday event, kids will be squealing for joy as they build their own snowman, throw snowballs at their family and friends, climb the snow mountain, and take lots of happy snaps in the winter wonderland. The event will run from Saturday, June 19 to Sunday, July 14 in the car park area behind Spotlight and Aldi. Sessions will run daily from 9.30am-4.30pm.

General admission is $20 per person. Log onto the Orion Springfield Central website for more details.

Dinosaurs, reptiles, music performances and more at Tulmur Place

Ipswich’s Tulmur Place will be a hive of activity throughout the school holidays, with lots of events planned for kids of all ages.

Events include special stage shows featuring prehistoric creatures, Geckoes Wildlife Show and wildlife encounters, a silent disco tour, arts and craft, as well as a special visit from children’s television host, actor and early literacy advocate Jay Laga’aia.

See the Ipswich Libraries website for more information.

Enter an interactive transport world at the Ipswich Art Gallery

Will there be hover cars in the future? Will planes be able to fly between countries faster than we ever imagined? Kids can find out the answers to these questions and more when they visit the On the Move exhibition, now showing at the Ipswich Art Gallery. Not only will they imagine what vehicles will look like in the future, but they will also learn lots of interesting facts about cars, buses, trains, planes and more, and see how they have evolved over time. This exhibition is open now and closes on Sunday, July 18.

Hunt for buried treasure in the Ipswich CBD

Move over Captain Hook, there are some new pirates in town searching for buried treasure. Primary school aged children will have a blast digging in a specially designed sandpit as they search for jewels, gems and other special items at the Ipswich Art Gallery over the school holidays.

The galery’s Treasure Hunt will be held from Wednesday, June 23 until Saturday, July 10, from 9.30am-3.30pm daily (excluding Sundays).

Entry is $5 per child (free for children under 3 and accompanying parents/carers) and entitles one child to their own treasure bag to decorate anyway they wish, and a wristband to enter the sandpit. Bookings are not required – Pay at the gallery’s information desk on the day (cashless sales only).

Laugh out loud until your stomach hurts at the Ipswich Civic Centre

Splash Test Dummies

Mums, dads and children of all ages won’t be able to control their laughter when the hilarious Splash Test Dummies visit Ipswich during the school holidays to perform their new show. See a brilliant array of catch-your-breath stunt work, acrobatics, juggling and the side-splitting, slapstick comedy for which the dummies are famous for. The show will be held on Thursday, July 8 at 6pm. Tickets are $22 each.

Take to the skies in a big balloon

Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights

Enjoy a bird’s eye view of Ipswich’s beautiful scenery with a gentle hot air balloon float these school holidays. Turn an ordinary day into a magical one you and the kids will never forget as you soar high above the ground with Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights. As the sun rises, guests will enjoy majestic 360-degree views of Ipswich, the Scenic Rim and Somerset countryside – a stunning view you are not likely to forget anytime soon, and one you will want to share with your loved ones on your social media stories.

Jump on your bikes

Cycling towards the BVRT

Take a leisurely bike ride with the whole family from Ipswich to Fernvale along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. The trail traces the old Brisbane Valley rail line that commenced at Wulkuraka and continued to Yarraman, west of Kilcoy. The 20km trail from bustling Ipswich out to the rural township of Fernvale is suitable for all riders, taking you on a fun family adventure through farmland, forest and picturesque settings away from the busy traffic.  The trail features various surfaces, including sand, grass, gravel and rough stretches of rocky ballast. By using the Brassall Bikeway, riders can easily connect The Workshops Rail Museum in North Ipswich, and then travel via the road network to the historic Ipswich Central precinct, which is full of eateries, quirky shops and attractions like Queens Park and the Ipswich Art Gallery.

Hidden Vale Adventure Park

If you are a family that loves the thrill of mountain biking, Hidden Vale Adventure Park offers a unique outdoor experience just a short drive from Ipswich.

Located near Grandchester, the park features more than 100 kilometres of tracks all set in 12,000 acres of bushland. If you are keen to explore the region but don’t have your own bike, you can hire one. There are lots of trails suitable for kids, which are labelled as the green tracks. The tracks are open to the public every day except when there is a race event on, so be sure to check the website beforehand to ensure there are no competitions on the day you wish to go.  

The park is open for a small fee, which gives you unlimited access to all the trails for the day, or annual memberships are also available.  To access the trails, take the service entry next to Spicers Hidden Vale, where the park manager will greet you and offer you a map.

Get crafty at a number of hands-on workshops

Sip 'n' Dip Ipswich

If your child loves to be creative, book them in to attend one of the many school holiday activities that is hosted by Sip ‘n’ Dip Australia. Some of the workshops include paint pouring your own skateboard deck, make your own dip dyed tassel, learn to make four pigmented ink coasters and alcohol ink fans, just to name a few. Like Sip ‘n’ Dip Australia on Facebook and search under their events tab for more information.

Events galore as SPARK Ipswich festival begins

deLight - Artwork by Glen Smith

SPARK Ipswich, the reimagined Ipswich Festival, is an 11-day city-wide event celebrating the people, places, arts and culture of Ipswich.

The 2021 program will deliver up fresh new festival content including contemporary music, arts and sustainability festival just for kids.

SPARK will kick off with a major art and light installation on the Bremer River and projections on the historic St Mary’s Church that will activate the city over the 11 days.

Waghorn to West will profile Queensland born and bred musicians alongside Ipswich emerging artists and the festival’s world music series will showcase Ipswich’s culturally diverse performance community.

In addition, SPARK on Tour will take performances direct to the community, with family-themed acts live in the suburbs of Ipswich. 

Solve the puzzles to reclaim your freedom

Seraphim Escape

Imagine being locked in a room, and the only way you will be allowed out again is to solve a number of puzzling puzzles. This is what awaits you at Seraphim Escape Rooms. Your teenagers will love putting their brains to the test in a race against time to unlock the door and reclaim their freedom. 

Get cuddly with the adorable camels in nearby Harrisville

Summer Land Camels

Summer Land Camel Farm in nearby Harrisville will be hosting a number of events throughout June and July that will tie in with the school holidays and the Scenic Rim’s popular Eat Local Week.  The first event will be a Market Day on Saturday, June 25, allowing visitors the chance to support local businesses, farmers and producers by taste testing and purchasing their products to take home.

There will also be a Little Farmer Humpty Day on Monday, June 28, where kids can tour the farm and even have the chance to ride one of the beautiful animals. In addition, those wishing to try a range of tasty milk, yoghurts and gelato made from camel milk will also have the opportunity to do so at upcoming Farm Tour and Taste events.

Head to the Summer Land Camels website for more information and to book.

Enjoy a sweet treat at Ungermann Brothers

Ungermann Brothers are re-launching their tasting plates

In celebration of the school holidays, Ungermann Brothers will be releasing a cool, icy new treat for youngsters to enjoy – a special banana split! Be sure to like their Facebook page for more information on when you can buy one!

Also they are re-launching our Tasting Plates with a brand new flavour combination!  Enjoy Dark Chocolate and Orange, Salted Caramel, Bacon and Pecan and Toasted Coconut with Rum Soaked Raisins from June 11 for two weeks or longer if they are popular.

Kids eat free at popular Ipswich restaurants

Waffles at The Retro Diner

School holidays are a great time for the family to head out to dinner to spend some quality time together.

When you dine in at Memories of India, the bill will be a little cheaper as kids under the age of seven will eat free (conditions apply). The chefs have also whipped up some winter dishes that will leave you feeling warm and full, including chicken Chettinad, lamb dansak, butter vegetables and more. 

Also The Retro Diner are offering free kids meals with the purchase of an adult’s meal, all school holidays.  Kids can choose an item from the children’s menu for free!


Sit back and relax with a big bucket of popcorn

These school holidays there’s some great blockbusters showing at Limelight Cinemas, from Disney’s Cruella, Spirit Untamed and more family feelgood movies.

The Tivoli Drive-in will also be showing a number of family-friendly Hollywood busters on the big screen throughout the holidays. To find out what’s showing, head to their website.

Meet some of the city’s furriest and cutest residents

Animal lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to an array of wildlife and farmyard experiences that can only be found in and around Ipswich. The Ipswich Nature Centre in Queen’s Park is an unmissable experience for any visitor, as it is home to more than 42 different species and 200 animals, including bilbies, dingoes, wallabies, a wombat, and also features a walk-through bird aviary.

The Ipswich Nature Centre is the only free zoo in south east Queensland, so you and your family can stay as long as you like, or come back whenever you feel like seeing those cute little faces again. They are open seven days a week during the school holidays and even offer special Animal Encounters, where young ones can learn more about the animals with a special VIP walking tour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (during school holidays) at 9am and 11am.

Spend some time at a Ewe Nique Hobby Farm

Haigslea Ewe Nique Hobby Farm

Haigslea Ewe Nique Hobby farm will be open every day of the school holidays for you to pat and feed the cuddly farm animals including sheep, chickens, goats and alpacas.

 At the moment they have baby lambs being born and you can come and take a photo with the cute babies! 

They are running two sessions per day one at 9am and one at 10.30am.  There will be extra afternoon sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm-2.30pm if the morning sessions fill up.

Entry is $5 per person and animal feed is $3 a bucket or four for $10.

Let the kids run wild at one of Ipswich’s great parks

Ipswich is renowned for its beautiful open spaces and adventure playgrounds. Grab out the picnic basket and fill it with your favourite goodies and head to either Queens Park, Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve, Lobley Park, Bob Gamble Park or Robelle Domain. Each park features lots of wide-open spaces, playgrounds, picnic tables and more.

Eat a meal at Ipswich’s best kid-friendly restaurants and cafes

Kid friendly dining Raw Energy

All that adventure is sure to leave a rumble in your tummy, and thankfully there are lots of great eateries for families and foodies to enjoy. Check out this handy list of family friendly food options in Ipswich.

Ashleigh Howarth Freelance writer
Ashleigh Howarth is a journalist with more than 12 years experience in the media industry. Her passions include travelling, dessert bars, cocktails and attending music concerts. She aims to inspire others to unlock their own sense of wanderlust to explore this beautiful big world, whether that be on a local or more global scale. You can keep up to date with her stories by following @journo_ash_ on Instagram.

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