5 Educational Activities for kids in Ipswich
There are numerous activities around Ipswich where children have the opportunity to learn about the history of Queensland, as well as various skills. In Ipswich, kids can learn from getting up close and personal with giant aircraft, discovering dinosaur tracks, creating artistic masterpieces, getting behind the controls of a replica Queensland tilt train and exploring parklands.
Your children will be having so much fun, they won’t even realise the lifelong skills they are learning! Here’s 5 of the best educational activities we discovered for our kids, while in Ipswich.
1. Ipswich Art Gallery
A visit to the Ipswich Art Gallery is fantastic for children of all ages. All year ’round, the gallery provides various educational exhibitions and activities to engage children’s creativity, as well as to encourage families and children to work together on various projects. The foyer of the art gallery houses various free activities for children, which change on a regular basis, so there is always something new to explore. Examples of activities include:
• making sculptures and art work out of papers of different colours and textures, pipe cleaners, pieces of foam and pom poms
• creating art work with spirograph circles and spinning wheels.
After the children have created their master pieces they can proudly display them on the walls of the art gallery. Throughout the year the gallery hosts various exhibits such as “Towers of Tomorrow with Lego Bricks” as well as displaying twelve mesmerising mega towers from Australian and Asian cities made from lego; the exhibit encourages children to make their own mega towers.
All of the activities and exhibits at the gallery provide children the opportunity to work on various skills such as creativity, problem solving, lateral thinking, communication, organisational skills and fine motor skills development. All activities are modified to be suitable for babies, toddlers, and school age children – which is fantastic for families with children of varying ages. The Ipswich Art Gallery is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Bookings and purchase of tickets are required for the special exhibits that the gallery hosts.
2. The Workshops Rail Museum
The Workshops Rail Museum is a great place for the kids to learn about Queensland’s rail history, through various hands-on activities.
Exhibits that your kids are going to love:
• Steam Locomotive Display – kids will be fascinated by seeing the 1908 steam train come to life with steam billowing from its engine. Recordings of workers on the train can be heard giving you a glimpse into life as a guard on the train
• Workshop Tour – kids will love the guided tour around the operating workshop. Tours last for 30 minutes and depart at 10.30am and 12pm daily. Enclosed foot wear is a must for these tours
• Model Railway – kids and train enthusiasts alike will love watching the model railway layout replicating scenes from Queensland’s rail network. The model railway is huge at over 90m2
• Science Centre – this is a great hands on area where kids can learn the science behind operating trains including the operation of the wheels, pistons and the use of electricity and air to operate them
• Drive a replica diesel locomotive or the tilt train. Kids can step aboard the simulators and use controls to navigate around the Queensland rail network
• Nippers Railway – this is a fantastic rail inspired play area over 425m2 including kids sized train, rail tracks with movable boom gates are level crossings, rail station complete with ticket box, wharf to unload and load carriages, dress ups and trikes. There are also plenty of benches around the area, so parents can relax whilst supervising the kids
3. Denmark Hill
Do you have dinosaur-mad children? Well they will love visiting the dinosaur shelter at Denmark Hill. The dinosaur shelter is located only a short walk from the Quarry Street entrance, where families trek through thick bush and across trickling streams before reaching a large rotunda full of various replica animal fossils, and animal tracks including giant dinosaur footprints. The kids will love identifying which tracks belong to which animals, as well as making their own discovery of fossils in the various rocks located throughout the shelter.
After exploring the various fossils, take the family for one of the various walks in the reserve including a walk to the top of the water tower providing 360 degree views of Ipswich City.
There are 5 walks to choose from which vary from 200 metres to 800 metres. The reserve also has various picnic areas with BBQ and toilet facilities.
4. RAAF Aviation Heritage Centre
Children and adults alike will love getting up close and personal with the monster sized air crafts on display at the RAAF Aviation Heritage Centre. Children and adults alike will love getting up close and personal with the monster sized air crafts on display at the RAAF Aviation Heritage Centre. The centre displays a range of aircraft used in various wars such as World War II, the Vietnam War as well as various local community and UN missions.
The aircraft are housed in four hangers as well as outdoors and some of the aircraft on permanent display include:
• Pilatus Porter: this small aircraft has served in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu;
• Caribou: this aircraft has served in various emergency missions both within Australia and the wider Pacific Region;
• F-111: famous for its annual fuel dump and burn during River fire, this aircraft has participated in various air shows and flying displays;
• Boston Bomber: this aircraft has in fact been restored from seven aircraft wrecks recovered from the New Guinea jungle;
• Iroquois: commonly called “Huey” this helicopter severed in the Vietnam war and has served in various community missions such as the 1974 Brisbane and Ipswich floods; and
• Sioux Helicopter: served in the Vietnam war.
The centre also displays some aircraft on a rotation basis that are still in service. Apart from giant aircraft, other items on display include military vehicles, weapons, communication devices, various documentaries and display boards on the history of the RAAF. Kids will even get the opportunity to climb into one of the aircraft as well as control a replica cock pit.
There are plenty of service personnel and volunteers that are only too happy to provide further information on any of the aircraft or displays or answer any questions you may have. The centre is open on the third Sunday of every month and entry is free. Note that you will need to complete a form before entering the centre. For families with young children, please be aware that there is a long walk from the car park to the centre so it may be appropriate to bring a pram.
5. Hardings Paddock
Hardings Paddock is a scenic picnic ground surrounded by bushland with various activities for the entire family. The grounds are well maintained and visitors can take part in various walks in the nearby Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate. There are 9 walks to choose from, with various lengths from 560 metres to 19 kilometres. The tracks also have different ratings from easy to advanced, so ensure you check this before starting out.
Contained within Hardings Paddock is Chalk Circuit – which is the easiest walk from the grounds with the entire walk being completely flat, you could easily push a pram or the kids could ride their bikes. Along the walk are various displays detailing which plants are edible as well as their medicinal properties. The walk is 560 metres and should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes. No doubt kids will love the displays detailing the various animals in the area including replicas of their tracks and faeces.
Other family activities include mountain bike riding, horse riding (bring your own horse) as well bird watching – if you look up you are bound to see a few birds nest in the trees. The grounds also have plenty of picnic areas with BBQs and toilets. For families wishing to stay a bit longer there is also a camp ground here which is ideal for a family weekend away – just note that there is no power, drinking water or showers.