There’s plenty of ways to keep your kids entertained over the Christmas break, and many of them won’t even cost you a cent.
Here’s 10 different budget-friendly things to do to get you started these school holidays.
Get stuck into TapeScape
Explore tunnels, caves and slides made of 115,00 metres of sticky tape.
Created by US artist Eric Lennartson, this multi-level sensory playground is twice as big as the previous version of TapeScape, which drew record crowds to the Ipswich Art Gallery in 2016.
The exhibition runs until Sunday, 16 February 2020. The Gallery will be closed over Christmas from 25 December and reopen on 2 January 2020.
Tickets are just $7 per person, with adults at children’s prices. A $20 family pass admits up to 4 people. Children under two years are free.
Socks must be worn on TapeScape. You may bring your own or buy specially designed TapeScape socks at the gallery for $3 a pair which will be yours to keep.
Get your smart phones or tablets out and get ready to spot Santa and his helpers at 40 different locations on the Finding Santa augmented reality trail around Ipswich.
All you need to do is download the Finding Santa app and find the pavement stickers around the city to reveal Santa, Rudolph and friends.
Be dazzled by Christmas Wonderland
Get ready to share in the wonder of Christmas at Nerima Gardens this year with Christmas Wonderland.
The dazzling display includes 50,000 lights – more than double last year.
Christmas Wonderland is open from Friday, 13 December to Sunday, 22 December, with the doors to Nerima Gardens open from 7pm – 10pm nightly, and festive food trucks, Christmas stalls and entertainment from 6pm.
Visit the animals at the Ipswich Nature Centre
See a range of native animals including dingoes, a wombat, rock wallabies, quolls, an emu, bilbies and lace monitors.
The Ipswich Nature Centre is open daily during school holidays from 9.30am to 4pm (outside school holidays it is closed on Mondays).
Entry is free – but gold coin donations are gratefully accepted.
For a special VIP experience, book a School Holidays Animal Encounter, where you can help zookeepers feed the animals, meet barnyard animals, and learn more about what goes into caring for local wildlife.
Session times are:
Monday 13 January 9am session and 11am session
Wednesday 15 January 9am session and 11am session
Friday 17 January 9am and 11am session
Monday 20 January 9am session and 11am session
Tickets are $8 for children aged 12 or under and $10 for students over 12.
Meet some machines in the robot petting zoo at Ipswich Libraries, with different robots every hour.
Ages 5 – 17 years, with parents or carers.
Robot Rotation is on at Springfield Central Library on 20 January 2020 from 1pm – 4pm and at Ipswich Central Library on 24 January 2020 from 1pm – 4pm.
Get creative at Ipswich Libraries
Ipswich Libraries are running a series of Creation Space events from 16 December until 20 December.
Led by local artists, the free drop-in art and craft sessions for all ages are bound to get your creative juices flowing.
Morning sessions are held at Ipswich Central Library and run from 9am – 12.30pm, while afternoon sessions run from 1pm – 4pm at Springfield Central Library.
No bookings required.
Cool off at Orion Lagoon and Robelle Domain
Escape the heat under the tipping bucket at Robelle Domain’s zero depth water park, or have a swim at Orion Lagoon.
If you want to enjoy the water after the sun goes down, head along to Orion Lagoon’s free dive-in movie.
Aladdin will be showing on the big screen on Saturday, 21 December from 7pm – 8.30 pm.
Bike ride at Castle Hill Blackstone Reserve
With over 15 International Mountain Biking Association rated mountain bike trails ranging from easy to very difficult, Castle Hill is suitable for riders of all abilities and has some great off-trail roads for the kids.
The iconic riding destination has recently undergone a makeover, with a new entry feature directing people to the numerous bushwalking and mountain biking trails.
See a puppet show… or make your own
Marvel at the wonders of a traditional puppet show as The Frog Prince is performed by Sydney’s award-winning Murphy’s Puppets.
Suitable for 5 – 12 year olds with parents or carers.
There are two shows on 8 January, at Ipswich Central Library from 10am – 11am and at Springfield Central Library from 1pm – 2pm.
The show is free to attend, but bookings are required.
There are also free puppet making workshops for 10 – 17 year olds at Springfield Central Library on 11 January, from 10am – 11.30am and 12pm – 1.30pm.
Bring along an A5 photo of yourself and create a puppet self-portrait.
Discover new places to play
Ipswich has plenty of play areas that are well known and loved – but here’s a round-up of the lesser-known playgrounds to explore.