Things to do
Things to do with toddlers in Ipswich
Since becoming a mum for the first time almost 5 years ago, we’ve rarely had to travel outside Ipswich in search of something fun to do. As a mum to an energetic toddler, this was brilliant. Not only was it easy to come up with something to do, I didn’t have to endure the, ‘are we there yet’ questions because as a local, everything was nice and close. The only problem I had (and still have even now he is almost 5) is trying to figure out which place to choose.
We still regularly visit these places on kindy free days and I’m sure we will frequent them just as much when my 3 month old daughter is on her feet. If you’re got an energetic toddler and need to get out for some fresh air and change of scenery, here are our top picks of things to do with toddlers in Ipswich.
You simply cannot pass this historically significant park which was established all the way back in 1864. To me this is the heart of Ipswich. I have very fond memories of going to Queens Park as a child and even though it has had some modern upgrades over the years, there is still mountains of fun to be had.
The toddlers section is found at the top of the park next to the car park. It’s here they can safely enjoy play on the train, the fort with slippery slides and watch as the water makes its way down the rivulets after mummy or daddy give the pump lever a good tug. And what toddler doesn’t love a push on the swing. There’s a swing circle at the bottom of the park which is fully shaded.
When it comes to toddlers, there are a few things I love about Queens Park. Firstly, the rubber flooring to minimise the impact of falls which toddlers can do quite often. Secondly, when mummy and daddy are exhausted after all the play, the Queens Park Café is just behind the park where you can enjoy a cuppa, lunch or a snack.
The toddler area has a decent amount of shade under the large trees which is also good for when it’s time for a quick break and snack. But one of our favourite things to do after a visit to Queens Park is definitely a trip down the footpath and over the road to see the animals at the Ipswich Nature Centre.
Ipswich Nature Centre
This is one of the gems of Ipswich, an amazing resource for our children and one of my favourite places to take my kids. Make your way to the old rotunda (est. 1891) and this is where you will start to discover the variety of Australian Native Animals at the centre. Pathways meander through gardens and past enclosures housing animals such as the majestic Black Cockatoo, Wallabies, Wombats, Snakes, Black Swan, Ducks, Bilbies, Emus, Kangaroos, Birds and more.
There are even some friendly folk at the farmyard, guarded closely by Mr Scarecrow. There’s a steer, goats, chickens and if you’re lucky, you might even see Mr Peacock put on his magnificent feather show. We simply can’t get enough of this place with our kids. It’s great seeing their eyes light up when they see the animals up close.
If your toddler likes to get their feet wet but aren’t yet confident in water, this is the place to go! With Robelle Domain’s zero depth water park, there’s plenty of fun for kids and less worry for parents. The other reason I love this place? It’s because it caters to my coffee addiction with the café located right next to the water zone. After a splash around, there are plenty of footpaths that meander through the bushy gardens, perfect for a bit of a scoot around or a push on the smart trike.
The Workshops Railway Museum
When we first moved to Ipswich City my son was 18 months old and we purchased an annual pass for The Workshops Railway Museum. It was definitely money well spent. No matter how many times we visited, my son enjoyed it just as much and he still does today as an almost five year old. Our favourite part of the museum is Little Nippers Railway, it’s here kids can pretend to run a busy train station. There are building blocks and wheelbarrows to push, rail carts to push along the track, trikes to pedal around, a boat to sail, a train carriage and station master window and clothes to dress up in.
There’s truly nothing better to sit back and watch the kids use their little imaginations. But let’s face it, toddlers can get sick of things pretty quickly, not to worry, there’s the Creation Station where kids can do some drawing or read books, they can have a go on the Diesel Simulator or take a look at some of the many old engines throughout the museum. If you’re absolutely flat out and don’t get time to pack a lunch, don’t worry, there’s a café on site.
Splash ‘n’ Play
Fairly new to Ipswich is our new favourite park located in the Providence Estate, you can’t miss it. The giant towers and slides are the main attraction for the big kids, but there is also plenty for toddlers to enjoy including nets, swings, safe climbing structures and a garden themed sea saw. The water play area is popular with toddlers with its zero depth, wiggly fountains, squirts and spurts, streams and puddles.
The Splash ‘n’ Play Adventure Park has various undercover areas, barbecues, toilet and shower facilities. But, of course, with an energetic toddler it’s likely you’d much prefer your food and drinks prepared for you and delivered to your table, right? Well guess what? At this park, you can! Forty West Café overlooks the playground and with super comfy couches looking out over the park, it’s the perfect spot to chill out after a good play session.
River Heart Parklands
Also known as Bob Gamble Park, we love walking and riding along the river to River Heart Parklands, it’s the perfect city spot for toddlers looking to splash and play. In the zero depth water area there are plenty of spraying fountains for toddlers to encounter, a cleverly designed terraced water zone, water streams and interactive water pumps. In addition to the water area, there are swings suitable for toddlers, mini hand operated diggers in the giant sandpit, undercover tables and barbecues and toilets. We don’t have a swimming pool and this is certainly one of our favourite places to cool down.
Also known as the ‘Scooter Park’ in our house, Sutton Park boasts a cleverly designed mini-roadway fully equipped with working traffic lights, zebra crossings, road signs and markings with the primary purpose of teaching children road safety and road rules. Here you can grab a covered picnic table and watch your little one scoot or trike around the mini roadway or have fun on the shaded playground which is equipped with a big seesaw, swings, slippery slide, play fort, air rider and spinning circle.
There park has barbeques, numerous covered picnic tables, a public toilet and water fountains. When it comes to bike riding or scooting, this is my son’s favourite spot to do it safely.
Our wonderful libraries often don’t receive enough credit for the amazing activities they provide for toddlers. Although there have been plenty of times when I’ve wanted to hide amongst the bookshelves because my child has been the noisy one in a quite library, it’s forgiven here because the Ipswich Library has a dedicated children’s section created for the purpose of children enjoying themselves with books and activities. Take a look at the Ipswich Libraries website for various childrens’ activities held regularly at Ipswich, Redbank Plaza, Redbank Plains and Orion Libraries including:
Baby Rhyme Time
I reckon Nerima Gardens has magic powers, I don’t just go here for the kids, I also go here to absorb some of the zen this garden seems to exude.With the meandering pathways that wind through the gardens, it’s the perfect location for toddlers to scoot or pedal along. This gorgeous little sanctuary is also the perfect spot to lay down a picnic blanket and enjoy a picnic with the kids. While you picnic you can watch the ducks on the pond and have a go at spotting the resident turtles, too.