Got a toddler in Brisbane? Doing a city stay and need to keep a littler person entertained? Brisbane’s CBD, for toddlers might feel like another big boring city – but there are plenty of things to do with toddlers and kids in Brisbane’s heart. Brisbane Botanical Gardens in the city centre is the ultimate place for toddlers, especially if you’re visiting Brisbane in winter (aka summer everywhere else).
Our Top Tips for Toddlers in The Gardens
- Go late afternoon as there are amazing things to do as the sun goes down. Winter is an excellent time to visit with toddlers as Brisbane’s not too cold and the evening attractions will happen before bed time!
- While there are pram friendly toilets and nappy change facilities at the city end of the gardens, there’s not much in way of food and drinks. Take your own, and have a picnic in the park.
- The City Gardens Cafe (The Gardens Club) is located at the centre of the gardens and is open from 7.30 am until 3pm daily (closing at 4pm on weekends). While the menu is not especially toddler friendly (chips and pancakes are the most popular toddler options), there is an outdoor kiosk selling snack foods and coffee which might be a better option for families with young kids. Outdoor dining in the City Botanical Gardens means plenty of bird activity nearby which is a win for little people. It’s cute hearing a 2 year old pronounce Bin Chicken, right?
- You can also purchase “pre-packed picnics” from the cafe if you order ahead. There is a kid friendly option, but at $60, it might be smarter to take your own!
- For toddlers who love to run around, there are tons of wide open space and nooks and crannies to explore – but there’s also plenty of ‘danger zones” including an un-fenced lake and steep hill leading to the river. You’ll need to be prepared to keep up with your toddler!
- If your toddler has wheels, take them! The Brisbane City Botanical Gardens are the ultimate scooter and bike destination. If not, take a pram or stroller, it’s a big walk!
- The gardens boast a series of “information boards” around the flora and fauna. Take a moment to bring these to your toddler’s attention – because there’s nothing so cute (and educationally valuable) as a 3 year old pointing out “a ficus benghalensis of interest”.
Brisbane Botanical Gardens for Toddlers
It’s important to plan your visit to the City Botanical Gardens as there are different things to do with toddlers depending on the day and time. Sunday morning is peak time at the gardens. Not just with joggers and families but also with a small artisan craft and fresh food market at the Albert Street entrance.
Brisbane City Botanical Gardens Playground
Between the Albert Street entrance and the river you’ll find the recently built City Botanical Gardens playground. It features several separate play areas for big kids, little kids and kids with special needs. They’re a sensory feast for kids of all ages, including toddlers. The playground is an easy walk to the toilets and features shaded seating for parents. Toddlers can easily spend 2-3 hours here without getting bored as there is an impressive array of things to do and explore. Settle in and get comfy as your toddler is going to thoroughly wear himself out! Just be aware that the steep hillside leading down tot he river is only a short toddle away!
Wildlife Loving Toddlers
The Brisbane City Botanical Gardens are a haven for local wildlife – not just the Bin Chickens! You’ll find fish, eels, lizards, possums, little native scurrying things (and their not so cute rodent cousins unfortunately) and tons of bats. If you’re heading to the gardens at dusk (thoroughly recommended) you’ll see the full array of wildlife on display. While feeding native animals is not encouraged… say your toddler were to accidentally drop from fruit… you might get an up-close experience with a wild possum. You know, like, if you just so happened to have some apples in your bag. Just saying… If you were to have a close encounter with a possum in the gardens, stay back, they don’t appreciate a toddler pat (aka a thump).
Night time in the Gardens
A real life fairy garden… I kid you not. Brisbane City Botanical Gardens now boasts a tree climbing, fairy attracting adventure playground. From sundown, the ficus trees along the river behind the QUT buildings light up with inviting adventures to be had. Spanning both sides of the gardens entrance to the Goodwill Bridge is a fairy light paradise for little people – not to mention climbing opportunities and standing stones to explore. This is quite a walk for little folk – whether you’re coming from the South Bank end or the city entrance to the gardens – you’ll need a pram or stroller or you’ll end up carrying your toddler – and every parent LOVES that.
Boats, Bridges and Bikes
Right on the crook of the river, the Brisbane Botanical Gardens lets boat loving kids feast on high speed City Cat ferries and hosts “Brisbane’s boat parking lot” right out front. The Goodwill bridge at the southern end of the gardens allows toddlers to look down at the high speed ferries as they pass below. The City Botanical Gardens also hosts bike paths that make for excellent scooting – with long flat paths, hilly paths and even paths through a mangrove forest along the waterfront. For little people interested in the built environment, there’s plenty to see and do at the Brisbane City Botanical Gardens.
Brisbane as a family mini-break destination
Toddlers love Brisbane Botanical Gardens – but it’s not the only kid friendly place in the city. South Bank, Roma Street Parklands, Kangaroo Point Cliffs and a host of activities at the city library and along the river makes Brisbane a toddler friendly destination for family city breaks and days out. In winter, Brisbane city hotels are affordable and offer “family packages”. Because Brisbane is relatively warm all year round, it makes the perfect destination for an affordable “off peak” family holiday.