Family friendly events Queensland

The best Queensland kid-friendly events for 2020

If you’ve visited Brisbane before with your family, no doubt you’ve lolled about at South Bank beach and created masterpieces at QAGOMA’s Childrens Art Centre.

2020 is your chance to take it up a notch, with oodles of kid-friendly events taking place across the state.

Plan a trip (or weekend activity) that’ll capture their imagination, make them laugh, and grow their curiosity.

See the adventures of a 19th-century nanny come to life or race to the finish line at the Gold Coast. Add the world’s biggest science festival and you’ve got the start of a year-long line-up of Queensland events set to captivate the young (and young at heart!).

Let us show you around the best Queensland kid-friendly events in 2020.

Water at QAGOMA : 7 December 2019 – 26 April 2020

Water at GOMA Brisbane

Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

Spend summer by the water – but not as you know it.

This blockbuster exhibition is going to be a hit for all ages, but there’s a host of immersive art installations that’ll spark excitement and imagination in your kids.

Meet the predators and prey at the blue waterhole, explore a real-life riverbed, traverse a cloud of gymnastics rings and spot the snowman – yes, he’s frozen even in Brisbane’s summer heat!

Noosa Festival of Surfing: 22 FEBRUARY – 1 MARCH 2020

Noosa Festival of Surfing | Queensland kid-friendly events

Got a budding Stephanie Gilmore or Mick Fanning in your midst?

Boys and girls 15 years and under can compete in the amateur divisions of the Noosa Festival of Surfing (aka the biggest surfing event in the world by competitor numbers). Or you can sign up as a family team and battle the waves together.

Make sure you check out the action on shore too, with free movies and live music adding to the gnarly action of this week-long beach party.

Curiocity: March – April 2020

Curiocity Brisbane kid friendly events | Queensland kid-friendly events

Photo by @CuriocityBrisbane

Challenge their curiosity to create, discover and play during Curiocity. Innovation, science and technology collide in this festival, where you’ll find ‘curiosities’ popping up across the city, from augmented reality spaces and music pop-ups to life-size puzzles and immersive art.

Rent some CityCycles – or bring your own – to explore the installations dotted along the Brisbane River from South Bank to Brisbane Powerhouse for over.

World Science Festival Brisbane: March 2020

World Science Festival Brisbane

Does your kid always ask those questions about the world that you just can’t answer?

As part of Curiocity, The World Science Festival Brisbane returns to spark curious minds,  and connect them with awe-inspiring concepts and discoveries that are shaping our world.

So if you’ve got a future scientist in your midst, or want to open their mind to the wonders of the universe, you’ll find a range of activities in this year’s line-up that is sure to blow their mind (figuratively, of course).

While it’s still under wraps what exactly will be on the science activity menu, stay tuned as the festival program unfolds soon!

Brisbane Cycling Festival: 12 March – 5 April 2020

The whole family can have the ride of their life when Brisbane Cycling Festival rolls into town.

Whether just for kicks or for some real competition, there’ll be community rides in the Tour De Brisbane as well as the Junior Cycling Australia Track National Championships.

Mary Poppins Festival: 27 June – 4 July 2020

Mary Poppins Festival

“Anything can happen if you let it!” said Mary Poppins. And in the charming town of Maryborough, that’s exactly what they do. Let it happen.

Every year in the June/July school holidays, the birthplace of PJ Travers – the author of Mary Poppins – celebrates the life of their “practically perfect” nanny in full colour with a festival of art, culture and fun.

Play dress-up on a life-size scale. Watch the historical streets of this charming town come alive with scenes straight out of storyland, or enter in races like the Great Nanny Challenge and the Chimney Sweep Dash.

Gold Coast Marathon: 4-5 July 2020

Have a future Olympian on your hands?

Some 27,000 athletes will descend upon Surfers Paradise for the iconic Gold Coast Marathon – and while 42km is little far for tiny legs, they can get amongst the action with kids races.

Put all their energy to good use by hitting the pavement in the 2km and 4km Junior Dash races. Children between the ages of five and 10 can enter the 2km event (and can have a parent run with them if they need extra support). For the 4km event, the age bracket is five to 14.

Birdsville Big Red Bash: 7-9 July 2020

Birdsville Big Red Bash| Queensland kid-friendly events

This iconic festival in the dunes of Australia’s best-known desert is both a journey and a destination. Settle the family in for a three-day camping adventure that starts with dune surfing by day (tip: use an Esky lid if you forget the boogie board) and ends with spectacular lighting and live music each night.

Set in the middle of the Simpson Desert, the festival is the only way to say, “I’ve rocked the Red in the Simpson”.

The 2020 event sold out in record time – so mark your calendar for a family road trip in July 2021!

Royal Queensland Show (Ekka): 7-16 August 2020

The Ekka 2020

Photo by @theekka

Show bags, carnival rides, fairy floss, dagwood dogs, fireworks… seriously, what kid isn’t in heaven at Brisbane’s annual Ekka?

You might want to stretch out your fun over the 10 days, as there’s just SO much to see and do from the live shows and award-winning food and wine to taste-test (including the iconic strawberry sundae), to educational activities and the many visits to the animal nursery (because baby animals).

Quandamooka Festival: 27 – 31 August 2020

Give your kids an experience they won’t find in the classroom.

Taste traditional cuisines, watch indigenous dancing, get involved in storytelling, weaving, crafts and poetry. Quandamooka Festival offers the chance to learn the culture of the Indigenous people of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island).

Brisbane Festival: September 2020

Brisbane Festival

Photo by @BrisbaneFestival

If you love your children but hate boring kids shows, Brisbane Festival is here to deliver the goods.

Yep, when a program bursts at the seams with this many world-class acts (with many dedicated to teens and tots), then it’s time to introduce the kids to culture. Brisbane’s annual festival of arts, entertainment and culture offer awesome displays of acrobatics, fun outings like Library on the Lawn, theatre for young thespians, and nightly lights shows at South Bank.

But it’s the 15-minute explosion of colour in the sky from the SunSuper Riverfire that no youngster will forget.

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers: September 2020

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

If you think the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is all mature-aged audiences and horticultural nuts, guess again.

The mammoth 10-day celebration is all about welcoming the change of season with good food and good vibes, and that extends right down to the little ones, with their very own pimped-out play areas and sideshow running for the first three days of the carnival.

Kick things off with the floral floats, stilt walkers and carnival characters the Grand Parade. Head on over to the Heritage Bank Festival of Food and Wine for a kids craft corner where they’ll create their own floral headbands.

End your night at Sideshow Alley in Lower Queens Park – it’s a kid’s (and big kids) technicolour whirlwind, topped off with firework displays lighting up the sky each night of opening weekend.