Kids on the Gold Coast won’t have time to say ‘I’m bored’ these September school holidays, with stacks of free or low-cost experiences being hosted across the city. From animal encounters to circus acts and getting active and healthy in the great outdoors, there’s activities for children of all ages and stages.
This year’s theme for the week-long festivities is super heroes and from Saturday 28 September to Friday 4 October the DC Comics Justice League superheroes are flying into town for an action-packed program. The Gold Coast has many superheroes, but not all of them wear capes, so kids can also meet local heroes such as law enforcement, surf lifesavers and other officers who save lives.
Free shows at 2pm and 4pm daily will be led by three of the original Justice League members; Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash. Avid fans will have the opportunity to meet and greet their heroes at 3pm daily.
A range of other events, games and sports will be hosted in Surfers Paradise.
The Wild Adventures school holiday program from September 30 to October 4 includes enrichment feeding, behind the scenes access and personal animal encounters. With five different action-packed days that run from 8.30am to 3.30pm, your animal-mad kids will be amused and educated. With two age groups per day to allow for tailored and specific content, everyone will have an enjoyable day.
For kids with additional support needs such as ASD, sensory needs, visual impairments and mobility restrictions, the Sanctuary also offers a half-day program. There’s a creative day on October 1 and a sensory day on October 3, both run from 8.30am to 11.30am.
On September 30 and October 4, from 8.30 to 11.30am, children aged three to five can embark on a half-day exploration of the park, do nature-based craft, meet reptiles and insects and finish their day with wildlife story time. Each day is themed on a different children’s story book, parent attendance is required.
Nature-based activities and animal encounters
Dr Toby Smith will introduce the amazing world of Australian native bees. Kids will learn there’s more than 1600 different types and see dozens of brilliant close up photos and diagrams of bees to help explain this great diversity, bee lifecycles and their nests, and their important role in pollination and food security. They’ll also see preserved bee specimens and live stingless bee hives through viewing windows.
Suitable for kids five or older, the free event runs from 9.30am to 10.30am on September 28.
From 10am to 3pm beside the bouncy pillow at Broadwater Parklands, children are invited to check out an interactive display with animals such as lizards, snakes, crocodiles, birds, possums and invertebrates. There will also be presentations throughout the day to educate the public on the city’s beautiful native animals.
The free event is on September 25.
Kids can learn about the important role insects play in the garden, their environmental significance, lifecycles, and how to stay safe while being outdoors. With an educational storyline and a cast of puppets, kid will be taken on a fun fact-filled expedition into the intriguing world of these amazing Australian creatures. An information session with live and displayed insects will be held after the performance and kids can observe or interact with stick insects.
Suitable for all ages, the free event runs from 9.30am-10.30am on September 24.
Learn about a variety of marine animals and discover how they move, eat and protect themselves and the important roles they play in the ocean ecosystem. Kids can get hands-on with some ocean artefacts such as seashells, coral, shark teeth and shark eggs and get up close to beautiful live marine animals such as sea stars, sea cucumbers, hermit crabs, sea snails and sea urchins.
Suitable for kids four and older, this free event is on September 21 from 10-11am.
For those curious about the natural world, during this event children come face-to-face with some of the country’s stunning wildlife including snakes, possums, turtles, lizards, owls and flying foxes. This NaturallyGC activity is part of a program run by the City of Gold Coast to encourage children to connect, conserve and explore nature through educational workshops and nature-based recreation.
The free event is from 9.30-10.30am on September 21, it’s suitable for all ages.
The start of the school holidays is the final weekend of SWELL Sculpture Festival, so head to the beach to check this year’s masterpieces. The artworks are lit at night for a totally different perspective.
On September 21 and 22 at 10am, noon and 2pm kids can make a clay turtle hatchling with Monte Lupo.
This is being held at Wallace Nicoll Park on Currumbin beach and costs $15.
Join the Friends of the Garden at the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens and find natural art materials such as seedpods, leaves, twigs, fronds and other wonders of nature to make something special.
Suitable for five to 12-year-olds, this free event is from 10-11am on October 4.
These furry creatures can be notoriously hard to find in the wild, but kids will be taught how to spot them during this special guided koala tour through some of the Gold Coast’s amazing conservation parks. Kids can also learn about koala food and shelter trees, how to spot evidence of koalas, identifying koala disease and other threats, and how to get involved in koala conservation on the Gold Coast.
Suitable for all ages, it’s on from 9-10am on October 2 .
Active and Healthy activities
This gathering aims to bring the community together to promote skating to families in a healthy and safe environment. Kids of all ages and stages can join Jesse Noonan for this free event. Includes a short coaching session, demos, skate jam, barbecue, raffle and games.
It’s on from 8-10am on September 28.
Let your kids challenge themselves on the rock wall under the supervision of qualified and friendly instructors that give guidance to ensure climbs are enjoyable, exciting and safe. Enclosed shoes must be worn and this is suitable for kids six and older.
No bookings are required for this free event from 9am to 12pm on September 22 at Justins Park.
A fun, engaging and entirely new training and coaching method designed specifically for all types of surfers and board riders to work on multiple parts of the body and mind. These land-based sessions will improve mobility, agility, strength, coordination, endurance, flexibility and core stability to build a strong foundation and get full body results.
Grom is for kids aged 10 to 17 years and micro-grom is for those aged 5 to 10 years.
This free event is from 7am to 8am on September 21, bookings required on 0413 741 917.
Designed for children aged 6 and over, this course teaches bike handling skills and road awareness to enable kids to ride safely in low traffic environments such as footpaths, bike paths and quiet streets. Former state champion road cyclist Chris Thompson is facilitating this event. Children must bring their own bicycle, helmet, water, sunscreen and be accompanied by an adult.
The free event is from 10.30-11.30am on October 3.
Sparky Do Dah’s Pop-Up Playground is a collection of activities and games suited for toddlers to adults. Kids can try their hand at stick juggling, stilts, skee ball, duck fishing and so much more. Pack a picnic, bring the kids scooters or bikes and spend the day exploring the parklands.
It’s a free event from 10am-3pm on September 27.
Roll up and learn how to be a circus performer during a day of fun activities that includes learning how to tumble, hula hoop, juggle and much more.
Don’t forget to pack a hat, sunscreen and your swimmers.
This free event is from 10am-3pm on September 23 beside the bouncy pillows.
From October 3 to 5, HOTA in Bundall plays host to a full program of activities for all mini-explorers and lovers of the wild, as the precinct comes alive with live performances, interactive experiences, arts and crafts and more. The Kids Take Over theme this year is Into the Wild, and kids are encouraged to don their explorer’s hats and be inspired during a fierce and fun mini-fest daily from 10am to 2pm. Kids get a passport on arrival at HOTA so they can collect stickers from each activity.
Kids aged eight to 13 take part in a series of workshops hosted by Danger Club by Circa, one of the best circus companies in the world. They’ll learn a range of circus skills before hosting a special live performance on October 5 before Dan Sultan takes to the stage with his new album. For younger kids there will be Circus Antics Workshops with Spaghetti Circus, where kids can drop in and learn about takings risks, showing off and having fun with circus props.
Another workshop on offer from October 1 to 3 is Toonworld! Stop Motion Animation Workshop, it will teach kids how to develop a storyline and create a unique clay character that will feature in their very own movie featuring cool voice and sound effects. The wild theme of this year’s program is complemented with African Beat, an African drumming workshop that shows kids how to move their hands and feet to the rhythm of the jungle beats.
Finally, delving into the power of imagination, Gold Coast company Shock Therapy has created a colourful and iconic interactive experience that invites kids to take a walk with bush adventurer and mythical creature researcher Pat Malone, through The Magic Garden.
Remember to download the City of Gold Coast’s Active and Healthy School Holiday Program to find out about more free activities in your local area.