Brisbane | Gold Coast

Things To Do With Your Kids That Aren’t The Theme Parks

Thrill them in another way, and maybe save a bit on money on the side.

Things To Do With Your Kids That Aren’t The Theme Parks

📷 :Natalya Zaritskaya

Kids are hard to impress sometimes. You may think the only thing not on a screen that’s going to shake them is the theme parks (which are definitely fun, btw, just not for this list) but the Gold Coast is chock-a-block full of exciting, unique, interesting activities they’ll remember way longer than their third ride on a roller coaster this month. So instead, try these:

Currumbin Rock Pools

This one is free, and a little more specific than a beach day. The rock pools are one of the GC’s coolest spots, mostly because they exist almost outside of the more tourist-y things available (although we will touch on those). Wade in the water, swim under the waterfall, take a few cute pictures to treasure forever, and know they’ll have had as much fun as they’d have at the Wet’N’Wild wave pool.

Feed The Birds – Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

For the cost of a gold coin, your kids can feed the birds at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and truly feel connected to nature in ways they’ve never dreamed of. Now, that may sound a little ridiculous, but seriously, have you ever seen the kids who do this? Unless you’ve got a child who fears the avian world, which can happen, most likely they’ll just be charmed by the things that can fly and you’ll feel like the best parent in the world. Win/Win!

📷 :Timon Studley

Gold Coast Aqua Park

Ok…this one is a bit of a cheat. Yes, it isn’t one of the big theme parks, but it is essentially a floating small theme park. The theme? Water. But it counts anyway, so give it a go and take your kids to the beach for a few hours of fun in the water. It really doesn’t need explaining, this is just something they’ll enjoy and if you’re not into risks, that’s all you need.

Jetboat Ride

Zoom across the Surfers Paradise waters and feel the need for speed you and your little ones obviously possess be met with this extreme boating experience. They think a roller coaster is cool? This is just as fast, just as fun, and has the added dangerous element of the ocean. It’s still perfectly safe, but maybe you tell them otherwise for some zest? Probably not, seems like a cruel thing to do, but the idea is out there. Regardless, this is a fun activity to do with the kiddos.

Kayaking Tours

Explore the waters of and around Stradbroke Island, learn how to kayak, visit some dope islands and maybe even see a dolphin! Your kids will thank you if they see one, and even if not, this is the experience of a lifetime and one every GC youngin’ deserves to have.

📷 :Corentin Le Leannec

Laser Tag

There’s really no need to sell you on this. Kids love laser tag, they always have, even before it was a thing it was the type of experience they made up in their heads. Obviously, because it came to be. Let them enjoy the feeling of tracking each other down and truly embody the fighting spirit. Join in if you dare, or simply wait for the stories to come to you.

Hot Air Ballooning

Not for the faint of heart, but if your kids are good with heights this will take their breath away. Usually associated with romance, let the heavens speak to the young and show them the skies without the need of propellers. There’s something genuinely magical about hot air balloons, which will speak to any young child. Let them be birds. That isn’t an instruction to throw your kid by the way, just a comment being in the sky.

📷 :Lauren Lulu Taylor

Horseback Riding

Kids like the sound of a horse going clip clop. That’s pretty reductionist, and I’m sure your little one is a genius who also loves science but horses are fascinating to pretty much all kids. Horseback riding is something they’ll not only love, but be able to brag about to their friends back at school. Plus, if they really like it, you’ll have a few years of set themed gifts for them to receive for birthdays and Christmases. Black Beauty has so many movie versions, you’ll never have to think too hard about the prezzies again!.


Imagine this: you’re with your kids. They’re bored and confused as to where you’re going. You take them in, tell them it’s a maze, and then they’re in this light filled chaos dimension and it’s amazing. That is the reality of Infinity. Let them feel every emotion all at once, become overloaded and ultimately come out of it feeling just so cool.

Thunderbird Park

To finish it off, let’s once again cheat. This is, for all intents and purposes, a themed park. Not a theme park like Movie World, but let’s be honest, this is a place with rides and activities that your kids will like, all grouped under one concept, that is insular enough that you’ll spend all day here. That being said, it’s educational enough to be the smarter option, and if you’ve tried everything else and your kids are still begging for a theme park day but you’re staunch in your values, this is a great middle ground. Plus, with the crystal cave, you’ll have a chance at wealth. Might pay for itself, who knows? Either way, you will have fun, they will have fun, and that is what matters.

There’s hardly a dearth of non-theme park activities for your kids to undertake. Just lean into the different experiences that are across this great city. But also, know that you’re not a bad parent for taking them to the parks either. Honestly, whatever brings you joy. We don’t judge, we just help. Have fun!

📷 :City of Gold Coast

About the Author

Kynan Clarke-Chancellor

Kynan Clarke-Chancellor

There’s something just so soothing about listening to The Veronicas 2005 album “The Secret Life Of…” on vinyl while reading a book about the inner workings of the Disney company in the 1990s. At least, there is to me. Gold Coast born and raised, I’m the product of beaches, movies and hiding in libraries from the heat of the GC sun. Always currently obsessed with Cruel Intentions.