Holidays with kids don’t have to be all ice creams and playgrounds. Creative kids who find themselves on the Gold Coast are spoilt for choice when it comes to hands-on, natural heritage and cultural adventure. Here’s our top picks for cultural kids who like to get up close and personal with local culture…
ECO DISCOVERER’S KIDS CLUB
Gold Coast Environment Council, known as Gecko, runs holiday programs for adventurous and inquisitive kids aged five to nine. Regularly selling out, the Eco Discoverer’s sessions, which focus on topics like butterflies, feathers, tidal pools and lizards are generally held in the Currumbin estuary and are dirt cheap – just ten dollars entry for kids (each).
HANDS-ON AT HOTA, HOME OF THE ARTS
HOTA, Home of the Arts extends its programming from the gallery and the stage to offer hands-on art experiences for children. During their ‘Let There Be Rock’ exhibition there were opportunities for kids to make rock wigs, learn air guitar and workshop with the guys from Regurgitator. During Gold Coast Film Festival children learn to shoot – on film or video, create star portraits, and act. There are artlab events constantly on offer at HOTA, catering to kids of all ages – during term as well as school holidays. And they’re usually one-off events that require little commitment or prep. Winning!
BOOGIE NIGHTS AT MIAMI MARKETTA
Miami Marketta has long been the creative hub for Gold Coast’s artistic community and now it’s a home for cultural families as well. Because while you enjoy the international culinary delights on offer from its street food market, you can also enjoy the best live talent the city has to offer – with nearly all of it being original music. And because Miami Marketta’s street food markets are family-friendly, that all means that while mums and dads are enjoying craft beers or fancy locally-made gins the kids are bopping along to home-grown beats and locally-crafted songs.
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH LARGER-THAN-LIFE ART AT SWELL
Making art accessible to kids was actually one of the reasons why SWELL Sculpture Festival founders launched the festival nearly twenty years ago and over that time it’s grown to be one of the most popular outdoor art events in Australia with a quarter of a million people visiting the exhibition every year. Taking place in September, right on the foreshore and Currumbin Beach, SWELL invites kids to get up close and intimate with its exhibiting sculptures, with a heap of opportunities for twilight sculpture walks and other hands-on activities.
GETTING YOUR HANDS DIRTY IN THE DUNES
Is there any better way for a small human to get to know the natural heritage of a place than getting their hands dirty? I don’t think so. And neither do the folks at Griffith University’s BeachCare program (who also run CoastEd and DuneWatch – a citizen science initiative). Every year they run hundreds of events up and down the length of the city’s coastline, targeted at local and visiting families. Kids and their adults can get down and dirty in the dunes, by collecting litter, removing weeds and re-establishing dune vegetation. There’s even marine biologist days and photography workshops for kids on offer through the year. For beach-loving families, it’s a unique twist on a day at the beach. Sessions generally run on Saturdays from 8.00am – 10.00am and there is no cost to be involved.
DANCING ON THE GREEN
When HOTA opened its enormous amphitheatre stage and surrounding landscaped gardens and lawns (with stunning views of the Surfers skyline, might I add), they also launched some eclectic and diverse programming – much of which put families front and centre. And Dancing On The Green is a classic example. On the first Sunday of every month, at exactly the same time the Famers Markets are on in the precinct, kids and their grownups are invited onto the green to learn new dance moves before trying them out with live music. And if you really want to limber up for those new moves, there’s even yoga onsite from 8.00am. It’s a fabulous way to get the whole family moving with past themes including Polynesian, Afro beats and Bollywood styles.