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15 things to do on the Gold Coast with kids

Level Up Arcade Broadbeach (image supplied)
Level Up Arcade Broadbeach (image supplied)

Feels like it’s been five minutes since the kids were on holidays and low and behold, the schools are letting them loose again. Sigh.

Keeping them occupied— and you sane — will need some carefully considered tact. But let’s face facts here: you are on the Gold Coast. That means beachesshopping and theme parks on your doorstep that other people would vacation here for. Nevertheless, what happens when the kids are keen for something a bit more diverse to pass the time?

Never fear, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of some of our favourite things to do on the Gold Coast when school is out.

Level Up Arcade
The Arcade is the 80s and 90s incarnate. Found on the first floor of the Oasis Shopping Centre in Broadbeach, Level Up features 62 of the best games from this era. With Lane Master Bowling, pool table, 3D pong, limited edition pinballs, a classic arcade with 40 of your old school games, LA Lakers hoops, big buck hunter, Jurassic Park, down the clown, ring toss and plenty more. Worn out kids by the end of the day are guaranteed.
Where: The Oasis Shopping Centre, 75 Surf Parade, Broadbeach

Padlock’d
With 60 minutes on the clock, you and the family are left in a mysterious room to solve puzzles, crack riddles, open locks and escape the madness. It’s a fast-paced hour where you will either come out with big old smiles on your faces — or in need of a big old glass of wine. It’s such a fun time either way though.
Where: 3177 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Ripleys Surfers Paradise (image supplied by Lisa Tucker)
Ripleys Surfers Paradise (image supplied by Lisa Tucker)

Ripley’s Believe it or Not
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium is Surfers Paradise’s most unusual and far-fetched attraction. Found in Soul Boardwalk, Ripley’s offers sixteen individually themed galleries of unbelievable artifacts and interactive exhibits where you will come face to face with remarkable relics and rare treasures from around the world. Experience the weird and unbelievable, see shrunken heads, survive a walk through the spinning vortex tunnel, unusual artwork, and things that make you go eww. Get a discount here!
Where: Soul Boardwalk, Cavill Mall, Surfers Paradise

Currumbin Boatshed
Found at the edge of Currumbin Creek, Currumbin Boatshed Bait and Tackle offers plenty of choices to ensure you and the kids get to have the best possible time on the water. They’ve got fishing gear, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, surfboards and much more. All are available for purchase or they also have hire options for kayaks, SUPs and fishing gear. Ever seen somebody on a SUP and thought you’d like to give it a go? Well, here’s your chance folks, as they offer regular SUP lessons for beginners!
Where: 1/2-4 Thrower Drive, Currumbin

Lollie Land
It’s the perfect place for big and small kids alike. Spend some time choosing from over 1,000 different sweet treats, American brands like Hershey’s, Reese’s, Trolli, Twizzler and Cheeto’s, to your local favourites like Allen’s and Nestle. There’s also a wide variety of liquorice, rock candy and pick and mix sweets to choose from. From gobsmackers to chocolate fudge, you’re sure to find something to satiate your taste buds.
Where: Shop 1/3179 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Mini Golf
What child doesn’t love a bit of mini-golf? None, as far as we know. Luckily, the Gold Coast is home to a collection of enjoyable putt-putt spots, and they are dotted throughout the city — so you could even make a day of it and visit several of them — should that be your kind of thing! Our favourites are King Tutts and Mini Golf in Surfers Paradise and Putt Putt Mermaid Beach.
Where: Various locations

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (image supplied)
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (image supplied)

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a nature-based institution that’s been delighting families for the last 70 years. Check all your favourite Aussie animals, watch the bird show Wild Skies or wander through Lost Valley and gaze at some of the magical creatures that existed when Australia was part of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana. If you haven’t been before or it’s been a while, it’s about time you went and spent a fun day in Currumbin with some furry and feathered friends.
Where: 28 Tomewin Street, Currumbin

Infinity
It’s an incredible journey through a world of illusion at Infinity. Think futuristic, maze-like world of wonder with unique rooms and sensory overloads that will have you laughing, jumping, and feeling as though you’re in a dream. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Get an exclusive discount here!
Where: Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre, G31/3240 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Theme Parks
It goes without saying the Coast’s theme parks are some of our biggest attractions for visitors. From Movie World with its themed rides, wandering movie stars and cartoon characters; to Dreamworld with its big thrill rides; Seaworld; with impressive sea creatures and mind-blowing live shows; Wet n Wild with all of the epic waterslides and a giant wave pool; Outback Spectacular with incredible special effects, a story of outback Australia and some absolutely beautiful animals. All SUCH a good time and the kids will be thrilled to be at any one of them.

Walkin on Water
Walkin On Water Surf School can be found at Greenmount Beach in Coolangatta and uses the town’s beautiful beaches to their full potential — which are the perfect places for all levels of surfer. These guys pride themselves on offering group and private lessons for all ages and surfing abilities, from the age of 4 right through to those in their 80’s. Greenmount is an amazing location for beginners and early intermediates, having a good amount of protection from southerly swells it is renowned, amongst others, as the ideal learn-to-surf location on the Gold Coast. Get $25 OFF here.
Where: Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Infinity, Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
Infinity, Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

FREE ACTIVITIES

Go for a picnic
Relaxation, good views and all of the food. It’s an almost free activity (you have to buy the food we’re afraid) and when choosing the right spot (maybe nearby a playground), can fill up a whole day. Check out our list of the best places to throw down a rug here.

Broadwater Parklands
For a real fun time hit up Broadwater Parklands in Southport. There’s a huge range of free activities including the rockpool water playground, giant bouncy pillow, BBQ areas, eats and a little train that fits big kids (you) and little ones.
Where: Marine Parade, Southport

Miami Marketta
Known as the Gold Coast’s favourite family-friendly nightspot for tasty street food, fun cocktails, boutique shopping and live bands, Miami Marketta is so so good. Save some coins and share a couple of tapas-style plates amongst the whole family. Oh, and make sure you check out the dessert area too.
Where: 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami

Currumbin Rock Pools
If you’re looking for something more adventurous and exciting to do, Currumbin Rock Pools is just the ticket. The beautiful scenic drive through Currumbin Valley is enough of an attraction in itself, taking you straight to the natural swimming pool next to Currumbin Valley Primary School. In utter tranquillity, you may just want to cool down and splash in the water or enjoy some family time over a BBQ at the designated picnic area.
Where: Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Valley

Family Picnic on Currumbin Beach
Family Picnic on Currumbin Beach

Local Markets
Take the family and stroll along one of our many local markets on the coast. There’s everything from fresh locally grown produce to fashion, homewares, souvenirs, arts and crafts. Our top three favourite markets are Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets (4pm-9pm Wednesday, Friday & Sunday nights), The Village Markets Burleigh Heads (8am-1pm, 1st & 3rd Sundays) and Carrara Markets (7am-4pm every Saturday & Sunday). Check out the rest here.

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Warner Bros. Movie World (image from Destination Gold Coast)
Warner Bros. Movie World (image from Destination Gold Coast)

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