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The Best Sensory-Friendly Activities to Do in Brisbane

The Best Sensory-Friendly Activities to Do in Brisbane

Known for its friendly residents, Brisbane is like that neighbour who insists on inviting everyone to the barbecue. But here’s the twist: Brisbane doesn’t just greet you with open arms – it welcomes you with open senses! 

In an overwhelming world, the sensory-friendly activities in Brisbane offer tranquility and enjoyment. From serene riverbank strolls to cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone.

Keep reading for you to discover the magic of the city’s sensory-friendly wonders!

1. Indulge your artistic side at QAGOMA

Address: Stanley Pl, South Brisbane, QLD 4101, Australia


Contact Details: +61 738 407 303

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00  AM – 5:00 PM

More than just an art gallery, QAGOMA in Brisbane is actually two places rolled into one – the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art. 

Here, you’ll find all kinds of art, from old-time classics to super cool contemporary pieces. It’s like taking a journey through human creativity over the centuries!

When it comes to indulging your artistic side, QAGOMA is the place to be. The gallery houses an eclectic collection spanning centuries, featuring everything from classical masterpieces to cutting-edge contemporary art.

As you explore its spacious halls, you’re welcome to not merely observe art but to immerse yourself in it.

QAGOMA’s commitment to accessibility shines through its sensory-friendly initiatives. For those who may have sensory sensitivities, the gallery offers specialised programs and spaces designed to enhance the art experience.

These initiatives include quieter zones, sensory backpacks, and sensory maps, ensuring that visitors of all backgrounds and abilities can engage with art in a comfortable and inclusive setting.

In the gallery, art workshops and events provide opportunities for tactile exploration, making art accessible to all. It serves as an example of the idea that everyone should be able to enjoy art regardless of their sensory preferences. 

And it’s not just the art that’s inclusive – the staff are also trained to help out visitors with different sensory needs.

Pro tip:
For a more tranquil and immersive art viewing session, it’s best to visit the QAGOMA art gallery on weekday mornings so you can deal with fewer crowds.

2. Journey through time at Queensland Museum and SparkLab

Address: Grey Street & Melbourne St, South Brisbane, QLD 4101, Australia


Contact Details: +61 7 3153 3000

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:30  AM – 5:00 PM

The Queensland Museum in Brisbane is a place where history comes alive through meticulously curated exhibits, offering a captivating glimpse into the past.

Sensory-friendly sessions have also been meticulously designed here to create a supportive environment where visitors of all ages can explore, learn, and wonder at their own pace.

During these sessions, the museum turns the sound down, cultivating a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere.

These sessions can be great for people on the autism spectrum or those who find sensory stuff a bit challenging. It’s also an opportunity to soak up the beauty of Queensland’s natural and cultural history.

And if you ever need a quiet spot to chill, both the Queensland Museum and SparkLab have a place just for that. You can take a breather, relax, and recharge before diving back into the world of wonder.

For extra comfort, earmuffs are readily available too. You can find them at the Cloakroom located at Level 2, as well as at the entrances to the SparkLab and Dinosaurs of Patagonia exhibitions.

Pro tip:
If you plan to visit between mid-July 2022 and 2024, be aware of changes in road directions around the Queensland Culture Centre. You can access the Museum and Art Gallery car park (P2) from the south via Montague Road and Stanley Place. Meanwhile, access from the north remains the same. But reduced speed limits apply, so take a moment to familiarise yourself with these changes to ensure a smooth visit.

3. Enjoy peaceful Sundays at the Museum of Tropical Queensland

Address: 70-102 Flinders St, Townsville City, QLD 4810, Australia


Contact Details: +61 7 4726 0600

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:30  AM – 4:00 PM

Sundays at the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Brisbane are unlike any other day of the week. A serene atmosphere greets you the moment you enter, making it an ideal sensory-friendly activity for visitors of all ages and sensitivities.

The facilitators have done something cool here too – they’ve toned down all the noise to make it more comfortable. 

In addition, the lights are soft, the sounds are muted, and the overall ambience is designed to provide a sense of calm. During this time, visitors are encouraged to engage with the exhibits and explore the museum’s treasures at a leisurely pace. 

And don’t hesitate to talk to the friendly museum staff as well. This can make your visit more enjoyable and informative!

Pro tip:
It’s best to arrive early to beat the crowds and enjoy the serene atmosphere before it gets busier later in the day. This way, you can fully immerse yourself in the calm environment and maximise your visit.

4. Meet new people at the STEPS Autism Treehouse

Address: 8 Duporth Ave, Maroochydore, QLD 4558, Australia

Contact Details: +61 7 5409 9014

Operating Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00  AM – 5:00 PM

The STEPS Autism Treehouse in Brisbane is a vibrant social group that can help you foster friendships. It’s a place where individuals can be themselves, connect with like-minded peers, and build lasting relationships.

For those who love the outdoors, the Sunshine Coast offers a wealth of opportunities to be active. For example, the Treehouse staff organises walkathons that allow participants to explore the coastal beauty while meeting new friends.

Here, you can also learn how to nurture plants, create beautiful gardens, and cultivate your green thumb. For a lot of people, gardening not only provides a sense of accomplishment but also offers a therapeutic escape into nature.

Moreover, you can get some culinary excitement from their cooking challenges that bring out the inner chef in you. Just enjoy and experiment with flavours, techniques, and teamwork while whipping up delectable dishes. 

But it’s not just about fun and food. They also teach important life skills like budgeting and smart grocery shopping.

And if you’re into music, they have a music group where you can explore melodies, rhythms, and the joy of making music together.

Pro tip:
It’s best to check the STEPS Autism Treehouse’s social media pages regularly to stay updated on the latest events and activities. This includes schedule changes and opportunities to meet new people with similar hobbies.

5. Dance in the moonlight at Queensland Ballet

Dance in the moonlight at Queensland Ballet
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Address: 406 Montague Road, West End, 4101, Australia


Contact Details: +61 730 126 666

The Queensland Ballet in Brisbane offers something special called “Relaxed Performances.” These shows are like an open invitation to enjoy the magic of ballet in a cosy and welcoming space, and one of their top hits is “The Nutcracker.”

The cool thing about these performances is that they come with some easygoing theatre rules. It’s perfect for people with sensory sensitivities and families with little ones.

During the show, the theatre remains lit, yet not too bright, creating a soothing ambience. This ensures that audience members can enjoy the performance without feeling overwhelmed by darkness.

The Queensland Ballet also understands that everyone is unique and that individual comfort is key. 

As such, you may bring along items that enhance their enjoyment of the performance. This includes earphones or earplugs to manage noise levels, fidget toys for tactile engagement, or muted electronic devices for personal comfort.

Pro tips:
Spend a little time familiarising yourself with the ballet’s storyline, characters, and music. It’ll make the performance even more captivating!Make the most of the intermission by enjoying refreshments and exploring the venue. It’s a great time to stretch your legs and chat about the performance so far.After the final curtain call, don’t rush to leave yet. Often, there are encores or behind-the-scenes insights that add depth to your experience.

6. Have a relaxing cinematic escape at Hoyts

Have a relaxing cinematic escape at Hoyts
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Address: 400 Stafford Rd, Stafford, QLD 4053, Australia

Contact Details: +61 7 3339 9710

Operating Hours: See showtimes at Hoyts Stafford

Hoyts Cinemas in Brisbane believes in making films accessible to everyone, making cinema a more inclusive and enjoyable experience for all.

Every month, Hoyts offers $10 tickets for sensory-friendly screenings on Sunday mornings. These screenings provide a comfortable movie experience, ideal for individuals with sensory needs.

During these screenings, the lights are dimmed and the volume is lowered to create a calming atmosphere.

And when making a reservation, just keep an eye out for the “Sensory Screening” or “SS” session attribute on your ticket. This ensures that you’ll be attending a showing that has been tailored for those with sensory sensitivities.

Pro tip:
It’s advisable to get to the cinema at least 20 to 30 minutes before the show starts. This gives you plenty of time to settle in and grab your favourite snacks, so you can enjoy the movie right from the beginning.

7. Journey into wildlife wonder at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary 

Journey into wildlife wonder at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
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Address: 708 Jesmond Rd, Fig Tree Pocket, QLD 4069, Australia

Contact Details: +61 7 3378 1366

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane offers the Sensory Safari program as your gateway to a unique journey of discovery. Crafted with a deep understanding of sensory sensitivities, the sanctuary provides an experience that engages all senses.

When you’re at the sanctuary, it’s not just about what you see. It’s also about the sounds of leaves rustling under your feet and the gentle touch of the breeze on your skin – every moment is a sensory delight!

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary also features serene spots where you can find tranquillity and sensory respite, accompanied by friendly and knowledgeable staff ready to share insights into the sanctuary’s rich biodiversity.

But that’s not all! Throughout the site, you’ll discover features intended to enhance your experience, such as tactile exhibits and opportunities for hands-on interaction with friendly animals. 

Pro tips:
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and wear a hat to stay protected from the sun while exploring the outdoors.
If you want to hold a koala, make sure to check the specific times for cuddle sessions and arrive a bit earlier to secure your spot.

8. Discover urban oasis at City Botanic Gardens

Discover urban oasis at City Botanic Gardens
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Address: City Botanic Gardens, 147 Alice St, Brisbane City, QLD 4000, Australia

Contact Details: +61 7 3403 8888

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

For those seeking a sensory-rich experience, the City Botanic Gardens in Brisbane boast a specially designed sensory trail. This park is a sensory delight, featuring tactile and fragrant plants that engage your senses in unique ways.

Here, you can feel the textures of leaves, take in the scents of fragrant blossoms, and immerse yourself in a multi-sensory journey through nature.

In addition, accessible pathways and seating areas are also thoughtfully placed to accommodate visitors with varying needs, making it a welcoming environment for all.

Pro tips:
It’s best to wear comfortable shoes at City Botanic Gardens, as you’ll be exploring various paths and trails within the gardens.
Bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout your visit, especially during warmer months.
Go for a picnic and enjoy a meal amid the lush greenery! There are several designated picnic areas, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely lunch.

9. Enjoy horseplay and harmony at EquusTerra

Enjoy horseplay and harmony at EquusTerra
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Address: 40 Medway, Rocklea, QLD 4106, Australia

Contact details: +61 402 961 428

Operating hours: Monday – Friday: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM; Saturday: 7:30 AM – 11:30 AM

At EquusTerra in Brisbane, the horses (brisbane’s horse riding spots for kids) aren’t merely animals; they’re your therapy partners. Whether you’re experienced or not, these creatures offer a sense of serenity and companionship that goes beyond words.

Their sensory-friendly riding program is meticulously designed to accommodate individuals of all ages and abilities. As you mount your horse, you’ll feel the textures of their coat, hear the rhythmic hooves, and breathe in the fresh countryside air.

On top of that, EquusTerra ensures your comfort with designated quiet places for moments of relaxation. 

You can also immerse yourself in the sounds of rustling leaves, cheerful bird songs, and the soothing breeze. It’s truly a sensory experience that helps you reconnect with nature!

Pro tips:
Bring your best camera or smartphone to capture memories of your horseplay and nature escapades.
Respect the environment by following trail guidelines and maintaining a safe distance from wildlife.

10. Get a science adventure at The Workshops Rail Museum

Get a science adventure at The Workshops Rail Museum
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Address: North St, North Ipswich, QLD 4305, Australia

Contact details: +61 7 3432 5100

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM

The Workshops Rail Museum in Brisbane is like a gateway to a fun and educational adventure, starting in the “All Aboard” zone. Here, you can play with cool simulators that make science more interactive and interesting. 

Whether you’re learning about the power of locomotion or the magic of engineering, the museum engages your senses in a playful exploration of the railway world.

Now, what makes this place really cool is their collection of old engines. And here’s the sensory-friendly part – you can actually go inside them! 

It’s a chance to feel the textures, hear the echoes, and even catch a whiff of the past as you step into these remarkable machines.

But beyond the hands-on experiences and interactive displays, the Workshops Rail Museum is a treasure trove of sensory delights too!

You’ll hear the sounds of vintage engines, feel historical artefacts, and see beautifully restored carriages – it’s a multi-sensory adventure that everyone, no matter their age, will love.

Pro tip:
After your visit to The Workshops Rail Museum, why not explore the historic town of Ipswich? This is where you’ll find additional sensory-friendly attractions and experiences.

11. Explore Marsden Library’s serene space

Explore Marsden Library’s serene space
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Address: 35 Chambers Flat Rd, Marsden, QLD 4114, Australia

Contact details: +61 7 3827 8400

Operating hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Tuesday, Thursday: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Saturday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

If you’re looking for a place where children can let their imaginations run wild and discover new things, then Marsden Library in Brisbane could be among your best bets.

One of the coolest parts of Marsden Library is the music room. Inside, you’ll find a variety of musical instruments just waiting to be played.

From drums to guitars and keyboards, kids can try them all! It’s a perfect place for young musicians to make some sweet tunes.

Overall, Marsden Library’s Sensory Space is a great place for children to learn, play, and grow. Here, young minds can be in a safe and welcoming environment where their imaginations can go wild.

Pro tip:
If your child loves routines, consider making regular visits to the sensory space at Marsden Library to provide them with a familiar and comfortable environment while they’re still enhancing their senses.

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