I've always thought Ipswich (the Queensland, Australia version), gets a bad rap.
There are gorgeous stately houses, just aching to be renovated; incredible unique homes, which have already been lovingly updated; plus parks and shopping to boot.
Queens Park, in particular, is a family favourite. It's a fairly quick drive from suburban Brisbane, you can usually park quite close (even during holidays), and the park itself is awesome. Plus, there's a free mini-zoo for the kids. (Okay and the adults as well).
But on this occasion, and with an extra child in tow, I thought we were due some culture, and we decided to check out the Ipswich Art Gallery instead.
Now, let's be honest: It's not as big as Brisbane's, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. We parked close by, and cheaply; and found our way there easily. There were a couple of girls on the front desk who were friendly and smiley, and who didn't seem to mind at all that we were focussed on getting to the exhibition for kids, rather than the high-brow stuff in-between.
And here's the thing: Ipswich Art Gallery is the first in Australia to have a gallery purely dedicated for kids. Where they can enjoy, play and discover art on their own, or with a little help from parents or staff.
Even better? It's free.
On this occasion, the exhibition was called The Real Thing: Interactive Kaleidoscope Fun For Kids.
The brainchild of new media artist Jordana Maisie, the gallery featured optical illusions, and other hands-on events.
Did I mention it was free? And even better, if there was a high-priced gift shop or cafe on the way out, we didn't see it.
The exhibition is on until July 11, by which time I'm sure it will be replaced by something equally as awesome.
My kids-plus-one had a ball, and I highly recommend it.
If you look closely, this is actually Mr 9's face in the kalaidoscope
Miss 7 creates a masterpiece using the computer as a medium