My son is nine and still remembers his first Treasure Hunt experience at the Ipswich Art Gallery back when he was three. In fact, he still has his bag of treasure. That’s a pretty good indicator of how memorable the Treasure Hunt experience is for kids. So, I really looked forward to taking my four-year-old to her first Treasure Hunt.
Before we started the Treasure Hunt, the kids had to create an essential item, their treasure bags. They personalised their bags with coloured stamps and pens at the treasure bag station, writing their names on their bags, so NO ONE took their treasure by mistake.
You wouldn’t know by looking at it, but the giant sandpit in the middle of D’Arcy Doyle Place is filled with heaps of little treasures. From trinkets and ‘bling’ to gold nuggets (imitation, of course), rose quartz, turquoise, moss agate and more!
With our bags, sieves and hands ready, it was time to start combing and digging!
Why you should add Treasure Hunt to your list of school holiday activities in Ipswich
The anticipation of finding something even had me a little excited, so imagine how excited the kids get. I knew I wanted some more amethyst to add to my stone collection, but I was unlucky. I came up with some gold; I just wish it were real!
If sand isn’t your thing and you’d prefer to be an onlooker, there are plenty of chairs situated around the sandpit.
Although my children were a little older, it was good to see a completely separate sandpit and safe area for children three and under. When we received instructions on entry to the sandpit, the staff were vigilant about explaining the safe area, instructing us not to take the small treasures near this 0-3 years sandpit. Chairs were surrounding the 0-3 area so parents could supervise children in both sandpits.
There’s more to the Ipswich Art Gallery Treasure Hunt than meets the eye
I loved seeing the pure joy on my children’s faces when they found treasure, especially my four-year-old. It’s certainly a fun and satisfying experience for kids. Plus, it encourages kids to be active. First impressions might have you thinking it’s not at all an active activity, but after I took over my daughters sieve and did some digging myself, I ticked it off my list as a workout. Oh, and the kids don’t stay still. When they don’t come up with treasure, they move from one spot to another. An energy burning activity – tick.
The other thing I loved about Treasure Hunt is how it encourages kids to explore. Using the Treasure Hunt Discovery Guide, we took note of the treasures we’d like to collect. With treasure bags in tow, we’d talk about the shapes, colours and textures of the treasures they found, and with my four-year-old, I would ask, ‘Which stone is bigger – the yellow one or the green one?’ When you get fun and education mixed into one, it’s a winner for me.
We’ve only ever had positive and memorable experiences at Ipswich Art Gallery’s Treasure Hunt. It’s one of those things you don’t have to plan. If you’re having one of those days where you’re unsure of what to do with your kids, but you know you want to get out of the house without much hassle, Treasure Hunt is perfect because there are no bookings required.
Yet again, Ipswich Art Gallery delivers on unique school holiday activities. As soon as we shared photos of our time at Treasure Hunt, everyone wanted to know more. I’m sure we will be revisiting these holidays (I’d like to find that amethyst).
Ipswich Art Gallery Treasure Hunt School holiday activities 2021
Dates: Wednesday 23 June – Saturday 10 July 2021
Times: 9.30 am to 3.30 pm daily (excluding Sundays) – NB Last entry at 3 pm
Cost: $5 per child. FREE for under 3s and accompanying parents/ carers.
Each entry fee entitles one child to a Treasure Bag to decorate and a wrist band for entry into the Treasure Hunt sandpit.
Bookings: Not required. Pay at the Gallery’s Information Desk on the day. (Cashless sales only)
Please note: Treasure Hunt cannot accommodate vacation care/ childcare groups of more than 12 children. For groups of 12 or less, please email your booking enquiry to
Age Group: It is recommended for ages 3 – 8 years. A parent/carer must accompany children.
*WARNING: Due to the choking hazard posed by ‘treasure’, this activity is unsuitable for children under three years old. A separate safe area is provided to cater to younger siblings under three years, admitted free of charge.
Visit the Ipswich Art Gallery website for more information.
By Eva Lewis