Ipswich Art Gallery knows how to pull school holiday fun out of the bag; they’ve been doing it for years, and every year it gets better. Be prepared to visit their new exhibits, Construction Site and Tapescape, more than once these holidays, your kids will want you to come back multiple times, and there are so many reasons you should!
First stop is the lower gallery where kids get an initial taste for fun. There is the blue blocks activity table where creativity starts to flow, interactive computer screens, and you can create a ball run.
I was clearly never meant to be a builder or engineer; it took way too many turns for me to get my ball into the plastic yoghurt bucket!
Make your way upstairs, and you’ll find a kids construction heaven with piles of foam blocks of all shapes and sizes at the Construction Site. Don your hard hat and fluoro vest and you’re ready to build.
It’s about building anything you can envision in here; it’s lovely to see the kids get lost in their little world of imagination. We created ‘Peppa Pigs house’ all decked out with George’s bed, a refrigerator and front gate. There’s absolutely nothing better than imaginative play in air-conditioned comfort. There’s even a little protected play area for littlies aged two and under.
Tapescape is what I’d say is the main attraction. It’s an art installation for kids, AND…you can play on it! We saw and experienced Tapescape the last time it was in town, but this time it’s next level. It’s a multi-level framework of tunnels with twists and turns, even a giant tunnel slide and all made of layers and layers of tape.
For my little three year old, it was all a bit overwhelming and possibly a tad bit scary; the tunnels are a like a maze, and there are a few flashing lights. I have found though that when kids see other kids enjoying Tapescape, they suddenly regain their confidence and are keen to join in.
Tapescape was designed and created by Eric Lennartson and has been all over the world. It took three weeks to build using more than 115,000 meters of packing tape and, I was told, included plenty of safety checks. When we arrived, the staff were making some reinforcements to the structure after wear and tear the previous day. And with all the children going up and down, in and out of the Tapescape, there’s always plenty of cleaning and repairs to be done, too!
And what happens to the 115,000 meters of tape when things are done? Well, Ipswich Art Gallery has teamed up with schools and STEM students to reuse and upcycle the tape, it doesn’t just go in the bin.
Tapescape is quite mesmerising. When I look at the tunnels, they remind me of the ones spiders make with their silk, perfectly crafted and strategically wrapped around the scaffolding. It is an art installation after all, so who knows what it’ll remind you of. The main thing is, it’s fun (and there are no spiders).
In the heat of summer and with children who need to divert their energy into something different, the Construction Site and Tapescape at Ipswich Art Gallery is always a winner in my books. There’s fun for kids, air conditioning, places to sit and observe and various cafes close by for a post-play milkshake.
Hot Tip: Don’t forget to bring your socks along if you want to experience Tapscape. Otherwise, socks are available for $3 at the front counter.
Open: 10 am to 5 pm daily (Closed 25 Dec to 1 Jan incl.)
Recommended for ages 2 to 12 years.
Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
For entry costs and other details, please visit the Ipswich Art Gallery