Built For Speed at Ipswich Art Gallery
Built for Speed is on again at Ipswich Art Gallery and it is easy to see why this is one of their most popular children’s exhibitions. It is an activity that demands interaction and kids are encouraged to touch, experiment, crash, create and explore.
The joy and excitement in the room is palpable with kids strategising how to create the fastest, most awesome Lego car, and then testing it out on a variety of jumps, ramps and races, before rebuilding, modifying and trying again.
First you must build it…
The exhibition takes over most of Ipswich Art Gallery and is split into multiple areas which you can do in any order, which makes for less line ups and more fun.
The walls in building rooms have decals showing the LEGO pieces you need to build a basic car. There are also several displays of builds from previous visitors which provide inspiration to Brisbane Kids who might need a little more encouragement to begin their build, or a frame to customise or modify to make their own.
The build tables allow for carers to participate and it’s a lovely opportunity to sit down with your kids and watch them build or build alongside them. Once they have their creation built, it is time to test it on the jump or race ramp.
The Main Gallery is an incredible sight – there are 2 giant ramps – one to each side of the room – and the whole floor space is filled with building tables and tubs upon tubs of LEGO parts including different wheels, axles, flames and other LEGO elements.
Brisbane Kids can choose to test their cars on either or both of the ramps. The race track will allow your kids get to see how their work stands up to speed and jumps, and they can then head back to the tables to make any adjustments and improvements. This is where multi racing begins and it is where you might find yourself being beaten by a five-year-old with better lego car building skills than you!
The jumps can be moved around at the base of this ramp by the friendly and helpful staff, and there’s a fantastic ring of fire element here that makes a great challenge for designing cars that will travel straight and withstand a jump.
The Mega Ramp
The Mega Ramp is so big that kids will need to add their built cars to a conveyor belt to be taken to the start of the race track. There is a camera at the top of the ramp and a huge flat screen on the wall so that kids can see when their car is about to attempt the jump run.
Mastering this jump is difficult and may take several tries which makes it perfect for kids who are getting a little older and have a little more patience or like a challenge. The thrill of getting the car across the jump seemed to give all kids in the room great determination to keep adjusting their cars and resulted in cheers from all kids for those who made it across which gave a fantastic celebratory atmosphere to the room.
Children’s Gallery Space
The children’s gallery has yet more build tables, another toddler space and 2 main tracks to try. There’s another smaller jump track up a set of stairs, as well as a timed race track. This timed track allows cars to be lined up against a metal barrier, which is released with a lever sending all the cars down the ramp together.
Some Quiet Time
Between the foyer and the Mega-ramp room are some quieter chill out zones. One space has a TV showing lots of race car videos and there is a craft area for the kids to make their own medals from a great variety of materials.
Idea: While sitting at this table I overheard a group of kids saying that they wanted to make some medals first so they could then have a proper ceremony at the end of the day.
Build your own track
The second quiet space is a bit larger and has long Blutracks – flexible plastic tracks – that the kids can bend and loop, and create jumps and tunnels from blocks, cylinders, cardboard and pieces of foam to race smaller cars on. The toy cars are held by a staff member who is on hand to make sure that all kids get a go when it is busy. This is obviously a popular space and it is easy to see why. Kids are literally given free rein to create jumps that lead to tunnels that lead to loops and then adjusting the angles to get the car to make it all the way through.
Special Needs Considerations
Ipswich Art Gallery avoids any harsh lighting and doesn’t have strobes or flashing lights. The quiet area is definitely the place to go if kids are becoming overwhelmed with the sensory input. Wheelchair access is easy at Ipswich Art Gallery, with ramps leading to the gallery from both street entrances, as well as lifts to all levels. All of the tables are quite low to the floor, so you may want to bring a stable table for your child if they want to make a speed machine in their chair.
Taking a toddler to Ipswich Art Gallery
Younger children are catered for with an exclusive contained space for 0-3 year olds in each of the ramp rooms. These spaces have boxes of blocks or wooden cars for the kids to build with, plus some cushioned ramps for them to play on or race their cars down.
Make a day of it
While there is no café in the gallery itself, there are lots of options for hungry Brisbane Kids when visiting Ipswich Art Gallery. If you don’t feel like walking in the summer heat to one of the nearby cafes listed on their website, you can bring your own lunch that the super friendly gallery staff will store for you in cubby-holes.
Outside the gallery is a magnificent rotunda that provides heaps of shade and a little breeze. Pass-outs are available so you can fuel up and return for another go!
Getting there and parking
Ipswich Art Gallery can be found at D’Arcy Doyle Place, Ipswich.
There is metered street parking on weekdays and free street parking on weekends, and Ipswich CBD parking (access from Bremer Street) is a short walk from the gallery and has 3 hours of free parking on weekdays and all day free parking on weekends. Ipswich Railway Station is also a short walk from Ipswich Art Gallery.
Ticket Prices and Exhibition Dates
Built for Speed is the most ridiculously AWESOME exhibition for car-crazy kids (big and small), open and running at Ipswich Art Gallery until the 30th of January. The Gallery is closed from December 24th until January 3rd. It is open 10am-5pm daily, but last tickets are sold at 4pm.
Afternoons are quieter than mornings.
$7 per person or $25 for a family of 4 (must have at least one adult) with any child under 2 free. Eftpos only – no cash. You don’t need to book but if you have a group of 10 or more then email [email protected]
You do need to be there at all times to supervise all your children.
To find out more about this exhibition and future exhibitions head to https://www.ipswichartgallery.qld.gov.au
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