The Art Gallery of South Australia | Adelaide | Review

Explore The Art Gallery of South Australia on North Terrace, Adelaide.

There’s plenty for kids to see and do at the Art Gallery and there’s so much more than just looking at paintings on the wall!

Review by Claire Davill

Don’t shy away from taking kids into The Art Gallery of South Australia as there’s plenty of kid-friendly art and activities to do to keep them entertained.  

From permanent exhibits to temporary ones, to activities in the Studio and a bite to eat in the cafe, there’s plenty to keep kids of all ages occupied and inspired.  

Located on beautiful North Terrace in the city, there are two main entrances – the big front doors behind the imposing columns, or down the laneway on the left hand side of the building. If you enter through the main entrance, you won’t want to miss the “big egg” sculpture at the front (The Life of Stars by Lindy Lee). Kids are allowed to climb around this sculpture, and it’s a great spot for photos.

Just inside the front doors is a large information desk, coat/bag check, and access to the larger, older galleries.

If you choose instead to go down the laneway, head around to the left and enter through the fish gate. Kids love spotting the fish sculptures in and around the gate – see how many you can find. This will take you into the back courtyard, which is a good spot to run around and get some energy out before heading inside.

The fabulous Studio space is just inside here, next to the shop. This area is designed as an activity space for children and adults and is open every day, although facilitated activities are available on weekends and every day during the school holidays.

Activities change every few months and are themed with current exhibits or specific artists. When we visited (April 2024), we were invited to create our own scratch paintings inspired by Coober Pedy landscapes painted by George Cooley.

Temporary exhibitions are usually downstairs from this area. Some are free, and some require a fee to enter. When we visited, the free Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Inner Sanctum exhibition occupied this space.

Head up the stairs to access most of the galleries and permanent pieces. Allow yourself to wander, you’ll never know what you’ll find. However, our favourite pieces that we always check out include:

After Rain by Hossein Valamanesh (Gallery 6)

This is a tree suspended from the ceiling, and it rotates, while it’s dropped leaves sit on the floor. Kids find it mesmerizing, but you’ll need to make sure you keep them back from the installation. The leaves are right within grabbing range!

Dark matter collective by Olafur Eliasson (Gallery 17)

This piece consists of 217 glass spheres, and the reflection and refraction changes as you view it from different angles.

Absence Embodied by Chiharu Shiota (Gallery 14)

This piece takes up an entire room! Thousands of strands of red wool create a spiderweb-like mass that is anchored by sculpted feet. This is a piece that you can actually walk under – just make sure that kids know not to touch any of the wool or sculptures.

Evening Shadows, backwater of the Murray, South Australia by H.J. Johnstone (Gallery 3)

This painting is worth seeking out, not just because it’s a beautiful scene, but also because there’s two of them! This painting is one of the most copied paintings in Australia, and currently the original and a copy are displayed. It’s interesting to see how identical they are – can you tell the original from the copy?

While you are visiting, don’t forget that there is a cafe near the courtyard. There’s seating inside and out, and drinks, snacks and lunch options on offer. There are plenty of kid-friendly options including low-sugar soft drinks, biscuits and fruit salad.

Things to consider:

  • While the gallery is kid friendly, you’ll still need to keep an eye on small children. Try to keep the noise level down, and don’t let kids touch the artwork
  • There are some art pieces that are quite confronting, so use your discretion when deciding which pieces to approach for a closer look.
  • There are bag checks at the front entrance and side entrance. You can keep small bags and backpacks with you, but you may be asked to swing backpacks around to your front so you don’t accidentally bump any artwork.
  • The first Sunday of every month is Start at the Gallery, with free activities for kids from 11am-3pm. The gallery gets very busy on these days!
  • Entry is free, but some temporary exhibitions may have an entrance fee.
  • The gallery is on a few levels. There are stairs and lifts to access each floor. 


North Terrace, Adelaide.

Open daily, 7 days a week, from 10am until 5pm. (Closed Christmas Day)

Parking is available on Kintore Avenue and there are multiple carparks along North Terrace.  There are bus stops and tram stops nearby and a short walk to Adelaide Train Station.

All areas of the Gallery are accessible by wheelchair or with prams, with lift and/or ramp access to some levels. Please ask at the Information Desks if you need any assistance.

For regular updates follow the AGSA on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM

START at the Gallery – free monthly program for kids

things to do in Adelaide for families

For more information and all enquiries please visit the Art Gallery of South Australia website

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

As per all our Play & Go reviews, this is not a sponsored post and our review is done completely independently. 

Image Source: Play & Go Adelaide 2024


Follow Play & Go on Facebook and Instagram

Want to get all the latest events and activities straight to your inbox?

Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter below to keep up to date with our latest posts and find out all the best events & activities for Adelaide families. Newsletters are only sent once a week, and you may sometimes get a special offer exclusively for our subscribers only!


You May Also Like:

Tags: , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Feel free to leave us a comment

Back to Top