The Cairns Museum

The Cairns Museum is an amazing place to take kids of all ages to.

It is so interactive and hands on, kids and families can easily spend hours here without getting bored.

When you walk in the door there are activity packs available at the counter for kids.  We chose the Super Sleuth Challenge Trail where we had to find clues around the museum, there were also Treasure Hunts for younger kids and a Photography Scavenger hunt for older kids and teens.

This is an especially good activity to do when it’s hot or raining outside, as this modern museum is fully air conditioned.

The museum also has holiday programs and other various programs at different times including STEAM with a theme.

Kids About Cairns TIP: Get a Family Membership for unlimited access for 12 months plus much more.

The Cairns Museum is divided into four permanent exhibitions upstairs, and a temporary exhibition downstairs that will change every few months.

It is advised that you start upstairs and work your way down through the exhibitions which flow into each other. 

We suggest that you join a guided tour to get an overview of all there is to see. The volunteer guides here are so friendly and knowledgeable, and they really enhance the experience with their knowledge and insights, pointing out objects that would be easily missed, or telling the stories behind them.

Be on the look out for NEMO as you make your way through the exhibitions as Nemo represents the kids trail, with interactive and hands on displays.

Nemo at the Cairns Museum
Old boat at the Cairns museum
Looking through a view finder at the Cairns Museum

Permanent Exhibitions

There are four permanent galleries at the Cairns Museum.

Cairns over Time: Including Cairns Traditional Owners

Old Cairns: Sugar cane, swamps and the port

Living in the Tropics: Crocs, stingers, toads and snakes

Changing Cairns: How Cairns transformed from a small town to a major tourist city

Our favourite Thing to do at the Cairns Museum......

Our favorite activity that we enjoyed doing the most at the Cairns museum was definitely the highly interactive and informative map of Cairns – Then & Now.

This huge digital glass touchscreen table was so much fun to play on.  With an interactive map of Cairns, you choose which place you would like to learn more about and a variety of options present themselves, with the favorite being the before and after slider. 

You can view a recent photo of a location and then slide your finger across the photos and the historic photo slowly emerges.  

Interactive map at the Cairns Museum

School Holiday Programs

The Cairns Museum also run very popular school holiday programs and workshops, that book out very fast.  

Visit their website for for info


There is an entry fee to visit the museum, or you can become a member and get free access for the whole family for a year, plus access to the Research Centre and early bird reservations for events and workshops.

To find out more about the Cairn museum please visit their website.

Getting to the Cairns Museum

The museum is located in the School of Arts Building on the corner of Lake and Shields Street.  It is right in the central CBD and a short walk from most hotels and the Cairns Esplanade.

You might also be interested in Cairns Indoor Activities for Kids.

With lots of free and cheap ideas of things to do in Cairns when it’s too hot or too wet to be outside.