We do very little play in our lives after we begin working, and with the advent of social media and indoor activities, kids don’t go out as much as they used to. With the ideas we have in this article, though, you can reconnect with your inner child and make it a family habit to visit a playground every once in a while. Read on.
Let’s be clear off the bat. By ‘playground’, we don’t mean grounds or stadiums in which sports occur, like the MCG or the SCG. We mean play spaces, where families can visit and engage in play of various themes. So we’re looking at nature and water parks, indoor spaces custom built for art lovers, zoos where you can interact with the animals etc. Below is a list of the ten best play spaces in Australia that you must visit with your family.
1. The Pod Playground in Canberra
There is a National Arboretum in Canberra that houses hundred forests of rare and endangered species of trees from all over the world. Located in this space is the Pod Playground, which built as a giant bunch of acorns connected via tubes through which people can pass. Using the idea that seeds are the starting points of life, this play space invites children and adults into a world of exaggerated scales in which they can understand how forests grow and develop, and why they’re important to life on Earth.
2. Braithwaite Park in Perth, Western Australia
Braithwaite Park is designed for children of ages 10-14, with large open turf spaces and huge trees challenging children to engage with nature. The play space is located at the northern end of the park, which has kick-started the whole park into a new frenzy of activity. There are mounds, slides, tunnels, miniature water bodies, a high net and trees with timber decking around it that make for imaginative role play and activities. The steel pods also provide children with a semi-private area in which they can socialise. And there is also a flying fox to mount!
3. Crocodile Park in Saint Cook
In late October 2015, as part of a $5.5 million upgrade to the Saltwater Coast, a new aquatic playground called the Crocodile Park has been installed, inviting kids to have a gala time. More than 4000 people attended the opening where people held reptiles including crocodiles in addition to meeting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The park has an aquatic playground with a massive bronze crocodile, an outdoor amphitheatre and of course BBQ stations surrounding the lake. A perfect place in which the whole family can have a few hours’ worth of fun.
4. Frew Park in Milton, Brisbane
What was once the Milton Tennis Centre and Milton Bowl site became an inner city playground in November 2014, and it was rechristened Frew Park. It contains of two main components: the Roy Emerson Tennis Centre, which contains six tennis court, one rebound court and various amenities for visitors; and the ‘Arena’ playground, which is the outdoor space designed to suit people from 10-15 years of age, including a climbing wall, slides, angled surfaces, seating ledges and climbing nets. It has a car park with fifty spaces, and is located between Frew Street and Milton Road.
5. Darling Quarter in Sydney
Located right in the middle of Sydeny’s roaring CBD, the Darling Quarter has just about everything you might need in a playground. There are balance ropes, slides, the flying fox, a giant ring and jumbo swings among many other activities that will keep kids busy, and best of all, it’s free. There are eateries littered all over the space, of course, and there is the Land Lease Darling Quarter Theatre that showcases meaningful plays for the entertainment of young people. There is also Luminous, the world’s largest light installation that invites you to stay back at Darling Quarter after dark and be filled with inspiration and awe.
6. The Megasaurus Playground in Melbourne, Victoria
Located in a local neighbourhood park at the Livingston Estate in Cranbourne East, this dinosaur-themed park opened quite recently in March 2016. It has architecturally designed play equipment to appeal to children’s fascination with dinosaurs. The playground elements include a flying fox covered by a huge 25m long ‘brontosaurus’ dinosaur frame, a 20m long dinosaur climbing frame incorporating climbing nets and a slide, a ‘pterodactyl’ basket swing with tactile steel feathers which form a ‘cubby house’ and a series of stegosaurus climbing plates with climbing holds that incorporate noise making elements.
7. Wulaba Park in Waterloo, Sydney
The Meriton Complex at Waterloo, Sydney, has a state-of-the-art park in a kaleidoscope of colours. It’s a great landscaped area for families to enjoy, with a games area to play table tennis and handball. There is also a playground with a large slide, climbing tower, decks, climbing nets and swings. Most of the colourful surfaces are designed with rubber to cushion falls and be safe for children. There’s not enough here to sustain you the whole day, but it’s a great way to kill an hour or two if you’re in the neighbourhood.
8. Nature’s Playground at Adelaide Zoo
After receiving feedback from members and regular visitors that there is a need to encourage children to interact with nature in a meaningful way, the officials at Adelaide Zoo set up a natural playground for families and kids where you can catch tadpoles, watch butterflies, climb stumps and nets, play in sandpits, or go up the walkway and watch the Adelaide Oval and the CBD from a vantage point. The idea was to create an unstructured play environment, into which zoo keepers regularly bring animals and give talks and demonstrations about various animals. Wonderful for weekend visits.