Life With Bobux
5 of the Best Playgrounds in Melbourne [Guest Post]
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Our guest contributor, Kate Nelson, is certainly an authority on Melbourne's best playgrounds. She's the founder of Meetoo, a popular website with individually reviewed activities, classes, events, playgrounds, and school holiday programmes for families in Melbourne and beyond.
Bobux is all about play so what better way to give your children's new kicks a run for their money than by putting them through their paces at one of Melbourne’s awesome playgrounds? Melbourne has so many playgrounds, narrowing it down to just five is a challenge! But here goes...
1. Birrarung Marr Playground – Melbourne CBD
While Melbourne’s CBD is a veritable playground of sights and experiences, there aren’t many places the kids can literally run amok and let off some steam.
But hidden behind Federation Square down on the river is one of our favourite city stops - the Birrarung Marr playground. There are things to climb, plenty of sand to dig in, swings and slides and space to chase. And nearby is a giant grass hill (perfect for rolling down) and also some huge rocks the kids love to climb up.
Next to the playground is ArtPlay, Melbourne’s kids art institution. ArtPlay has an ever changing calendar of amazing art programs for children aged 1-12. Check their official page for events and other goings on.
If you are looking for coffee and snacks you will need to BYO, with nearby venues at Federation Square the best catering options. The playground has picnic tables and the nearest toilets are located about 20m away inside the Fed Square car park.
2. Base Camp indoor playground – Nunawading
Given Melbourne’s reputation for bipolar weather patterns, having an indoor play centre on this list is a must! Base Camp, located in Nunawading, is not only clean and beautifully maintained, it also offers a menu of healthy food at the lovely onsite cafe as well as craft, cooking and science programs.
The team that runs Base Camp is very passionate about doing the best job possible and they are always trying out new services and products to mix things up. After two hours of nonstop running, crawling, climbing and sliding, I still had to drag my kids out!
3. Neptune Street Adventure Playground - St. Kilda
The Neptune Street Adventure Playground is a local institution. This old school playground has evolved over many years into a mash up of new and old play equipment.
There are cubby houses, flying foxes, sand pits, climbing frames – literally something for every stage and age. There’s plenty for kids to explore and test their limits (if they want to). There are also plenty of opportunities to let the imagination run wild.
Neptune Street was established by the local community in 1981 as a neighbourhood 'backyard' and gives local children the chance to use their imagination and engage in 'risk-taking' play in a supervised environment. The playground is only open at certain times (and may be closed during extreme weather conditions).
4. Nature Play (new playground) – Royal Park
This playground, located in Royal Park (near the Children’s Hospital), is inspired by the seven seasons of the Wurundjeri people, showcasing elements reflecting the interaction between season, plants, animals and people. Just as importantly, the kids love it!
Native planting, natural materials, water and sand all come together to make a fun play experience. Amenities include the parkland surrounding the playground and BBQs. The nearest toilets are located at the Children’s Hospital.
5. St Kilda Skate Space – St. Kilda
Once your kids have mastered their scooter, bike or skateboard, it’s fun to try out a skate park (some skate parks even offer lessons). With younger kids new to the skate park experience I’ve found that early morning visits are the best time of day to avoid the crowds and the more daring teens who tend to populate them later on!
That said, there’s an unspoken etiquette, which most skate park users abide to – letting everyone (no matter their ability) have a go and showing respect towards each other.
And so, even though my new-four year old may have been a bit wobbly and slow, almost every skater stood back to give him time to find his confidence when it was his turn, a bit like the traffic in Rome, which somehow allows everyone to zoom around yet still work.
It took me a few visits to calm my anxiety about the kids being injured! But that’s one of the hardest parts of parenting… knowing when to let go.
After a while visiting Melbourne's best playgrounds, chances are you’ll be
famished and dying for a snack or coffee so check out Bobux’s top
Melbourne kid-friendly cafés post here. Or get playground-friendly shoes for your toddler here.