The Royal Park Nature Playground in Parkville is already well documented, but for those who are new to the area this park is simply wonderful. It was awarded the title of best playground by the Australian Institute for Landscape Architects in 2016 and rightly so! The park is designed with nature in mind and it encourages children to explore their surroundings and take risks.
The park features trees, grasslands, gullies, nooks, rocks and even a large hill to climb (the view is well worth the effort!). According to the signage within the park the different areas of the landscape are inspired by the seven seasons of the Wurundjeri, the traditional owners of this land. A map details where you can observe the changes in the season as they emerge throughout the year.
The play structures are mostly constructed from natural materials, blending in with the surrounds. It’s such a nice change to the brightly coloured ones you normally see. There are climbing logs – criss-crossed and linked with rope netting, sandpits, metals rings, structures to climb and crawl through plus a large wooden play area with ropes of various lengths suspended around. On the day we visited it was very busy and full of kids hanging, swinging, balancing and climbing! There’s also the obligatory slides and swings and these are nicely integrated into the landscape.
The water play area was the most popular with my kids and it consisted of several fountains shooting water into the air, a large water pump, several hand pumps, channels and dams all leading to a sandpit… it’s fantastic! My advice is to bring some bathers and a towel – they will get wet!
There’s picnic tables and benches scattered around but you could easily perch on one of the many large stepping stone rocks or bring a picnic rug and set up on the grass under the trees. Public toilets and drinking fountains are readily available so you could make a whole day of it, believe me the kids won’t want to leave!