The downhill thrill of a slide, the wild highs of a swing, the dizziness/nausea of the spinny-thing. A powerful introduction into gravity, physics and how hard the gym will be later in life (hello, monkey bars), playgrounds are just fun, and we've got a whole bunch of brilliant ones around the region.
So, pack your snacks, slop on some sunscreen, gather your kids and go exploring.
📍 BARWON HEADS
Barwon Heads Village Park (aka The Pirate Park)
Where: Sheepwash Road, Barwon Heads
What: Two pirate ship (as the name suggests), a large rope climbing structure, swings, slides, rock climbing wall, rocking bridge, circular swing, hammock, seesaw (not your run of the mill seesaw either, this one goes up and down and around and around), spinners, bouncers, and the oh-so-popular and very epic double flying fox (you can race each other down the sandy slopes).
There are also toilets and undercover BBQ facilities. This playground spreads itself across a large area, hours of fun and exploration to be had.
Frank Ellis Foreshore Playground
Where: Frank Ellis Reserve, Flinders Parade, Barwon Heads
What: A towering rope climbing frame, roundabout (aka spinny winny), circular swing, monkey bars, balance beam and chain, flying fox, a rocking boat, race-ya slides (i.e. two slides side by side), ample swings, pirate ship, balancing discs and a view of the beach and iconic Barwon Heads bridge.
There are also toilets, BBQ facilities and easy beach access to a very child-friendly beach.
Drysdale Railway Station Playground
Where: High Street, Drysdale
What: This is a great one for the littler kids. The equipment is brightly coloured, predominantly wooden and a touch on the smaller side. There is a mini train, swing set, rope climbing frame, roundabout, spiderweb, a grasshopper & dolphin (not real ones, kids may argue better than) and smaller-scaled rock climbing wall for the tots.
Toilets, undercover BBQ area and of course the heritage train station is only a hop, skip and a swing away. Oh and one final add-on, the coffee van is normally situated in the car park so parents can enjoy a tasty brew while the kids while away the day.
Geelong Play Space
Where: Eastern Park (adjacent to the Geelong Botanic Gardens), Geelong
What: This imaginative playground is set amidst the trees and lush gardens of Eastern Park. This playground is award-winning and rightly so. Wherever you explore, joy is quickly discovered. Tour the wooden pirate ship with rope climbing net, create your own tunes at the musical bell bridge, dig for treasure in the sandpit, climb the colossal wall, send a message through the speaking tubes or crawl through the bamboo tunnel to the cottage ruins.
And let’s not forget the Liberty Swing; a swing that enables children in wheelchairs to experience the delights of a swing. BBQ facilities are also available for use.
Poppy Kettle Park
Where: Western Beach Road, Geelong
What: Situated on the Geelong waterfront, this park is laden with interactive equipment including shooting water fountains, a dragon emerging from the ground, climbing tower, fireman pole, swing, boat, bouncers and an impressive tubular slide that winds it way down the hill.
Toilets located next to the playground and the skate park and basketball ring is nearby too!
Estuary Boulevard Reserve
Where: 56 Estuary Boulevard, Leopold.
What: This park is a hidden gem, placed within the fairly newly developed Estuary Boulevard. Probably geared toward the younger children, this park offers large rope climbing structure, soft mat slanting hill, swings (including a large circular swing), bridges, balance beams, monkey bars, bouncers and wooden adventure structure.
There is also a basketball ring and BBQ facilities.
Where: Melaluka Road, Leopold
What: This park has taken the magnificent surrounding reserve and aesthetically blended it into the playground. There are tree houses, swings, water play, hammocks, log walks, viewing decks, igloos/cubbies, sand pit, slide, rope bridges, mud areas, magnifying glasses, climbing structures and so much more to unearth (literally).
It perfectly combines environment and imagination. There are also plenty of BBQ facilities and toilets.
📍 OCEAN GROVE
Where: 70 Presidents Avenue, Ocean Grove
What: Ocean Grove Park is a community-funded and community-cared for park. This means that there are no toilets situated in the actual park but there are some located only a few minutes’ walk away. The park is kept pristine with a wooden adventure playground, monkey bars, digger, spin-me-til-I-feel-sick teacup, rope climbing structure, steep slide, swings galore, rocking boat, balancing chains, flying fox, spinning discs and a circular balancing/spinning apparatus.
There is also a basketball ring, fitness equipment and undercover BBQ facilities.
📍 POINT LONSDALE
POINT LONSDALE VILLAGE PLAYGROUND
Where: 74 Point Lonsdale Road, Point Lonsdale.
What: Primely positioned between the beach and the shops, Point Lonsdale Village Playground offers not only the fun of the park but also the views of the beach and the conveniences of the shops (i.e. coffee). There is a heap of equipment for the kids to explore including swings, slides, tunnels, monkey bars, pirate ship, circular swing, flying foxes, bridges and much more.
The playground is beautifully constructed and also offers BBQ facilities and toilets.
Where: Tobin Drive, Queenscliff.
What: This playground encapsulates its seaside location through the equipment. There is a child-sized lighthouse to climb and explore, a giant squid to run along and an expanse of soft, white sand surrounding the equipment. There are also slides, swings, spinning discs, circular swing and a magnificently constructed boulevard that meanders it way down to the nearby beach. The park is set among towering pines (offering ample shade) and a lush lawn (offering ample room to kick a footy).
Toilets are also located within the park, along with BBQ facilities and a café.
📍 ST. LEONARDS
Dan Dan Nook Children’s Playgound
Where: The Esplanade, St Leonards.
What: This playground is fully fenced, allowing mums and dads the novelty of letting down their guard (well just that little bit). Kids of all ages will be amused with this playground. There are all the traditional offerings; swings, slides, climbing structures, bridge, ladders and tunnels. Then there are the more modern additions; large boat bouncer, circular swing and challenging balancing structure.
Toilets and BBQ facilities close by.
Playful playgrounds – Geelong and The Bellarine certainly have a few. Take your child by the hand, go explore and most importantly, have fun at the playground!