The Royal Park Nature Playground, is a great and unique play area, in Royal Park, Melbourne that is an environmental adventure for all ages. The park allows the kids to get in touch with their natural surroundings, as they interact with the brand-new, specially made equipment.
The Royal Park Nature Playground is located on the corner of Flemington Rd, and Gatehouse St in Parkville, Melbourne in Victoria. The park is right near the Royal Children’s Hospital complex, and the park is the location of the former Royal Children’s Hospital, so it is a very special place in the area.
Parking in the area can be difficult, as it is in a busy spot right next to the Hospital, and near a main road. However, you might have some luck with parking on Gatehouse St, where you can park securely for $2 an hour. Just keep in mind, that you may need to park your car a bit further away if you plan on staying longer than 2- 3 hours.
One of the best things about the playground is that mainly natural and locally sourced materials are used on the equipment. The Nature Playground really lives up to its name by letting the kids interact directly with nature in a safe and monitored way. A lot of planning has gone into the playground and the equipment to maximise enjoyment for the little ones. And it shows. In 2016, the park was awarded as the nation’s best playground by the Australian Institute for Landscape Architects. This outstanding achievement is only overshadowed by the number of positive reviews by local families who take their kids to the park regularly.
The water play area is probably one of the standouts of the park, although there are many standouts here. This area has several little water spouts, a water pump and a tiny little river and wading pool that kids can stick their feet in.
Another part that will be a hit, especially with the older kids is the wooden ropes course. The course is made for all climbers of all skill levels, with pieces like a small rope bridge and the giant spider web that they can climb on. Most of the ropes are fairly low to the ground, to prevent accidents, and the ground is covered in pine-bark. The park also has your usual swings and slides, and a big, open grass area, so there really is something for everyone at this playground.
The park is also made for all different kinds of children to play in. As it is located right near the Royal Children’s Hospital, many children with health issues and disabilities access the park each day. This is a great way to integrate those kids back into the community and make them feel normal again.
There are several cafes and restaurants close by, as the park is in the Melbourne city. One of these places that is close to the park, is Smith and Singleton, right next door to the park. The café has pram access and highchairs available, as well kids options for breakfast and lunch.
Another place for dining that isn’t too far away from the park is the Parkville Café. This café is just a little bit further along from Smith and Singleton, in the same precinct as the hospital. The café is fairly spacious and pram accessible, but it doesn’t a have specific kids menu. However, they do have lots on offer that the kids can enjoy, like salad, sushi, sandwiches and other food made to eat on the go.
The park also has two barbeque areas available if you would prefer to have a picnic of your own food. Bubblers are also available, so you can refill your water bottles as you go. The toilets for the park are located near the entrance on Gatehouse St.
Make sure you pack plenty of protection from the sun for the little ones. Most of the playground is out in the open, and has no shaded areas, so you need to cover up. Definitely bring the sunscreen and hats if the kids are accessing the water play area for a long time. Hopefully this will be reviewed by council and shaded areas will be added to the playground soon.