When it comes to outdoor play spaces across the ACT, we’re spoilt for choice. From nature reserves, adventure playgrounds and urban parks, here’s a list of some of our favourites.
Weston Park in Yarralumla is one of Canberra’s hidden gems and one of the most picturesque locations for kids to play, so is guaranteed to be a great family day out. With 40 hectares to enjoy, the space offers an adventure playground with climbing net and swings, plus there’s a great beach and wading pool. There’s also a miniature train and miniature golf at the nearby Yarralumla Play Station, an orienteering course, picnic tables, barbeques, cycle paths and toilets.
TIDBINBILLA NATURE RESERVE
The Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on the fringe of Namadgi National Park offers the ultimate bush escape within a short drive of the city centre. Once here, kids will find countless areas to play in the great outdoors surrounded by the local wildlife in their natural habitat. Corin Forest is nearby, and has an outdoor adventure playground with slides, forests, lots of space to play, plus picnic tables aplenty, ensuring a great day out for all ages.
The Cotter Dam site is one of Canberra’s most popular recreational areas and is located along the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. The grassy Cotter Reserve and the nearby Casuarina Sands are surrounded by bushland and offer a modern adventure playground, swimming, walking tracks and loads of green space ideal for running around, throwing the ball and good old family fun. The area also has barbeques and picnic tables so you can take a wellearned break by the water’s edge. Be sure to keep a look out for local wildlife including emus, kangaroos and platypus swimming in the river.
FRANKLIN RECREATIONAL PARK
This excellent recreational park is located in the northside suburb of Franklin. There are shaded play areas, specialty play equipment, a skate park, gym equipment, an enclosed soccer/basketball court, large grassy areas to run and kick the ball, plus a table tennis facility. The park also has barbeques, undercover seating and toilets, so you can stay here all day.
For a play experience close to nature, head to the National Arboretum where kids will fall in love with the award-winning architectural delight that is the children’s POD Playground. This beautifully crafted interactive outdoor space will appeal to children of all ages with giant wooden acorn treehouses, nest swings, banksia seed pods, rope tunnels, challenging ladders and music-making instruments. Its thoughtful design is inspired by the idea of seeds as the beginning of new life in the forest.
Boundless is Canberra’s first all-abilities playground with inclusion and diversity at the heart of its functionality and design. This state-of-the-art play space is located in Kings Park, Parkes on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin and has been built to enable children with differing levels of ability to play and explore for hours on end. There are swings, ramps, cubbies, slides and a sandpit with diggers. It is a fully enclosed play space with barbeques and toilets, so the whole family can come and enjoy.
JOHN KNIGHT MEMORIAL PARK
The John Knight Memorial Park in Belconnen has been a popular family play and picnic spot for many generations. This idyllic park is located on the shores of Lake Ginninderra and is sure to keep the children engaged for hours. It has an impressive adventure playground with a treehouse, flying fox, play sculpture, snake-themed house, lots of climbing facilities, and voice tubes so children can speak to each other across the playground. The site has lots of shade and grassy space too, so there’s more than enough room to picnic and play a game of cricket or soccer on a lovely sunny day.
BARRACKS FLAT PARK
This great park on Barracks Flat Drive in Queanbeyan is an ideal spot for children of all ages to play and explore. The site has swings, a slide, climbers, spinners, a half basketball court, plus loads of green space for kicking a ball and a well-formed bike track with dirt mounds for jumps and stunts. A lot of the play space is in a gated area and much of it is shaded too, plus there are barbeques, picnic tables and toilets, making it the ideal space for a family day out.
KAMBAH ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND
Children of all ages are in for a treat at this fun-filled adventure playground in Canberra’s south. Here you’ll find a treehouse, space net, junior and senior flying foxes, giant swings, and a wheelchair-accessible liberty swing. The site is a lovely location for a picnic or barbeque with the whole family.
This fun park in Denman Prospect boasts a fantastic adventure playground packed with high tunnels, colourful jumping stones, climbing nets, slides, swings, plus an awesome flying fox. The site is a picturesque spot for a picnic or day out with the whole family, with plenty of shady spaces and gorgeous views of the National Arboretum and across to the city centre.
YERRABI POND DISTRICT PARK
The Yerrabi Pond District Park is a popular adventure playground catering for children of all ages and abilities. This park is located by the water’s edge and includes an allabilities swing, flying foxes, a slide and a climbing structure with cubby spaces. For the older kids, there’s a skateboarding and scooter area, and for the parents, there are barbeques and plenty of shady areas to sit back, relax and watch the little ones run around and have fun.