Location: Centennial Park, Sydney Opening Hours: 10am-5pm daily Cost: Free
If you're planning a trip to Sydney anytime soon, particularly during the upcoming school holidays, we've found an incredible place to take the kids to. Located in the heart of Centennial Park, is the newly opened Ian Potter Children's WILD PLAY Garden. It's a natural wonderland for kids and well worth a visit if you're nearby.
Children (and adults) will be in awe when they enter the garden, with vast, green spaces welcoming them. The whole area is fenced with plenty of native shrubs and trees providing shade, as well as a beautiful soft bark-type floor covering the garden, ensuring soft landings and ease underfoot. The garden, which cost $4 million to create, has been designed to encourage children to run, jump, play and learn, whilst reconnecting with nature.
There are several different areas to the garden, take your pick where to head to first:
Artesian Water Play
Make sure you bring your child's swimmers or a spare change of clothes for this awesome area of the garden, as they will get wet! Watch the volcano erupt full of water and cascade down the rock steps into the water play area below. Water fountains dance high into the sky, delighting children as they run through below. Cool off little toes in the shallow pools and watch faces light up as they splash happily in the water. This area was our favourite in the garden!
Crawl and climb over, under and around the Turtle Mound. Follow the little roped paths through trees and bushes over the mound. Crawl through the long tunnel and reach the large sandpit on the other side (don't forget to pack your bucket and spades!). This area is perfect for little ones to explore and develop their gross motor skills.
Explore a world of trees as you navigate your way through the tall majestic bamboo. Younger kids will love to play peekaboo, whilst the older kids can chase each other through the trees. A lovely shaded spot if you need a break from the sun.
This awesome wooden beam construction makes for the perfect natural balancing structure. Kids will love seeing if they can make it all the way along and around from one end to the other. There's plenty of space for lots of children so everyone can work their way along at their own pace.
Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub Tunnels
These tunnels, made from Banksias, are incredibly impressive to look at and just as fun to explore. Children can follow the trail and dash through these awesome tunnels or have a race to see who can make it through first.
This is Centennial Park's first tree house and an impressive one at that. Children can make their way up the treehouse by balancing across the wooden bridge, crawling and climbing up nets and ladders and racing back down to the bottom on the giant slide. Older kids especially will love this area!
The WILD PLAY garden is the perfect spot to meet friends or have a picnic at, as there's plenty of space within a beautiful setting, plus so much to keep the kids occupied for hours! Whilst we were there, there was a van selling ice cream, coffees and other refreshments, as well as on site toilets and the Discovery Centre next door. The park is open daily from 10am - 5pm, is designed for children aged 2-12 and free to enter. Parking is available in the park on Grand Drive, though try to arrive early if you can, as it does get busy, particularly on weekends and in holidays.
We had an amazing time at the WILD PLAY garden and couldn't recommend it more for when you are next in Sydney!