Looking to entertain the kids with a trip to the playground? Excellent idea. Outdoor playgrounds are a wonderful way to get little ones moving, climbing, swinging, and running. They’re also wonderful for firing up imaginations and building social skills. The best playgrounds are also places where kids to make new friends.
You’ll want a quality playground that’s well-maintained and safe for kids. In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a playground, and share where to find the best in Canberra.
What makes a great playground?
Choosing the right playground gives you confidence the kids are going to have an amazing time. Great playgrounds offer so much more than just a swing set and a slippery dip. Keep the following in mind when looking for a quality and motivating playground.
- Inventive and inspiring. To make the trip to the playground memorable, choose one that has inventive and inspiring equipment. You’ll want to keep motivated by going to a playground with lots of equipment.
- Clean and well-maintained. You’ll want to choose a playground that’s clean, well-maintained, and organised.
- Safe and shady. A great outdoor playground has partial or full shade from trees or shade cloths. The last thing you want is to expose the kids to too much sun. You’ll also want a playground that’s safe, perhaps one with soft ground and features like railings.
- Facilities and amenities. To make life easy, choose a playground with facilities and amenities like bathrooms and bubblers. You might also look for one with a BBQ and tables.
- Seating for adults. It’s best to choose a playground that also has comfortable benches or seats for adults to rest on while the kids burn off energy.
The best playgrounds in Canberra
Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
If you’re looking for more information on fun stuff to do with the kids, you might like our articles on the best kid’s birthday party venues and the best school holiday programs and activities Canberra has to offer.
The challenging and delightful outdoor Pod Playground is at the National Arboretum next to the Village Centre. This unique playground is designed to inspire the imagination of all little explorers. It’s unlike any other playground in the region. Pod Playground features giant acorn cubbies, nest swings, banksia pods and music-making instruments. Set among picturesque scenery, kids happily spend hours of active, spontaneous play. Don’t forget to visit the Children’s Garden and Discovery Garden. Bathroom facilities and café are on site.
Boundless Playground is Canberra’s first all-abilities playground. It’s located on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin at Kings Park. Run by the National Capital Authority, Boundless Playground caters to different levels of ability. Fully enclosed, Boundless is a free, state-of-the-art play space that’s fun and inclusive. Play areas feature favorites like slides, swings, and cubby houses. The playground is partly shaded and has a water play area for hot summer days. BBQs, bathrooms and other amenities are available.
John Knight Memorial Park
The 12-hectare John Knight Memorial Park, on the foreshore of Lake Ginninderra, is a scenic expanse of parkland. It also has walking and cycling trails, picnic facilities, and playgrounds. The kids’ playground includes a tree house and flying fox. The Snakehouse has a large timber climbing unit featuring a wave board and nest spinner, a climbing net, and play sculpture. Other fun stuff includes play prompts like voice tubes for kids to speak to each other across the play area.
Commonwealth Park Playground
Tucked away in stunning Commonwealth Park is a magical, castle-themed playground. This attraction is run by the National Capital Authority. The playground features tunnels, towers, ladders, slides, and more. Nearby, you’ll also find several sculptures designed for climbing. The Castle has been renovated and updated to comply with modern safety standards. A giant chessboard is in the area. The family-friendly café serves coffee for adults and ice-creams for kids.
Eddison District Park
Eddison District Park, is a 14-hectare, multi-use recreational area located on the eastern edge of Woden Town Centre. The park features a skate park, play equipment, fitness equipment stations, a disc golf course, shot put stations, and a fixed orienteering course. Informal sports can be played in the eastern part of the park. Eddison Park’s pond is home to aquatic birds. The park is a lovely spot for a picnic or BBQ and offers picnic tables, and toilets.
Glebe Park covers four hectares on the eastern side of Canberra’s city centre. It’s known for its 19th century rotunda, sculptures, large grassy areas, and fun kids’ playground. The shaded playground has something for kids of all ages. Examples include a slide, swing set, see-saw, and plenty of climbing opportunities. Features include BBQs, drinking water, tables, and toilets. Enjoy the massive English elms and oaks that shade in summer and turn gold in autumn.
Weston Park is a popular 40-hectare area in the heart of Canberra. It features a summer wading pool, beach, and swimming area to cool the kids on scorching hot days. Weston Park’s kids playground has a climbing net and swings, adventure equipment, a miniature train, sprinklers, interactive pumps, disc golf, and a fixed orienteering course. Amenities include BBQs, drinking water, picnic tables, toilets, and shelter. Also a café.
Yerrabi District Park
Yerrabi District Park is a scenic spot on the foreshore of Yerrabi Pond. It’s an excellent choice for active children, with an innovative play space and adventure playground with a wheelchair-accessible liberty swing. The park, with plenty of shade, also has a double/tandem flying fox and a Burmese bridge for agility and coordination. Yerrabi District Park’s skateboard area and basketball park get plenty of attention. BBQs, drinking water and picnic tables, and a toilet are all on-site.
Your experience with playgrounds in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I look for in a playground?
You’ll want to look for fun equipment the kids can play on. You’ll also want a playground that’s cleaned, well-maintained, safe and shady. Another feature is seating for adults. You can also check out what facilities and amenities playgrounds have, such as bathrooms and bubblers.
Are all playgrounds free?
The play spaces run by the ACT Government are all free. If you’re looking at going to a privately run play area, you’ll have to check to see if there are any fees.
Are all playgrounds run by the ACT Government?
The ACT Government owns and manages over 500 publicly accessible play spaces across Canberra. These local, central and district play spaces provide various play opportunities. These play spaces are about enriching the lives of kids and Canberrans of all other ages.
How do I find play areas?
One great online resource is Parks ACT (ACT Government). It lists heaps of parks with playgrounds. Head here: https://www.parks.act.gov.au/find-a-park?queries_activities_query_posted=1&queries_activities_query=Play%20spaces
Can I take our dog to play areas?
Some play areas are dog friendly, but some aren’t. It’s best to check online before taking your dog to a play area.