A new kids space has opened at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, the first dedicated playground in the Garden’s 51-year history.
Children and families have always been welcome to run around and explore the 40 hectares – sometimes it’s as if they have no choice but to roll, jump, and skip through an extraordinary collection of Australian plants.
The Who Did That? Children’s Trail that was launched on Wednesday (Feb 28) follows the opening late last year of the two-storey Paperbark Treehouse and creates an opportunity for all ages to learn about and experience a little bit of Tassie.
The new trail and treehouse sits within a representation of a Tasmanian Paperbark Forest. The interactive displays and games you find along highlight facts and figures about Tasmanian Devils, echidnas, frogs, and Bower Birds to name a few.
The treehouse will take you right up into the canopy, eye to eye with the many birds that call the gardens home, a terrific finale to the new path that winds its way around the flowers and foliage below.
This latest project was funded by a $20,000 grant from the IMB Community Foundation and springs from the gardens 20-year strategic plan that was released in 2015.
A conservatory of Top End plants is the next venture, one that will include another play space for learning and fun.
The treehouse central to the new trail is just as much a work of art as it is a practical structure. Cave Urban, a Sydney-based collective of artists, architects, and craftspeople are the ones behind it.
Architect Nici Long says the charred timber finish is symbolic of bushfire and regeneration and preserves the timber.
“The surrounding trees form part of the artwork,” Nici says.
“It’s also an example of sustainable building, the timber is all recycled, sourced from trees in the gardens and local timber recyclers. Every piece of timber will have a story or history.”
Half a million visitors are drawn to the gardens each year, these new attractions are sure to add to that.
Open 8:30 am to 5 pm daily, entry is free but parking costs $3.40 per hour to a maximum of $14.00 for all day parking.
The Australian National Botanic Gardens are at the foot of Black Mountain. Entry is off Clunies Ross Street, Acton.