The Pod Playground at the National Arboretum has received a lot of attention since it first opened almost two years ago and my experts (Artie, 4 years and Clyde, 2 years) thought that it was about time to review this new (ish!) space to see what the hype is all about.
The Pod Playground is located next to the village centre in the National Arboretum. To get there, it’s a short drive through the Arboretum and up to the car park at the top of the hill. The playground can be seen from the car park, with its iconic acorn and banksia shaped equipment adding to the picturesque setting. It’s a short walk from the car to the playground, though you do need to navigate the fences or go through the cafe to get there.
There are three key areas in the Pod Playground: the rope web, the connected acorns and the banksia pods. Each of these areas is designed for different abilities and interests, and all are enclosed in a fenced area so that children can go between various activities. The banksia pods are designed for younger children and are surrounded by sand providing a soft landing for those not too steady of their feet. Clyde found this area interesting and enjoyed being able to go down the small slide by himself.
Artie was more interested in conquering the acorns, which involves climbing up the rope tunnels to the highest acorn and going down the curly slide. This mission proved a little scary and Artie needed some help to make it all the way to the top. The acorns and rope tunnels are quite small which means that sending in a rescue team can be a difficult task, particularly if a child is not able to move back down by themselves.
Many parents commented on how difficult it was to see their children in the pods and how they would not be able to get up there if they needed to. Definitely a good idea to check in with your own conquerors before they take the challenge on!
Next up we walked over the music bridge, under which bells ring when stepped on, and found ourselves at the ropes area. Clyde had much more fun playing on the bridge but as this area is in full sunlight, Artie got hot and bothered very quickly. Come to think of it, we all got very hot and bothered quickly.
There are benches around the playground, however, apart from the acorns and banksia equipment there is no shade. Though we’re in Autumn now, it’s a hot place in the Canberra sun. High winds also make it a challenging area for families to sit back and relax together. Toilets are located either inside (open 9am-4pm) or further around the buildings (there is a map on the playground fence).
After a (short!) play at the Pod Playground we had taken in the beautiful scenery and had fun climbing but were craving a big tree and some grass to relax under.
What: Pod Playground
Where: National Arboretum, access off Lady Denman drive
When: Village opening hours 9am – 4pm.
Parking: Nearby on dirt area, $2 an hour.
Recommended for: Cool days over the weekend, children 3 years – 7 years