Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Neal Macrossan Park (AKA Helicopter Park)

Neal Macrossan Park is a park made up of two parks and is also referred to as Ithica Park (as it backs on to the Ithica Pool and Paddo Skate Park) or Helicopter Park. Map is here.

Called Helicopter Park for rather obvious reasons, the park has two distinct parts - the old wooden climbing frame on the high side and the new coloured play centre on the lower side. This duality makes it a favourite in our household as the disparity between the two halves really makes it feel like they are two separate parks.

Helicopter Park, being only a few kms from the city (opp Suncorp Stadium), located at the start of Paddington and within a hub of other activities (pool, skate park and dog off-leash park), plays host to a great number of events throughout the year - the most prominent being the annual Paddington Fair which is put on by Ciel Fuller hosts a variety of bands, markets and foodstuffs. Other times of the year it tends to host BBQs by the younger sect with kids from the skater crowd and a stroll through of folks fresh from the pool.

The park itself is made up of the two beautifully shaded areas which, as I've said, each hold a really different appeal. The climbing park has lots of areas for the kids to show their skills and agility in climbing and navigating along wobbly suspended ropes or monkey bars. It has platforms and spiders webs and is reminiscent of a great big tree cubby house which the kids can chase each other through. It's very much a treat for the slightly older kids in this way.

The lower park is the newer of the two (built I believe only two or three years ago if memory serves me correctly). It's really your stock standard "new" park with brightly coloured slides and interactive pieces, a little shop (the little shop with cash register and scales is really the most heavily used feature which is common to all these newer parks), and then one or two standout pieces (in this case the helicopter and the boat) which make the park unique. This area is made for the younger crowd, however I find the helicopter itself attracts the older kids - particularly as they all want to get up high on the top propeller area which spins around.

This is a good fun park. It's always got a crowd, always hosting parties and picnics (there are three main picnic tables - one undercover - but only one BBQ), always full of kids of all ages tearing about. It's not the best park by far (nor is it anywhere near the worst) but it seems to be a popular park with the masses so that in itself makes it fun as you never know who you are going to run into (Brisbane's two or three degrees of separation really rears its head at this park as we nearly always run into someone we know or getting talking to someone and find we have mutual friends).

CK rates this park at 7 and I would give it 7 too. Its a lovely park to visit.


Age Groups: It has enough diversity to cater for all ages.
Kid Friendliness: very friendly - especially in the newer section where the younger kids are
Parent Friendliness: always nice, quite often run into friends here as its so popular
Shadiness: both areas are well shaded
Tricked Out: the new park has some nice features which make it unique
Picnic/BBQ: just the one BBQ and shaded pergola but a couple of other tables and lots of benches
Shabbiness: the older part is, well, older but nothing is particularly dirty or vandalised
Toilets: i didn't personally go into the toilets however my husband came back grumbling about them. Maybe BYO paper just in case.
Hovering Required: The parks themselves are fine but the kids can run down the hill and quickly be over near the pool or skate park before you know it. So a keen eye out would be good but not so much hovering
Bring Yr Bike: No, but do bring your skateboard and go over to the legendary Paddo Skate Park bit
Crowded: not super crowded but definitely popular
Wow: the helicopter certainly pleases the kids

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