The thing I love about writing this blog is that we are getting some awesome recommendations of parks for inclusion. This, combined with the fact that I'm driving again (I had a five year hiatus after I lost my nerve after being hit by a truck), means that CK and I are unstoppable now with checking out new parks. Today's park comes recommended by Marisa and Rachael and props go to me for navigating that massive roundabout (without loosing my cool) in front of the Toowong Cemetery. Indeed this park is just by the roundabout (bottom of Mt Cootha by the Botanic Gardens and the Toowong Cemetery) behind the bus depot. Map is here.
CK makes up the best names for parks - this one is known as Pen pal Park. Out front of the homestead (pictured above) is a very large letterbox. I was the postman and CK was getting letters from her pen pals in Melbourne (or Melvin as she calls it). I think it could also be called Homestead Park or Chicken Park really.
Set in a beautiful surrounding, this park is circled by a ring road which had an abundance of lunch time walkers when we were there. The trees are beautiful and it would make an amazing picnic or BBQ area down under the trees near the pond (please note that the pond is not fenced so if you have young kids you would definitely have to keep an eye on them). Indeed we are proposing the return of our much loved breakfast BBQ with out friends at this park this weekend as we were so inspired by the wood fire BBQ and wonderful picnic areas.
Playground wise, its really a haven for the younger crew - your under five's. There is the homestead we have mentioned already, with its water tank tunnels on the side which have two yellow slides jutting out to the ground. There is the car, supposedly set to pretend move bales of hay across the park but was hosting a great game of hide and seek when we were there today. The other little details like the sheep rocker, galah swings. And the flying fox. Oh the flying fox! Supposedly Brisbane's longest flying fox - this wasn't a "wow" flying fox in terms of its set up, but the sheer length of it means that the older kids (and *cough* parents) gravitate towards it like magnets.
For me the winner was the sandpit. As you would know if you've followed our playground adventures, young CK is a fiend for the sandpit. Yesterday she emptied her shoes (in the house of course) of what seemed like an entire bucket of sand. She just loves it. In terms of sandpit excitement, I'd suggest that Anzac Park is the best sandpit in town.
Fully fenced (though I noted several weak spots where the adventurous kid could bust out), this was set up like a vege patch and chicken coop. Given we have both a vege patch and chicken coop at home, I'm always impressed to see such a setup for the kids. There were an abundance of buckets and spades lying around - like they'd been bought by a parent and "donated" to the cause - and CK immediately set to clean up the prentend chicken poo. Oddly enough she doesn't clean up chicken poo at home but now that we know she's keen we might set her to work...
The small details of this park were what made it special for me. The theme was complete - it wasn't half a homestead with some swings thrown in but a complete picture. The surroundings with the pond (which was albeit a bit grotty but did have a baby duck and a heron) was picturesque and made me want to spend time here. This was what CK and I both like in a park. Its one of those parks that really impress me as its theme makes it unique. To me it feels like the council were inspired and not just throwing the stock standard park together but creating something designed to educate and encourage.
CK and I both gave this an 8. Worth a drive for sure!
Age Groups: It caters for all ages quite well but predominantly will please younger kids
Kid Friendliness: The batch today wasn't particularly inclusive but I'm hesitant to judge it as dodgy kids based on one group
Parent Friendliness: Nobody talked to us however I was besotted by two new parents who were just gaga over their newly walking boy - it was all that was good about parents right there.
Shadiness: Wonderful canopy of trees in the surrounding but not so shady over the playground itself. We were there on a very overcast day but I can imaging summer would be hot!
Tricked Out: The flying fox was super cool
Picnic/BBQ: Old school wood fire BBQ and plenty of them!
Shabbiness: The pond was grotty but the playground and park was fine.
Toilets: Close toilet block that was fairly decent. I didn't feel the need to wash myself and my child in disinfectant after we had stepped foot into it!
Hovering Required: There were a few different areas where you'd want to hover for younger kids. The pond also would be an issue if you took your eyes off your younger child. For CKs age (nearly 4) it was fine to let her run, but I'd say anything younger and you'd want your running shoes on.
Bring Yr Bike: There are little paths throughout the playground however I'd suggest that they'd be good for smaller kids (ie slower carriages) only as they are right in the playground and it may interfere with the other kids.
Wow: I think the theme was flawless and a wow factor in itself.