Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Farm Park

I do love the playground at New Farm Park, but at the same time, I hate hate hate it. It STRESSES ME OUT so bad but there is no denying its an awesome park and playground. Located at the Powerhouse side of New Farm Park, you can find a map here.

It's been given a recent makeover (in the last year) and received some new ground cover post- January floods, so it looks spectacularly fresh to say the very least. The park attracts hundreds of people each week - and rightly so, its a really amazing and fun park. So why does it stress me out? Well, its almost too much park if that makes sense. When Cody was younger there were always bigger kids galloping around the park and making all the wobbly bridges have seizures and almost buck Cody right off. The bridges were too narrow for parents to really climb up and supervise, so she was wobbling and tumbling with me down on the ground level unable to really intervene. Now, as an older kid, Cody is prone to the dash and there is so many places she can run and get to that I couldn't even begin to try and keep up. And when she runs through the trees she manages to find branches and pathways that only she can fit underneath so I don't even stand a chance of squeezing in behind her even if I was able to catchup.

I spend my whole time at this park going "where is Cody", "can you see her". Cody, however, is having a ball because it is one heck of a fun park. So the stress of this park is my problem alone.

I think on one hand its fair to tarnish NF Park with this broad brush of child loosing fear that I'm espousing, however as I've suggested, hundreds of people visit each week so clearly I'm perhaps in the minority of people who feel this way. I'm a moderate helicopter parent - I like to have my eyes on my child at all times but I don't feel the need to be standing beside her making sure she doesn't fall. So take all this as you please - fit it in to your perspective and decide how you would feel and if its the park for you.

The playground in the trees is amazing - there's no denying it. The platforms and bridges stretch out far across the park and have all sorts of slides, balancing frames, cubbies, chain bridges and poles off the sides for, well, sliding, balancing, pretending, crossing, climbing and shimmying. The recent update of the park has seen a walking path added behind all the main action, which means that bikes and scooters whizz past all the action in the trees. This is the main section of the park and is where the chaos is centralised but the park has some areas off to the sides which are calmer and also within the trees themselves.

Cody visited with a friend and they were having an awesome game of hide and seek. I do fear hide and seek at parks as big as this - as I say, I like to have my peepers on my child and having them purposefully run and hide from me is a bit scary. The afternoon we went was pretty mellow - before school got out and during the early afternoon of a weekday (typically the least populated time for parks as most people have fled to give their child their lunch time nap) - so I felt comfortable letting them run and hide, but I don't think I would do this on a weekend at this park. I know I sound like an overprotective grouch, but the level of chaos achieved by this park at its peak is possibly more chaos than you've ever seen. I have good reason to fear.

Off to the sides there are some calmer areas - the massive climbing frame on the right is HUGE. Cody climbs right to the top - which often freaks out the people we go there with - but she's an expert climber and this is clearly her favourite thing about this park. I've asked for her opinion on what I should write about (as I do each blog) and she said I must definitely mention how good the climber is.

On the left hand side (as you are looking at the park) there is an area for the smaller kids. It's a charming little section made up of a small cubby with a climbing side, a slide and some musical equipment. Cody spends a fair bit of time in this section and its safe - its cut off from the rest of the park, the bigger kids think its for babies and there are no bikes or games happening around you.

Next to this is a rocking boat - this feature seems to be appearing as the new trend in parks. Of course it takes the weight of an adult to actually rock the boat but its fun and if you get a willing adult you generally get a ton of kids running over. Take caution though - this is when you get stuck rocking the boat for other people's kids long after your kid has fled the scene...

New Farm Park is the perfect place for a picnic/BBQ/birthday party - but you are not going to be alone in thinking that. I've seen parents stake out a table at 7am on the morning of their party with the knowledge that tables are like gold. On a weekend getting a table is not going to be easy. There's a lovely grassy patch where you can set up camp in front of the park and lots of green sun/shade around the back too. I think this is a much better picnic than BBQ park anyway.

The dragon theme is a little odd and out of place - there is a large dragon to climb on and some dragon eggs but that is the extent of it. The kids always love sitting on sculptures but this one just sits in the foreground rather oddly. Maybe I'm missing something....

CK and I both gave this an 9. But mine is a kinda reluctant 9 if you get my drift...


Age Groups: More than any other park, this caters for all ages very well.
Kid Friendliness: There are too many kids here for any interaction.
Parent Friendliness: There are too many parents here for any interaction.
Shadiness: It's New Farm Park - there are the biggest and best trees here ever.
Tricked Out: Its all pretty cool really.
Picnic/BBQ: Perfect for both, but you'll be lucky to get a spot.
Shabbiness: Recently renovated so its really clean.
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: Read my rant above.
Bring Yr Bike: The outer path is great for bikes.
Wow: Yeah, it has probably the best wow factor in parks in Brisbane really because of its magnitude and beauty.

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