Oh my goodness. What a day! It was the stuff of little kids dreams but also the stuff of childhood memories all wrapped into one. I love that we've created a memory for Cody out of something which was a fond memory for us as children. Perhaps she will pass this on to her kids. I'm talking about a playground, a beach, $3 serve of chips, sand and new friends. In Brisbane, this can only mean one thing - Wynnum Esplanade. Map is here. I took a gazillion photos - be warned.
I don't want to be too prescriptive on this site and tell you how to experience parks - only you and your kids can do that. However I'd like to share our experiences if they extend beyond a playground and we get it right and maybe inspire you to use the playground visit as a base to really have fun with your kids. Certainly I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know here though. If you go to the beach its quite the standard to have chips wrapped up in paper and maybe an ice cream. Though I fear that Cody may want to nickname this "chips and ice cream park"...
The whole day was a blast - and I say "day" because we managed to spend HOURS upon hours there. We got an amazing park in the car park - which really makes a difference if you are juggling two kids let's face it - and the second Cody saw the park she could barely contain herself. It's an impressive sight! We went in winter when all the water features were closed down so I can only imagine how rad it would look in the warmer months with water jutting out of the whales and the wading pool in full operation.
Walking into the park, the first thing which strikes is the tree completely full of corellas. This is an amazing sight (and we were fortunate enough to see them leave the tree and circle the beach) and surprisingly unobtrusive (they were neither noisy nor pooey). The second observation was that we were going to be getting into the car with sand coming out of all sorts of places. The whole park is built upon sand and so walking through it to chase your child is somewhat comical.
There were literally too many features in this park to list - rocking ship like structures, a baby slide, spinning tops, climbing frames - this list could go on and on and on so I'll let the pictures show you the full scope. Our highlights were - surprise surprise - the climbing frame. Now I know that Cody has a well documented penchant for the climbing frame, however this one was undeniably spectacular. It was hilarious to watch - she was trying to leave it to go somewhere else but she got two meters away and was pulled back by an invisible string which had her like a yo-yo.
The playground was amazing - I'll leave it at that. It was a 40 minute drive for us when you take into account having to go through the city but it was well worth it for the playground alone.
Best part of my day was when Mika discovered the sand. In the seconds in between me trying to wrestle her hand (filled with sand) away from her mouth that is. She had a look of absolute joy on her face. This girl is going to rock the playgrounds in a few months time for sure!
We managed to get away from the playground to eat our $3 serve of chips, which we scoffed on a picnic bench whilst Cody's eye wandered beachward. Chips inside, there was no stopping her. The beach here is just beautiful. Clean sand, clear water, ripples which run across the sand and tickle their feet as they run splashing across the shore. It is picturesque. It took some convincing to get her to walk down the 80-odd year old pier - she just didn't want to leave the sand. The walk was wonderful and I couldn't help thinking this would be a fabulous thing to do at night (sans kids!).
After the pier and the beach we headed to the other park - only ten meters away from the main park but obviously the original park which was put in place many years before the redevelopment. This was a fun old school park and a great contrast to the new park. It was steel and slides and monkey bars to the colour and wood of the other park. There was of course not a soul playing there!
A trip back across the road to the shop for ice cream (and Cody had never had a commercial type ice cream like a Billabong before so she was much taken with their sickly sweet dripping sugar) to polish off the storybook day. All up we got two serves of chips, two drinks and three ice creams for under $15 and spent about four hours of absolute fun there. It was a fabulous day but also really inexpensive so I can see us doing it time and time again.
I think the playground was awesome and the day was next to perfect. Easily a 9.5 rating.
Age Groups: Everyone. I was super impressed with the little kids area too - the slide was about a meter long and super cute. In summer the older kids will love the water features.
Kid Friendliness: There were too many kids and too much to do to even stop for a second and talk to someone else.
Parent Friendliness: See above.
Shadiness: trees cover the park
Tricked Out: yeah, so many surprises. I will report back in summer, however I can see that it would be super spectacular when summer rolls around.
Picnic/BBQ: major BBQ area in the middle of the park - which was a nice touch to have it centralised with the park surrounding it. I doubt you'd EVER get this spot on a weekend though. Off to the side there were tons of tables and chairs.
Shabbiness: really clean
Toilets: lots of toilets in a block off to the side. Clean too!
Hovering Required: Yeah, I'd say kids would be pretty easy to lose sight of in this park
Bring Yr Bike: The esplanade is set up for bikes, however I'd suggest maybe more experienced riders as there is lots of stray walkers wandering across the paths
Crowded: we went on a school day during the day and it was quite packed (but handled it okay). I can't imagine the chaos that would be a weekend or a school holiday day.
Wow: buckets and spades of it (geddit).