Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gregory Park, Milton (AKA Pencil Park)

It was a cold and wet day. We were trying to go to the amazing Perrin Park at St Lucia, but when we arrived it was still closed down after flood damage from the January floods. Cody had a grizzle in the backseat of the car and I explained how sometimes Plan B actually is the best plan of all. Yeah, maybe not in this case though...

So Plan B was Gregory Park in Milton - a great park and I'm glad we went but by the time we arrived it was drizzling. And by the time we left it was pouring. No fun trying to change a four year old and a five month old into dry clothes in the back of the car. But lets assume the sun is shining, the world is happy and you are on your way to Gregory Park. Map is here.

Tucked right behind the Milton Primary School - immediately adjacent to the part of Rosalie which went completely under in the floods and was the area of town which was focused on in all of the January news. It was completely nuts of us to head here after being turned away from a flood damaged park! The good news is that apart from the maze, the park was open and in full operation (well, except for the toilets which were broken and the locks on the doors busted). I think some people refer to this as Pencil Park for the line of coloured pencils which greet you at the gate.

This is a climbers park. The perfect age for the park is the primary school kids which must look out longingly from their classrooms across the park each day, but it also serves the slightly younger crowd too with the sandpit and slides. The bulk of the park however is the climbing frames and rubber/chain spiderwebs which sit invitingly in different hubs across the park. My girl, well you know she's a climber, so this park really hit a high note with her.

What she also loves is the hills which have chains to pull them up and slides to get them down again. The Enchanted Forest and Jubilee Park in Bardon also have this feature and it generally is a hit with all ages. Of course, in the wet weather it was pretty slippery!

The thing which will keep your younger crowd coming back is the sandpit. And it's not just a sandpit, it's decked out with platforms and moving things and is pretty fun. On this day, of course, the sand was mush due to the rain, which made the crowd even happier. Sand is fun, but slushy sand is much much better. This area is covered with shade cloth (as is most of the other sections of the park) so its good to pop your little one down and let them enjoy all the grotty fun.

The playground itself is surrounded by a large oval, including a basketball court. As I've said before, I rarely see ovals used (except in formally structured sporting events like organised cricket). This had a group of kids scootering on it and really having a ball. There is a big shelter with a number of tables and I can only assume this is a big hit with mothers groups due to this reason (Cody has been here once for a birthday party too). There are toilets handy, but enter at your own risk. It's not fenced, but the kids have to run a fair way to get near the road. I can't comment on the proximity to coffee as it was raining too hard to think about going anywhere - but as I said earlier, it was very near the Rosalie shops so I can only assume that there is coffee to be found.

This was a fun park but the rain certainly made it hard for me. That said, the sand turned to mush, the bigger kids were doing skids on their scooters on the basketball courts, the slides were so slippery you slid right off the end. Sounds like super fun right? Perhaps this is the perfect rain park? Parents sheltered safely in the more-than-ample concrete bunker, kids happily getting soaked nearby. Bring a change of clothes and I'd say you've found yourself the perfectly grottily wet weather park!

Its a good park and worth a visit to. I would give it a low 7. Cody enjoyed the grottiness way too much and rated it higher, but I feel I could give her a mud pile and she'd be just as happy as long as she could get wet and grotty (FYI she complained the ENTIRE way home in the car about being muddy).


Age Groups: It caters for all ages quite well.
Kid Friendliness: it was school holidays and wet weather so to be honest there was no interaction amidst the chaos
Parent Friendliness: a few grandparents who were taking their very young grandkids down here were very nice. I think this is a widely used mothers group park too.
Shadiness: shade cloths cover most of the park
Tricked Out: a couple of small features but otherwise what you see is what you get
Picnic/BBQ: some tables and benches under cover and one BBQ
Shabbiness: the park itself was well worn
Toilets: terrible (but present!). i was desperate and needed to put up with whatever to go - there were no locks and the toilet was very far back from the door (i.e. you couldn't put your foot on the door to hold it shut) so I sang my "I'm in here please don't come in whilst I have my pants down" song to try and dissuade visitors.
Hovering Required: No you can see everywhere in the park from wherever you stand.
Bring Yr Bike: No there are no bike paths here but the kids were having fun on the basketball court
solid but not stunning

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