NOT: The Grove playground, 180 Davis Rd, Tarneit

the grove playground tarneit

We are so spoilt for excellent playgrounds in Melbourne. And with the spate of fantastic new openings lately (see Maritime Cove, Booran Reserve, Lillydale Lake, Hadfield Park and Craigieburn ANZAC Park) it’s glaring when a playground falls short of the hype.

The super-high double slides at The Grove, Tarneit are the best thing about the new playground installed as part of the housing development’s land sales centre.
the grove playground tarneit

However, I feel that this poorly designed playground is a missed opportunity to bring visitors from outside Tarneit to the area and to enhance the surrounding suburb.

My main gripe is that the equipment has been set out into a really small area, seemingly without consideration about kids’ traffic flows.

the grove playground tarneit

There’s a flying fox, pyramid rope climb, teacup spinner, nest swing and high stepping stones all crammed into a small space.

the grove playground tarneit

I have particular concerns about the nest swing, which is installed in a thoroughfare. During my visit I can’t count the number of times kids run through the swing’s orbit before either ducking for cover or having a frantic parent whisk them out of harm’s way. Circular nest swings (ie attached by one point and not two points) are generally situated on the outer edges of a playground for this reason.

The two in-ground trampolines are set on a slope. I watch as kids take a run up to launch themselves onto the trampolines, before toppling over due to the momentum.

the grove playground tarneit

The frog sculptures are surrounded by speakers which are supposed to provide wetland sounds I think but sound more like a toilet flushing!

the grove playground tarneit

The rest of the playground equipment consists of proprietary structures I’ve seen many times before. And while there’s nothing wrong with that (proprietary equipment can be just as much fun as bespoke structures) it’s telling that Lady AB says her favourite part of the playground is not any of the equipment – it’s the large grassy area next to it where she can run! Admittedly it is particularly lush green grass and will be great for ball games and unstructured play.

the grove playground tarneit

I also have high hopes for the adjoining eatery. However, they were so inundated with customers (call it the Mamma Knows West effect) that I can’t get to the half-empty counter, there is a long wait for coffee and masses of dirty dishes piling up on tables.

It may be unfair to give them a NOT given I didn’t get to try any of the food. But the lack of service, meagre food offerings and dirty surroundings just add to my overall disappointment. I feel sorry for the frantic barista and the one other staff member on the floor who keep apologising to customers.
Note that to access the playground from the cafe you have to drop down a number of steps. There are no ramps for prams – the only ramp is the entrance/exit to the playground. There is a small gap in the landscaping which allows you to enter the playground without going through the cafe, but that gap is not apparent from the carpark so most people can’t find it. Why they couldn’t install a ramp instead of stairs leading from cafe to playground is a mystery.

All in all, the playground at The Grove is an ok option if you’re local to the area, but it’s not worth a special trip. Also note that the cafe oddly not open on Thursdays and Fridays so if you visit the playground on those days you will need to BYO as you’ll be stranded in the middle of nowhere with no food or drink options within walking distance.


The Grove playground, 180 Davis Rd, Tarneit

The HOT List: Top 10 Road Trip Songs for Kids


Easter weekend is the busiest time of the year on Australian roads and Kinderling Kids Radio, Australia’s most popular kids radio station, can help you survive those family road trips with kids!

Kinderling Kids Radio recently surveyed 1000+ parents of under 5s to compile the ultimate soundtrack for surviving a road trip with toddlers in tow:

1. Let It Go – Idina Menzel

2. Happy – Pharrell Williams

3. Wheels on the Bus

4. Hello – Adele

5. Hot Potato – The Wiggles

6. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake

7. Roar – Katy Perry

8. Land Down Under – Men at Work

9. How Far I’ll Go – Alessia Cara

10. Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars

While Idina Menzels’ ‘Let It Go’ from the Frozen movie soundtrack came out on top, it was also the top song that parents would gladly never hear ever again! *hands up*

Throughout the Easter weekend Kinderling Kids Radio will be playing its road trip top hits, as voted by parents. Listen live at www.kinderling.com.au or on DAB digital radio (search under ‘kids’).

Kinderling Kids Radio have also put together FREE roadtrip mixtapes for all stages of a roadtrip – the excitement of heading off, car karaoke for family singalongs and soothing sounds on the return journey home.

The mixtapes can be downloaded from the Kinderling Kids Radio app in the iTunes Store or Google Play. Alternatively, catch up on demand at www.kinderling.com.au.

 

Stay safe this Easter weekend and turn up the volume! We’re hopping in the car for the Bendigo Easter Festival with the Wiggles, The White Stripes, Village People, Daft Punk, Justine Clarke and Johnny Cash :)

 

This post has been published in partnership with Kinderling Kids RadioKinderling Kids Radio (SCA Radio) was founded by a group of passionate parents in 2005 and is Australia’s most popular kids’ radio station with an average of 200,000 weekly listeners. The station plays family-friendly music and shows for children aged 0-7 with kids’ favourites, indie artists and grown-up songs too – from Sia to The Strokes.

HOT: Lillydale Lake Playspace, 435 Swansea Road, Lilydale

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

Lillydale Lake Playspace is a unique new nature-based playground that replaces the previous wooden and metal playground located at Lillydale Lake.

There has been a few detractors grumbling that replacing the extensive, functional (but highly flammable) playground and the addition of a water play area has not improved the area.

However, I disagree!

Aesthetically I think the new playground is much more pleasing, with natural components and a more muted colour scheme in keeping with the lake’s surroundings. There’s also an awesome water play area!

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

The new playspace is inspired by local creeks, wetlands, marshes, reed beds and animals in their natural habitat. In particular the design reflects how water can affect the landscape, life cycle of animals and their habitats. There are thoughtful references to the Gang-gang Cockatoo, the Helmeted Honeyeater and platypus.

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

There’s enough equipment for kids little and not-so-little, though it probably suits older kids rather than babies.

It shares many common elements with the award-winning Valley Reserve playspace in Mt Waverley which was created by the same designers (Melbourne-based firm Playce).  

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

Little kids will enjoy the accessible carousel, small climbing ropes, fort and slides, the bank of swings…

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

…a small stream with water pumps and dams…

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

….and a sandy area with the climbing platypus sculpture.

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

The sand play area also includes bowls and ridges carved into large rocks and logs to encourage kids to mix and play with sand and water.

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

Older kids will love clambering on the high fort with twisty slide…

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

 dual flying fox…

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

….the nest swing…

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

…and high monkey bars.

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

There are even wooden posts for parkour.

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

All kids will love the new splash pad!

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

The splash pad is open 8am-9pm daily, and every year will operate from the start of the Term 3 school holidays and close at the end of Term 1 holidays. In 2017 given the water play area has just opened the splash pad will be open until Sunday 30 April.

Lillydale Lake Playspace Lilydale

Accessible elements include a flying fox with an accessible seat, the spinner/carousel, the main water play area with water jets and Liberty Swing.

Facilities include new shelters, shaded and non-shaded seating, barbecues and public toilets (though a little further away). There are lots of free parking and bike/walking paths around the lake.

I think Lillydale Lake Playspace is a great improvement on the previous run-of-the-mill (though extensive) playground, full of adventurous and natural elements. It’s worth a drive as you can enjoy the rest of Lillydale Lake during your visit.

During the opening week of the playground sculpture artist Clare James will host a nature inspired sculptural workshop in the Lillydale Lake Playspace 19 – 23 April.

 

Click here for more free water play in Melbourne.

Click here for the best playgrounds for older kids. 

Click here for more things to do with kids in the Yarra Valley.


HOT Tips:

  • Suitable for toddlers;
  • Suitable for older kids;
  • Some natural shade;
  • Water tap;
  • Water play – bring bathers and a towel;
  • Splash Pad is open 8am-9pm daily, and every year will operate from the start of the Term 3 school holidays and close at the end of Term 1 holidays. In 2017 given the water play area has just opened the splash pad will be open until Sunday 30 April.
  • BBQ and picnic facilities;
  • toilet block is a small walk away;
  • Walking paths throughout Lillydale Lake; and
  • Free parking.

Lillydale Lake Playspace, 435 Swansea Road, Lilydale

 

The HOT List: Top 15 Free Events for Nature Play Week 2017

Nature Play Week is an annual national program by Kids In Nature Network that celebrates events and initiatives that reconnect kids with nature and the outdoors.

This year Nature Play Week runs from Wednesday 12 April to Sunday 23 April, with a launch event at Wombat Bend Templestowe on Wednesday 12 April.

Here are my pick of the Top 15 FREE events for Nature Play Week in Melbourne and surrounds.

  1. Nature Play Week 2017 launch event

April 12, 2017 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Wombat Bend Playspace, Finns Reserve, Duncan St, Templestowe Lower

Join Kids In Nature Network and Manningham City Council, partners and friends for the launch event of Nature Play Week 2017. Then build a cubby, create nature craft and explore Wombat Bend Playspace and the beautiful Yarra River environment with our entertaining nature detectives.

 

2. Sand Play and Stick Cubby Making

April 12, 2017 – April 23, 2017

Edendale Farm, 30 Gastons Rd Eltham + Google Map

Children can enjoy free play in our sand play area with natural or nature-based play equipment.

 

  1. The Werribee George Circuit Hike

April 12, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Werribee Gorge State Park, Myers Rd Pentilands Hills + Google Map

This is a hike for parents to take their children out and about.

 

  1. Garden Sensory Safari

April 12, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 10:45 am

Port Phillip EcoCentre, 55A Blessington Street St Kilda + Google Map

Are you ready for a safari through St Kilda Botanical Gardens that will use your senses?

 

  1. Bug encounters school holiday workshop

April 12, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Currawong Bush Park, 277 Reynolds Road Doncaster + Google Map

This wonderful hands-on workshop is designed to introduce children to a range of Australian insects and arachnids.

McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, 390 McClelland Drive, Langwarrin

  1. Bush Textiles

April 12, 2017 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm, Monday 17 April; 1pm-2pm

McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery, 390 McClelland Drive, Langwarrin + Google Map

Gather twigs, sticks and branches in the McClelland Sculpture Park and make a traditional back-strap loom.

 

  1. Bug Detectives Nature Play

April 13, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am, 12:00pm-1:30pm

Pipemakers Park, Van Ness Ave, Maribyrnong  + Google Map

The nature play workshop will include an interactive talk about the plants and animals of the river and bushland areas.

  1. Newport Lakes Bush Kids

April 16, 2017 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am, April 23, 2017 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Newport Lakes, Newport 3015 + Google Map

Multi aged nature based playgroup encouraging getting dirty, muddy and playing outside in all weather conditions.

 

  1. Nature Play at Yarran Dheran

April 18, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 10:45 am

Yarran Dheran Reserve, Ashburton Dr, Mitcham 3132 + Google Map

Pre-schoolers are invited to explore nature’s own playground at Yarran Dheran Bush Reserve.

 

  1. Yarralea Bush Playgroup- Bring a friend

April 21, 2017 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am

Darebin Parklands, Darebin Parklands, Separation Street VIC 3078 Australia + Google Map

Families are invited to bring a friend to Bush Playgroup

Children's Garden Royal Botanic Gardens

  1. Nature Play Day

April 21, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne + Google Map

Come and play with us during Nature Play Week with free activities offered in the Children’s Garden and across the wider Melbourne Gardens.

 

  1. Celebrate nature play week at the magic circle

April 21, 2017 @ 10:30 am – 1:30 pm

Merri Creek Northcote, Corner of Winifred Street and Sutch Street, Northcote + Google Map

Merri Bush Playgroup is an all-weather outdoor playgroup for preschoolers, meeting in various locations along the Merri Creek.

 

  1. Who lays eggs? Egg hunt with a difference

April 22, 2017 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Wally Tew Reserve Ferntree Gully, Lyndale Ct, Ferntree Gully  + Google Map

Kids wander around looking for egg carton stations and each egg carton has a picture of an animal on it. They decide if that animal lays eggs. BYO picnic afterwards

 

  1. Wild Families Launch Event

April 23, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Yarra Bend Park, Fairfield

Is your family a little bit wild? The Victorian National Parks Association is ready to launch the Wild Families program.

 

  1. Teddy Bear’s Picnic

April 26, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Alex Wilkie Nature Reserve, Mackay St, Springvale South, Victoria 3171 Australia + Google Map

Join us for a special Teddy Bear’s Picnic in the open woodland of Alex Wilkie Nature Reserve.


Click here for the full calendar of events

 

HOT: TunzaFun Xtreme, Shop 2205B Knox Ozone, Westfield Knox Shopping Centre 425 Burwood Hwy, Wantirna South + Giveaway!

TunzaFun Xtreme

Need to get out of the house? Kids climbing the walls and driving you crazy?

TunzaFun Xtreme

Then take them to climb fun walls at TunzaFun Xtreme at Westfield Knox Wantirna South.

TunzaFun Xtreme is an indoor play centre with climbing walls, games arcade and dodgem car track, It’s located in the ‘Ozone’ entertainment precinct outside the main shopping centre building. We are invited to visit so I take Baby 2.0 on a wet weekday.

The climbing area has a padded floor and contains 34 climbing challenges for kids 4+ years plus a free fall vertical slide and jump. The matting is designed to absorb falls of up to 12 metres height and the climbing walls are only 9 metres high.

TunzaFun Xtreme

Children 6+ years can also try the more daring ‘Discover’ ropes climb with slack lines and trapezes slung 10m high.

TunzaFun Xtreme

Each climb session goes for 1 hour, with a 15 minute safety briefing beforehand where climbers put on their safety harnesses and are told how to be safe in the area.

TunzaFun Xtreme

Adults are not allowed into the space (unless they are climbing too) as there are staff on hand to guide and supervise the kids. 

TunzaFun Xtreme

When it’s quiet (eg school term weekdays) then staff can give kids one on one attention.

TunzaFun Xtreme

Inside the climbing arena there are walls of varying levels of difficulty.

TunzaFun Xtreme

Baby 2.0 slowly gains confidence and I can see us returning as his limbs get stronger and longer, as he loves climbing then slowly dropping on the rope.

TunzaFun Xtreme

He even has a go on the vertical drop but finds it quite frightening as he gets hoisted up there. I can’t stop laughing…so I’m forced to go next! Oh my, that slide is NOT for the faint-hearted!

TunzaFun Xtreme

After the climbing we explore the arcade games. Most of them require gross motor skills like throwing, kicking or hitting.


TunzaFun Xtreme

There’s only one shoot-em-up computer game involving dinosaurs which Baby 2.0 loves but it is very violent and M rated. To pay for the games you buy wristbands with tap-and-go credit (like a Myki) and most games are $1 or $2.

TunzaFun Xtreme

Leave $6 on your wristband if you want to ride the dodgem cars. They’re touted as being the best Dodgem Drift Cars imported from Italy – but I can’t really tell the difference.

TunzaFun Xtreme

After each game you receive a run of paper tickets and how many you receive depends on how successful you’ve been. At the end you can redeem the tickets for a toy at the front counter. There are also drinks and snacks there if you need a break.

For Easter TunzaFun Xtreme are running a few special events. Click here for all Easter events in Melbourne.

Click here for more indoor places to go with kids.


HOT Tips:

  • Suitable for 4+ years;
  • Discover high ropes for 6+ years;
  • 1 hour sessions + 15 minute safety briefing beforehand;
  • Wear comfortable clothes and sports type shoes;
  • need to be at least 1 metre tall to drive otherwise drive with a buddy;
  • Birthday party packages available;
  • BYO food or cafe on site;
  • Bring a water bottle to fill up at water tap; and
  • Free limited parking; and
  • Book ahead for sessions during weekends and school holidays.

TunzaFun Xtreme, Shop 2205B Knox Ozone, Westfield Knox Shopping Centre,Opn  425 Burwood Hwy, Wantirna South

Mon-Thu: 10am – 9pm

Fri: 10am – 10pm

Sat: 9am – 10pm

Sun: 9am – 9pm

Climbing $18.50 per person for approx 1 hour climb plus 15 minute briefing

Discover Ropes Course $12.50 per person for approx 30 mins

Dodgem Drift Car $6 per car

Value Packs available

Every Wednesday 4pm-9pm enjoy UNLIMITED Climb, Discover and Dodgem Drift Cars PLUS $10 of arcade credit for $25.


Giveaway!

Thanks to TunzaFun Xtreme I have 2 x Xtreme packs (valued at $50 each) for climbing, drive, arcades.

To win all you have to do is follow the instructions below. Competition closes midnight Monday 24 April and winners will be emailed within 24 hours. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

HOT: Brickman ‘Wonders of the World’ Lego Exhibition, Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson St, Carlton

lego exhibition melbourne museum

Brickman ‘Wonders of the World’ is an interactive LEGO® exhibition featuring famous landmarks, both current and historical. It’s now on show at Melbourne Museum daily in the Touring Hall until Sunday 7 May.

lego exhibition melbourne museum

lego exhibition melbourne museum

The exhibition presents 50 models of iconic places such as the Empire State Building, Arc De Triomphe and Big Ben, along with information plaques about the history of each place and how it was built using LEGO®.

lego exhibition melbourne museum

lego exhibition melbourne museum

Many of the displays have cutaway mid-sections where you’ll discover all the amazing (and sometimes humorous) details.

lego exhibition melbourne museum

lego exhibition melbourne museum

Some of the attractions have building zones as well so that kids who are inspired by the models can build their own creations.

lego exhibition melbourne museum

Baby 2.0 is very proud of his Egyptian pyramid (done with some help).

lego exhibition melbourne museum

The tickets are timed and we spend about 90 minutes inside, with the kids spending most of the time building.

lego exhibition melbourne museum

Brickman ‘Wonders of the World’ is a must-do if you have Lego fans though it is not cheap at almost $100 for a family ticket. As such I recommend taking kids aged 3+ years who are capable of managing standard Lego bricks. The only display which has Duplo play is the Golden Gate Bridge. Also make a day of it by visiting the rest of Melbourne Museum, particularly the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery.

lego exhibition melbourne museum

The exhibition opens daily in the Touring Hall from 10.00am. Closing times vary, please check preferred date on the Ticketek website for last entry.


HOT Tips:

  • suitable for children 3+ years
  • tickets have timed entry, buy in advance and print out tickets to save time;
  • expect to spend approx 90 minutes; and
  • make a day of it by visiting the rest of Melbourne Museum, particularly the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery.

Brickman ‘Wonders of the World’ Lego Exhibition, Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson St, Carlton

Sat 1 April – Sun 7 May

Daily 10-5pm

Tickets from $20, family ticket (2 adult 2 children) $95

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