HOT: Carlton Gardens, Carlton
One of the biggest playgrounds in the City of Melbourne is right near one of our favourite kid-friendly Melbourne sites – the Melbourne Museum. The Carlton Gardens playground is also handy for the World Heritage listed tourist attraction Royal Exhibition Building and surrounding Carlton Gardens (and the CBD) making it a great place to stop if you're a kid-toting tourist.
It is wide-spreading and unfenced and is loosely based on a traditional labyrinth, a reference to the Victorian history of the site. The bright colours reflect the exterior patchwork wall of nearby Melbourne Museum.
The series of low concrete walls have holes, tunnels and slides cut into them, making them great fun for hiding and exploring.
The ground undulates gently and paths run through the maze, with a wooden deck in the middle that hides musical bells that chime when you step on them.
Bigger kids will enjoy the two tall towers housing slides, monkey bars, fireman's pole, ladders and a climbing wall. Just note in after school the playground becomes very busy with kids pouring out from the primary school across Rathdowne Street, so Lady AB was a little bowled over by all the action.
On the higher ground is more traditional playground equipment suitable for toddlers with toddler swings, a cubby house with a slide, sandpit, a climbing frame and seesaw. The great thing about this equipment was that Lady AB could access the slide herself by racing up the sloping path so she happily looped round and round for quite some time.
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Next to this is yet another play area (more suitable for older kids) with bars, flying fox and more swings.
The playground is set amongst some large Moreton Bay figs and is actually quite well hidden from the Nicholson St side of the park. Even if you never make it to the playground there's lots of space to run and explore!
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