Heywood Park Ninja Obstacle Course – A Playground for Older Kids | Review

Heywood Park Adelaide Ninja Playground

Heywood Park Mini Ninja Playspace Review

A unique playground designed for older kids which offers challenging fun.

Heywood Park’s new Ninja Playspace which opened on 26 September 2019 is an obstacle course specifically designed for older kids around 10 to 14 years of age. The idea for the Ninja obstacle course came from local resident Rebecca and her two daughters Ella and Halle, who had outgrown the typical playgrounds. They were keen for a playground which was challenging and cool for older kids, so they rallied the support of 200 residents and helped the City of Unley receive $150,000 from the State Government’s Fund My Neighbourhood initiative.

The new playspace is located in the north eastern corner of Heywood Park, right beside the existing playground and complements it well with the use of timber. The design includes new pathways, plantings, rock boulders and nature play components. The obstacle course aims to not only cater for ‘tweens’ but provide a fitness-based outdoor activity in a beautiful location. The use of natural materials means it blends in well with its surroundings.

Heywood Park has BBQ facilities, picnic benches, toilets, and the established trees offer plenty of shade.

See our video below to take a look around.

Just to clarify, the Mini Ninja Course is not a course for ”Mini Ninjas” – rather, it’s a mini course for older Ninja kids.

Heywood Park Adelaide Ninja Playground

Heywood Park Adelaide Ninja Playground

Heywood Park Ninja Obstacle Course Review

Look for the ”START” sign on the wooden log then leap, climb, balance, swing, jump and push yourself through the challenges.

The obstacle course offers logs to jump across, some parkour aspects for climbing and balancing, nets to climb up and bars to swing across. Our 10 and 11 year old kids were able to do most of the challenges except the straight monkey bars. There is one with the circular straps that they could reach but the traditional monkey bars are very high off the ground and do not have steps for reaching so were beyond the reach for these kids. As a short adult I had no hope of reaching either.

Why this playground is not for toddlers

I overheard a grandmother with a toddler in the playspace remark that “the problem was, all the older kids would come through and could bowl him over”. This really is not a play area for toddlers. There is an area next to the obstacle course for little ones (scroll down further for pics) and there are plenty of playgrounds designed for younger children. This one is a unique space for older kids so let’s give them the opportunity to use it without having to dodge toddlers.

While many younger kids will be keen to have a go, please be aware that the course has been designed for older kids with longer arms and legs. Therefore the spacing between elements of the playground is far apart enough to offer a challenge to tweens. This means that for younger kids the reach is beyond them for some aspects. Also bear in mind that a younger child, say a 5 year old, will generally just not have the necessary co-ordination and strength yet to be able to tackle some of the obstacles, and this may lead to falls and injuries.

The equipment is mainly made of timber – there’s no padding here so expect some scrapes and bruises. Anyone who has had a kid determined to tackle monkey bars for example (or remember doing this themselves as a child) knows that sometimes there’s no gain without some pain – remember all the blisters when working on getting all the way across the monkey bars? It’s a rite of passage for children. I remember my daughter proudly showed off her blisters when she rocked the monkey bars.

Pictured above and below are 10 and 11 year olds reaching out from one log pole to another. This was quite challenging for them and would be beyond the reach for younger children. Older kids will enjoy working out different ways of getting across the poles from one end to the other.

Also beside the playground, look out for the old hollow tree trunk which is a favourite for climbing up.

The park has beautiful huge old shady trees which offer nature play exploring and climbing too plus plenty of grassy area for running around and kicking a ball.

The existing playground which is right beside the new obstacle course, has always been a fabulous play space with its own many challenges. While it’s quite old now it has stood the test of time and is still fabulous for wall climbing, sliding, swinging, monkey bars and has an old style metal flying fox. This area offers a great play space for 4 to 12 year olds.

Heywood Park playground

Over the other side, nearer to the car park is the toddler area with a cubby treehouse, climbing ropes, slide and shop front. There are swings here and springy things too.

Be aware that the playground is not fenced, however Addiscombe Place where there is parking, is a no through road and Grove Street along the other side is a humped 20km/hr and the Unley area is a 40km/hr zone.

Near the entrance of the park on Addiscombe Place is an Unley Libraries Book Nook where there is a book exchange. Take a book and leave a book here to share with others.

Heywood Park Smart Technology

Further funding from the Federal Government Smart Cities and Suburbs grant of $240,000 was matched by Unley Council. This will allow smart technology to be installed as part of the project including an electric car charging station, predictive lighting, apps to help people check the availability of car parking and barbecues, and technology to notify the Council when bins need to be emptied, and to minimise and monitor water usage. Also to be installed are environmental sensors, pedestrian counters and digital information kiosks. In addition, the project will see new park furniture, paving and lighting installed.

What we like about Heywood Park

  • A unique playspace that offers a challenging and interesting ninja obstacle course for older kids 10 to 14 years of age and adults will find it a great workout too.
  • The existing playgrounds cater for younger children too.
  • The equipment offers great exercise, encouraging outdoor active fun and is challenging both physically and mentally.
  • Heywood Park is a beautiful established park with plenty of tall trees offering shade, and grassy areas.
  • There are toilets and bbq facilities so it’s a great park for a picnic and catch up with friends.
  • King William Road is a short distance away and you will find many cafes and coffee options here.

Things to consider

  • While Heywood Park does have many tall trees offering shade the actual Ninja obstacle course is not shaded so always consider sun protection.
  • It is not fully fenced but as mentioned above the streets enclosing the playground are at slow speed. Toddlers and ”runners” do need to be supervised as the toddler playspace is right beside the car parking area.
  • Toilets are not right beside the playground – they are a little walk across the grass.
  • The playground is mainly made of timber and the ground is bark and sand. Be aware that with challenging equipment like this there is likely to be bruises and scrapes so take band-aids just in case. Please don’t let this stop your kids from having a go. This is not a place for cotton wool parenting.
  • There is free car parking along Addiscombe Place but can get full quickly when it’s busy. You may need to find parking on nearby streets – just be aware of parking signs and restrictions to avoid getting a parking fine.

Click here for all the Best Playgrounds for Toddlers

See our Top Parks & Playgrounds Around Adelaide here.

For more information and all enquiries please visit the City of Unley website.

What:   Heywood Park Mini Ninja Playspace for Tweens Review

When:   Open from 26 September 2019

Where:   Heywood Park | Addiscombe Place, Unley Park | Map

Who:   Ages 10-14 years

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: All photos by Play & Go Adelaide


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