Nature’s Playground at the Adelaide Zoo – Review
Adelaide Zoo is one of our favourite Play and Go places to visit, and for kids there’s also the fabulous Nature’s Playground to enjoy too.
As you enter the Zoo, the Nature’s Playground is only a short walk from the entrance – just head to the left towards the Reptile House. The first impression is really ‘WOW’ and the kids couldn’t wait to play and explore everything on offer.
The playground looks great, nearly all made of wood, blending beautifully in its surroundings. And as the plants around the play equipment become more established, the playground really will become one with nature.
The biggest structure in the playground is an aerial walkway that provides views across to the Adelaide Oval, the city and across the zoo.
Accessible Canopy Walkway
The canopy walkway is easily accessible for people of all ages and abilities as there is a lift at one end, meaning that wheelchairs and strollers and those less physically able are all able to enjoy the view.
There are many ways up for the kids too, climbing up rope ladders in several locations around the walkway. Parents can easily climb up using the staircase next to the lifts too. And getting down again is heaps of fun via the spiral slide from the top level.
Opportunities for Imaginative Play
The playground is based on the theme of taking children back to simple imaginative play and there are certainly plenty of opportunities for that here.
Near to the entrance of the playground, a small creek has been developed. It has only been filled with water for a couple of weeks and already there are tadpoles to be seen swimming around. It’s a great chance for kids to really get up close and get their hands wet. As the creek dwelling creatures move in, it will be perfect for a spot of pond-dipping too!
Create Your Own Cubby
On the far side of the park there is the opportunity for the kids to build a fort out of branches. There is a metal framework and lots of leafy branches to create your own cubby. When we arrived there was one already built but our kids delighted in taking it completely to pieces and rebuilding it in their own style.
This activity encouraged creative play, and team work, as other kids joined in the fun. It kept them busy for ages, giving the adults a chance of a sit down on the bench next to it to enjoy a take out coffee from the adjacent Wisteria Cafe.
Opportunities for Climbing
In the Nature’s Playground there are masses of opportunities for climbing. Aside from the main walkway structure you’ll find another large area of ropes to climb up, over, under and around and next to that is an area with chunky wooden poles to scale.
They vary from 50cm tall right up to more than 2m and our children got more and more adventurous the more they practiced. By the end they were climbing right to the top of the tallest one and jumping off!
Activities for Smaller Children
There is plenty to keep the smaller children entertained too. Set into the ground are three round trampolines that are easily accessible for everyone as well as a smaller slide.
Much of the play equipment is surrounded by sandpit, meaning that even if the little ones aren’t using the equipment, they will be very happy pottering about in the sand.
Keep this in mind when dressing your kids for a visit as they will get sandy, and also consider bringing along some sand toys.
Next to the sandpit area there are buttons to press for water jets to shoot up. I can imagine on a hot day the combination of sand and water would lead to a lot of messy fun.
It is probably worth bringing a change of clothes for the kids in case they get really stuck in!
Facilities and Shade
Adelaide Zoo have thought of everything by building a brand new amenities block right next to the playground.
There is a fabulous Parents Room, with lots of room for buggies and change tables as well as two private areas for breast feeding. Next to this Parents Room are two large wheelchair friendly unisex toilets – the perfect size when you are having to visit with a few kids in tow!
There is also a large undercover seating area – lots of tables and chairs are provided to enjoy your picnic in the shade. This shaded function area can be booked out for birthday parties as well.
Nature’s Playground is an all Inclusive Playground
Nature’s Playground is a joint venture between Zoos SA and the iconic, not-for-profit Variety SA to create an all inclusive playground at Adelaide Zoo. The development has been designed to cater for children of all ages, abilities and needs.
Whilst we visited with our children aged from 6 to 10 who all love climbing, it was easy to see how well thought out the park was for younger children and those less physically able.
Free entry to Nature’s Playground with your entry ticket to the Zoo
Entry to the playground is included with your entry ticket to the Zoo, making it a really fabulous value for money day out. In fact you’ll need to really make sure you’re there for the whole day to see everything, it took us more than two hours to extract the kids from the playground before we even thought of visiting an animal or two!
And if you have an Annual Pass it’s even better, with the playground so close to the Zoo entrance, it would be super easy to pop in for an hour or two just to use the playground. With coffee and food available right next to the playground, it’s a great place for a catch up with family and friends.
Other features include:
- A big blackboard wall where children are welcome to draw on (bring along some chalk in case there isn’t any available).
- Animal visit – each day at 11am and 1.45pm the zoo keepers bring along some little animals onto the grassy area adjacent, for a little talk and play.
- On hot days there is a water mist that sprays from under the aerial walkway to keep you cool.
Final thoughts on Nature’s Playground
Adelaide Zoo was already a great day out, but the addition of the Nature’s Playground really tops it off!
For more information and all enquiries please visit the Adelaide Zoo website.
What: Nature’s Playground at Adelaide Zoo
When: Open daily during Zoo opening hours | 9.30am to 5pm
Where: Adelaide Zoo | Frome Road | Adelaide
All photos are by Play & Go unless otherwise indicated. Photos provided by Adelaide Zoo are by Dave Mattner.
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.
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