You may have read me post before about “pop-up adventure playgrounds” but I had never actually been to a “proper” adventure playground before. I don’t know of any that exist in Sydney, but there’s one in St Kilda that had been on my radar for years and we finally got to go check it out.
Not to be confused, of course, with the other park in St Kilda – Luna Park. We stopped in there too, just for one ride (Luella’s first mini roller coaster), some carnival games, and snow cones.
Adventure playgrounds are in my opinion, way more exciting (especially if you’ve got a weak stomach like me). Our first stop was to the giant in-ground trampoline.
The park provides a bit of historical context. If you can’t read the framed photo below, the TL;DR version is that adventure playgrounda began in post-war Denmark, the first in 1943 with the philosophy “Children are themselves the creators”.
Another sign indicates that the St Kilda playground operated much the same way, as a “junk” playground with kids building their own play spaces out of crates, etc. up until the 1990s (when presumably safety standards began being enforced). Although it no longer has the same completely-kid led philosophy, it is very much community-driven, with a “playground charter” and suggestion box – errr… kangaroo.
There’s a small library garden and communal kitchen area as well as a covered space for making art. There appeared to be some type of supervised school holiday program on while we were there, however the playground was still open to the public while it was running. And there are bathrooms onsite.
The playground structures are obviously built by adults, however they’re all wooden, painted in bright colours and clearly maintain some of the aesthetic of the original concept, with some vestiges of the post-war era.
Luella spent most of her time in the shaded sandpit as it was a very hot day when we went, so I feel like we didn’t get to explore the true potential of this kind of playspace.
The whole space is fenced in, so you’d feel comfortable and happy letting your kids run off and play with friends or siblings for hours. It’s a great springboard for creating imaginary worlds and dreaming up games and characters.
The playground is managed by the City of Port Phillip which has details on its address and opening hours. Definitely one to check out (and be slightly jealous of from afar!)