The new Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden at Centennial Park was developed to encourage children to connect with nature in an era when kids have fewer opportunities to explore the outdoors and nature and play in unstructured ways. With winding paths, tunnels and dense vegetation, Wild Play allows children to get wet, to get sandy, to get dirty – to immerse themselves in creative nature play. Quite simply, this garden is wonderful!
Suitable for children from two to 12 years of all abilities, the 6000-square-metre Wild Play garden has an appealing range of natural and built features, including an Artesian water play area, a tree house, a giant slide, dry creek beds, a bamboo forest, a palm grove, tunnels, mounds and a dedicated area for lessons.
The Artesian water play area is the main drawcard for many, but look beyond this, and there is so much to engage your little explorers and thrillseekers alike. On the day we visited, our children loved the treehouse and giant slide, as well as running amongst the lush vegetation, balancing on wooden logs and beams and investigating the various meandering paths and tunnels.
Wild Play is fully fenced but of course parental supervision is required at all times. Well-established trees provide ample shade in many parts of the garden. Much of it is unshaded, so be sure to bring your hats and suncream. For your visit, you’ll also need swimmers, towels and a change of clothing. Insect repellent is a good idea also.
Wild Play is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily and entrance is free. As one of the most exciting and distinctive play experiences in Sydney right now, the garden does get very busy, particularly at the weekends and during holidays. We suggest avoiding peak times and arriving earlier or later in the day if possible.
A mobile kiosk, Bar Coco, is situated towards the bottom end of the garden, near the gathering circle and Discovery Centre. The kiosk offers a selection of refreshments, such as coffee, cool beverages, snacks and gelato. It operates from 10 am to 5 pm each day, i.e., the same opening hours as Wild Play. An amenities block can also be accessed from the garden.
Wild Play is located within the Education Precinct of Centennial Parklands, adjacent to the Discovery/Learning Centre, just off Grand Drive. You’ll find a map here.
Artesian water play photograph © Sam Hayes, all other photos © Ginny Grant
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