The iconic 90s water park sits abandoned by the river
Back in the pre-21st century era, when parents took responsibility for their kids and a play station was a carboard box, Perth had a lot of fun little playgrounds around the suburbs. Unfortunately many of these playgrounds fell victim to lawyer happy parents and boring changes to occupational health and safety laws, as well as mollycoddling and the video game generation. Many parks adapted to become more "child friendly", such as the Kings Park playgrounds which used to be wooden, while many more cut their losses and shut up shop.
The main feature of the park - a very fun OHS disaster waiting to happen
The best example, and one that most kids growing up in the 90s will remember, is the Ascot Water Playground. For a gold coin donation kids could literally spend all day running around the many different pools, slides, streams and water features within the riverside compound. It was a very open, very inviting environment that just can't be matched today.
Unfortunately prudent OHS laws as well as new river runoff laws forced the popular kids attraction to shut down in 2002. Since then it has been sitting unloved and unused, slowly being retaken by nature. I can see why it was shut down - the slippery concrete floors and complete lack of guard railing on elevated surfaces would give most 21st century parents a heart attack.
Unlike many abandoned structures, the park itself is still largely intact and you can still get a very good idea of what it used to look like. The slides have been removed and it is largely covered in graffiti and algae, but the basic structures are still very recognizable.
The cafe is still standing, and amazingly the chalkboard menu still has writing on it! I was very surprised to find that thick shakes were only $2.60. You can still make out the mini putt putt course and the little yellow hut that held the putters and balls is still bright yellow.
The man made river running from the top pool to the main pool
The streams running from the top wading pools and the main water feature are still running down to the main pool. The main pool itself now looks more like a swamp. Inside the concrete walls is a sickly green water with a few vegetated islands and resident ducks.
Like Atlantis Marine Park, it is technically trespassing walking around here. But also like Atlantis, no one really minds as long as you are respectful and not causing further damage to the place. Both places are true, irreplaceable gems of the previous era.
So while you can no longer have a nice swim here (unless you fancy green water) Ascot is an amazing place for photography and great if you're into the history of Perth or just exploring its little known secrets.
If you want to have a nostalgia trip or see what the playground used to look like, the Belmont city library has some photos lying around in store and online (type Ascot Water Park in the keyword search bar).
It really does make you appreciate growing up pre-21st century when you see what kids these days will never get to experience. It's also quite sad knowing we were the end of an era, that the freedom of places such as Ascot will possibly never be replicated again thanks to the increasingly protective world we live in.
i spent my childhood there, whether it was with the family for a late afternoon bbq arund by the waterfalls, or during the heat of the day, running back and forwards from nanas house with my cousins and siblings down in the big pool on the tubes, and it was just a coin donation at the gate to get in. i still drive past it regularly and think what a shame it closed down. its exactly the kind of place id love to take my kids and show them all the things i remember from my childhood. my heart skips a beat everytime i see it :(
I loved that place! I grew up there with all my cousins and extended family. I split my chin open when diving into one of the pools, still have the scar today, but I got out of the water got some first aid and was back in the water as soon as my parents would let me! As a kid you're going to get bumps and bruises, being wrapped in cotton wool doesn't help you grow up at all!
As for these money hungry people who sue others at a drop of a hat, thanks heaps for ruining such an amazing weekly experience for future generations!
I'd take my kids there if it opened again, it was a kids paradise.
what a waste kids are still kids if this place was up and running today the kids would love it it just needs a bit of tlc , imagination and safety standards this is what they need to get them away from the computer games parents need to take responsability too. what is the council thinking? what a waste
IT IS AGAIST THE LAW TO ENTER THIS PREMISES YOU CAN BE ARRESTED IF YOU ARE CAUGHT AND ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. This property belongs to its local council and you MUST get written permission from them first!
I was someone who took her son their all the time. It made me sad to see the state it is in now. If happy energy can imbue a place then that spot should be glowing. My boy and his friends had so much fun there on many a hot summers day. To this day our friends still chat about our happy times there. Thank you for this article. You are right. The "get a lawyer-my child got a scratch" brigade have ruined things like this for us all. There were a few changes that were needed for safety purposes I agree but mostly with parental supervision/interaction it was fine. I wonder if anyone knows what the "injury" profile was for this place. Nothing tragic I hope.
What a shame that the people made it so hard for their children to come this park. Totally agree that there are parents that don't supervise their children...there is an easy answer to that one then they don't get to take their children to the park..!!
It is a shame that the park was allowed to become rundown. it just looks like something that I used to go to when I was a child and we always had so much fun. There was no ipads,computers wifit or nintendos you just played and it was great
Today I visited the Abandoned Ascot Water Park. I walked around the perimeter of the Park, because the park is permantely closed, the gates are now padlocked. Some features of the park can still be seen from behind the tall iron fence.
When I was 10, I met this chubby little boy who decided he was going to push in front of me for the slide. We ended up arguing all day, everywhere I played so did he. Well, I married the same boy 19yrs later and have been married for 14 yrs now. On our first meeting, we spoke about the places we hung out and he said AWPG and once it was on. Thank you Ascot Water Playground without you I wouldn't have met my husband.
Another awesome glimpse into my past Tom, well done.
As well as the trek down nostalgia lane, I think it's nice that someone is reminding us of what being a kid used to be like, and yes it was slippery and had no guard rails, but we all survived. My parents wouldn't have dreamed of suing if we had an accident as kids.
But by the same token, I have unfortunately been cursed by the fear of modern parents, and would in all likelihood have a heart attack if I saw my kids doing what I did as a kid
When are you going to Dizzy Lamb Park?
I remember going there on a school trip when I was 8 or 9. Lots of fun, but I remember a child in our group injuring their hand on a sharp part on one of the slides. I was too young to view the place as an adult would, but I recall my Mum saying that the place was unkempt and needed to be fixed (generally simple things) for safety reasons. She always kept a close eye on me (I have a fantastic Mother), but unsafe is unsafe. It wasn't beyond repair.
My sisters and I spent every summer here. Its was amazing we would spend the whole day running around, swimming, sliding, laughing and just going crazy. So many great memories, really appreciate that I had a place like Ascot Water Park to grow up and experience when I was young. It was a great family place to be, fun for everyone including the parents. Breaks my heart to see it run down like this. Wish there was a way to restore it and make it more friendly for todays kids.
When my grandchidren were growing up and we were living in Belmont we had many enjoyable trips to the Ascot water play ground.Quite often on a Sundy afternoon when the kids came over,we said "LET US GO TO ASCOT",we had often a barbecue there and the grand children were allowed to buy an ice cream at the shop
Happy memories Clare13@three.com.au.
Tom I don't think it's prudent OHS laws that closed this place but rather as you said lawyer friendly parents, the ones who don't supervise their kids, don't teach their kids and when they get hurt they try make money out of some one and blame some one else.
The counsils have no option than to "save" themselves by implementing laws and rules.
I blame parents!
I loved the Ascot Water Playground !!! I use to go their with my cousins and run around all day. Of course in the those days late 1980's/early 1990s kids could do what they liked there. For a gold coin donation and a bring your own drinks/lunch. What a cheap day out.
From memory once you went through the metal entrance gates and metal post that said gold coin donation - on the right were all the wooden play structures and climbing frames. Next to that was a big pool connected to a smaller pool via three " canal " like passages that had " gates" or shutters you had to move to progress through the canal, to one or other of the pools. On the left side of the water playground was a "small kids" pool. Next to that was a " kids only pool" which had the fastest water slides I had ever seen. My cousin and I use to race other kids down these two slides.
In the middle of Ascot water playground was a strange concrete structure that todays Occupational Health and Safety people would have a heart attack at. The only way I can describe would be as an " above ground bunker" type structure that had a permanent waterfall running through it. By this I mean kids could climb up a metal climbing frame through the middle up to the top level with water gushing down. Once you had climber up the climbing frame you could then run and slide down the slide into a smallish pool and start all over again.
The kiosk was towards the river end of the park. Down the very bottom at the water park, closet to the river was a pool that you could hire giant rubber tyres to float on. Also I remember a permanent stream that ran down one side of the park, that had mini waterfalls at each drop in ground level. What a place. SOMEONE BUILD A NEW ASCOT WATERPLAYGROUND. I would take my kids there when I get married and ever have any. Amy x
When I was young my entire family would gather at Ascot every year. We had soooo much fun there and I have heaps of happy memories. Can't find anything these days where you can enter for a gold coin. I remember they had the round tubes you could sit in for the main pool but they were hard to get a hold of cause all the kids wanted one. As a parent now though I would be sick to my stomach watching my son play on everything because one slip on the wet surfaces and your falling on really hard concrete. I remember being wary even as a child playing there. Would be great if someone took the time to do the place up and make it safe because they would be guaranteed a successful business.
It's so sad that Ascot closed down. I used to love coming here with my family as a teenager and I am disappointed I will never get to take my kids. Parents mollycoddling their kids has definitely seen so many great places close down 😔