Playgrounds have changed a heck of a lot in recent years and Canberra has its fair share of amazing ones which are well known. But if you're looking for somewhere new that the kids can go wild, a relatively new kid on the playground block is AdventureLand within the National Zoo and Aquarium. Opened in January 2019, this playground's point of difference is that it's not just somewhere to swing and slide but also a discovery trail. What exactly does that mean? Basically, there is a range of nature-based extras around the park, including sculptures of animals, footprints and informative interactive areas within cubbies and tree houses.
There are over 50 activities including a flying fox and a lot of balancing and climbing options in amongst the usual swings and slides. There are a small, medium and large treehouses to cater to different ages and bravery levels and each one is awesome (even if you're a big kid like me!). The biggest one has a tower which overlooks some animal enclosures and a three-metre high slide which you definitely don't get at many parks. The activities are suitable for kids aged 2 - 12.
This park is impeccably landscaped and the equipment is mostly wood and rope, which gives it a really nice aesthetic. A couple more pluses – there are a lot of seating areas for parents and carers scattered around the play areas and just beside AdventureLand, there is a café and free BBQ area. The location right near the café and BBQs means lunchtime at the park is peak hour and it can get a little crowded. If you can, time your visit for first thing in the morning (especially if entering via the top carpark, which is right near the playground) or later in the day to ensure you get to try everything out.
The downside of this playground is that it's going to cost you a pretty penny to visit but if you're at the zoo anyway, it's a nice bonus to get another hour or two of action out of your ticket. If you live in or near Canberra, annual memberships to the zoo mean it's a viable option to come and just play at the park from time to time in addition to longer zoo visits.
So if you've been to your local park so often that it feels like your own backyard, AdventureLand at the National Zoo might be just the change of scenery you're after.