A mum of three, engineer, scientist, educator, and all around dabbler, I'm far better at finding interesting things to do than I am at doing housework.
Published March 8th 2017
Can you handle the giant inflatables?
Do your kids love the inflatable when you take them to the pool? Or do you (like me) look on in envy as the kids bounce along, hoping that you'll manage to sneak on too? You know the inflatables I mean. The big inflatable playgrounds that fill a lane of the pool, and look like a jumping castle that decided that it wanted to try out the aquatic life.
Well, now Melbourne is home to a new Aqua Fun Park which takes the inflatable concept and magnifies it, and the fun, by a factor of 10!
The new Melbourne Cable Park is a wakeboarding theme park under development. While most of the facilities are still under construction, stage 1 is open and ready for fun! And to the joy of inflatable lovers everywhere, stage 1 is the Aqua Fun Park - a magnificent giant inflatable playground!
Situated on a new man-made lake in Bangholme (near Patterson Lakes), right next door to the National Watersports Centre, the Aqua Fun Park is a purpose made collection of inflatable elements. There are towers to climb, slides to slip down, cylinders that float like giant hamster wheels, a floating trampoline, balance beams and more.
On our recent visit, the hamster wheels and seesaws were roped down due to high winds, but the rest of the park was in full operation. The 8 and 10 year old had fun racing each other on parallel obstacle courses - climbing over, under and through a variety of challenges and of course occasionally slipping off into the lake. But the undoubted favourite of the day was the tallest tower. Climbing to the top was a challenge, but once that was managed you could slip down a drop slide into the lake... before climbing out of the water and doing it all over again. By the end of an hour, my muscles had had quite a workout and were ready for a break!
As the park is still under construction, not all facilities are complete as yet. (March 2017). While toilets are available, there aren't any change rooms, which could be challenging on busy days. Picnic tables and grass are available around the lake, which provided ample space for seating on the quiet day we visited. Be aware that there is minimal shade at present, so remember to be sun smart and take your hat for when you aren't on the water!
It's recommended that you take a rash vest to wear under the mandatory (supplied) life vest - both for sun protection and to make it a little more comfortable. I'd also recommend wearing either board shorts or similar - we attended the first session of the day and sliding on the dry sections of the inflatable was a little rough on both bathers and skin.
Entry is $20 per session, which includes 50 minutes of inflatable fun, and you're welcome to stay and swim in the swimming area after your session. And if you and the kids aren't completely exhausted by then, you can usually buy a "top up" and stay for another session. This is limited by availability as the park capacity is capped to ensure safety.
While lifeguards are on hand to keep an eye on proceedings, parents or guardians are required to accompany kids under 11, and all participants must be at least 5 years old. Of course, everyone must be able to swim!
The Aqua Fun Park is going to be a warm weather attraction only, with the lake expected to be used for wakeboarding classes during the colder months of the year. So check it out while the good weather lasts!