My husband recalls fondly many a weekend playing at John Oldham Park. A secret Jurassic world of waterfalls, wildlife and rough pathways that saw a young discoverer freely explore the lush plant life wilderness in a time when child safety standards and lawsuits were non-existent. He remembers the area was so overgrown that you could barely make out the major roads running by or the developing city in the background. It was a pretty neglected place and sadly forgotten over the decades.
I must admit I've driven past year after year and often thought it was just a swampy excuse to slap a water fountain in for the tourists until I was finally convinced to get out of the car and take a closer look. John Oldham Park gives children an opportunity to get themselves a little dirt and discovery fun in the city.
If your kids are nuts for dinosaurs take along some cheapo plastic ones and hide them around the waterfall section for them to find. They'll love it. We merely suggested the "D" word and our son was soon stomping and growling around the rock face and suddenly every bird became a pterodactyl or a pre-historic dinner.
The place has certainly been cleaned up and tamed from its unkempt look of yesteryear. The pathways are smooth and pram/wheelchair friendly and of course there are bike riders galore hooning by on their way to where ever.
Of course what would a great park be without playground equipment and this fun packed kids world is very new and fresh. There is a fantastic play structure in the shape of a ship with rock climbing, slide, tunnel and fort.
A big climbing apparatus and a very long and cool slide were still behind fences being constructed. They were a little walk up the path and separate to the main playground, creating a feeling of space and purpose for adventure.
A lot of effort has gone into recreating this charming park, perhaps to its former glory or at least in honour of the original idea. Because the equipment is clean and new and maybe because of its isolated proximity, it doesn't really feel like a "city" park. It was graffiti free and absent of that creepy feeling you sometimes get in older parks. The lack of any "I think drunks and night time weirdos have lurked here" uneasiness is a bonus not to worry about especially if you have inquisitive kids.
Thank you so much for posting an article about such a beautiful park! What a gem!! We went to the park today and kids absolutely loved it and so did mum and dad. Lots of water feature in this park
and what a sanctuary to those gorgeous wild birds. This park will be one of our faves for sure.