Gayle is a retired accountant and a photography enthusiast living on Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast. Gayle is passionate about writing and keen to showcase Aussie culture to a global audience. Gayle loves her family, dogs, sunsets, and chocolate.
Published June 19th 2016
Dinosaurs may have died out around 65 million years ago but they live on in the imagination of children who will no doubt be excited by this dinosaur themed park and playground. Megasaurus Park, on the Livingston Estate in Cranbourne East is the product of a collaboration between Urban Edge Landscape Architects and Benjamin Gilbert, as award-winning playground sculptor from the Agency of Sculpture.
A metal Brontosaurus frame rises heralding your arrival at the playground rises above nearby houses (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
There is no missing the park which can be entered from three sides. A towering life size metal frame of a Brontosaurus rises higher than nearby houses. Bronty is a whopping 25 metres long. At around 5 times the length of a Ford Falcon motor car he is a perfect frame for the disk seat flying fox that zips through his innards. Children can access the flying fox from a set of steps beneath Bronty's bottom.
The skeletal sculpture of a brontosaurus houses a flying fox (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge).
Burgundy coloured dinosaur themed climbing equipment in the centre of the playground stretches for 20 metres. There is a slide at one end and although it is very wide it does not have raised sides. The green surface of the slide is not slippery and I thought it more likely children would climb up rather than slide down. Beyond the slide are nets of climbing ropes incorporating disk based climbing poles, a ladder, and poles with footholds.
The 20m long dinosaur shaped climbing frame (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
A birds nest swing dangles from a sculpture representing a Pterodactyl although you may need to use your imagination on this one. Amongst the people who visited Megasaurus Park while I was there the swing was the clear favourite. Toddlers, parents, and homeward bound school children all made good use of it. At the base of the frame is a low cubby area beneath metal plates representing Pterodactyl feathers.
The pterodactyl inspired cubby house and bird's nest swing frame (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Parts of the playground are framed with paling fences and on one a sign warns "Stegosaurus X-ing" and heralds a long line of Stegosaurus back plates with climbing holds. It appears as if Steggy himself is buried in the earth and it is an impressive sight. I did not test them myself but apparently the climbing holds make noises.
The stegosaurus climbing plates with noise making climbing holds (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
For safety, softfall rubber matting is installed under key playground equipment. I imagine it is quite thick as it is spongy underfoot, like walking on cushions. Other areas around the play equipment are covered with a fine wood-chip bark. Paths weave between the play areas. For parents there are a couple of bench seats in the playground, a drinking fountain and a pergola style shelter with three sets of picnic tables.
Softfall rubber dinosaur eggs amongst low rocks for climbing and in the background the skeletal brontosaurus frame housing the flying fox (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
Some large round rocks provide low lying climbing and amongst them dinosaur eggs moulded from rubber are painted is if they are about to hatch. Adding to the dinosaur theme other signs at entrances warn "Do Not Feed the Dinosaurs" and "Warning Wild Zone."
Throughout the playground old tree trunks lie as if fallen or rise from the ground and at one of the entrances a set of balance blocks are set between them. The tree trunks add to a prehistoric looking landscaping which includes dry creek bed pits and plantings of the bulbous Queensland bottle trees, palms, banksias and soft-leaf tufted grasses.
The playground is only one part of the park which has open grassed areas suitable for running and ball games. Let your child go wild.
Currently the only shade available is in the picnic table area but trees have been planted in this very young park and will in time turn it into a shady pleasure. Although there is no dedicated parking Megasaurus Park is in a quiet residential area and there is kerbside parking available on three sides.
More of the playground and the adjacent open grassed area (Photos copyright Gayle Beveridge)
The park seems popular with children on the way home from school and if it has any shortcoming it is that it does not have equipment specifically for toddlers. Although those I saw were enjoying themselves on the flying fox and the birds nest swing they were being assisted by parents.