Really decent parks are hard to find in my neck of the woods.
The combination of my small yard and my children being born with wanderlust compounds this problem.
The kids love any opportunity to get out of the house and experience a little liberty, with or without the permission or knowledge of their parents. A good park often helps my wife and I mitigate the libertarian streak that our children have inherited and temporarily reduce their energy levels to a more manageable state.
Fortunately, we recently discovered an excellent local park that ticks all our boxes.
Middle Park is located on Jardine Court, off Middle Rd in Boronia Heights and is open to the public between 5:00am and 8:00pm every day. The park is green and leafy, has plenty of shade and is packed with features that will cater to a large variety of persons and interests.
On your right as you first enter Jardine Court, you'll see the park's well maintained enclosed off-leash dog area.
The off-leash area features separate enclosed areas specifically for large and small dogs. There is also dog agility equipment in the large dog section. Not being a dog owner, I cannot comment further other than to say that whenever I visit, there are always a large number of locals and their dogs taking advantage of the facilities.
On your left, you'll see the park's other main features – public gym equipment, a BBQ and covered eating area and my favourite, the children's playground.
The gym equipment is basic, offering 2 exercise bikes and 2 cross trainers. While it isn't likely to appeal to the hardcore exercise and fitness crowds, it does provide the locals with a free opportunity to engage in real exercise and I usually spy people using it when I visit. Free community exercise opportunities like this cannot be a bad thing and should be encouraged.
Now onto the (my) main attraction. The playground.
The first playground feature you notice that instantly sets it apart from many of the other local parks, is that it is completely enclosed. I mean properly secure with a lockable gated entrance. Secure to the point where you can sit down on one of the benches, bust out your thermos, and not be on the edge of your seat wondering which of your kids will be the first to do a runner.
Not only do the kids get a sense of freedom and have a great time, my wife and/or I can actually relax while they're at it.
The playground area has a large sand base and is covered by shade-cloth. The playground equipment includes 2 slides (one larger, one smaller), a set of swings, a see-saw, mechanical diggers, and more. The kids are always happy to rotate through all the equipment until they run out of energy.