With the colder months behind us and Summer almost here, kids of all ages can once again enjoy running through the sprinklers, throwing water bombs at their friends and firing water pistols at unsuspecting bothers and sisters. As the temperatures start to soar however, it can help to have a few ideas on where to cool down around the city - without having to drive for too long in a hot car. If you have toddlers and pre-schoolers in particular, a morning of water play in a toddler pool or splash park is an ideal way to keep them cool and out of the harsh sun. It is also (somewhat!) relaxing for carers too, to just sit for awhile in the refreshing pools and have a quiet play in the shallows. Nearly all of Canberra's swimming pools have kids areas, however the following venues are just five to get you started. Which one will you be trying out this weekend?
Boundless Playground near Lake Burley Griffin is one of the most popular playgrounds in Canberra and it has one feature that the others don't have - water. The best feature of this all-abilities playground in Summer is the water canon and jet area (above), where the kids can get seriously wet. This water play area only runs in the warmer months, however on our last visit (late November, 2016) it wasn't operational. I can only assume it will be fixed soon before the Summer influx of cossie-wearing kids pour in through the gates. Another water feature behind this extensive playground is a large metal water pump, where the kids spin the wheel and water pours out down the "river". It is quite hard to turn, so parents and carers usually end up as the turners while the kids splash and play. See here for details and here for a Google map to find it.
Big Splash Waterpark is located 10 minutes north west of the city, in the Belconnen suburb of Macquarie. This huge waterslide park is only open in the Summer months and has a wide range of activities for all ages. The inflatable obstacle courses are a popular attraction as well as the high speed waterslides for older children. For young kids the water play area is a fun and interactive place to cool off, with a variety of water sprays to go through and colourful characters to meet. This venue is particularly popular in the school holidays and weekends when the temperature gets over 30 degrees. Check their Facebook page for "2 for 1" deals and updates on opening/closing dates. See here for the entry prices and here for a Google map to find it.
Big Splash Waterpark. Source: Original photos supplied by Big Splash Park website and Facebook
Dickson Aquatic Centre is located 10 minutes north of the city and is a popular outdoor pool centre for the whole community. For young kids there is a shallow toddler pool and a colourful water play park, which all ages enjoy (see below). Another feature of this pool are the large shady trees around the property, creating plenty of areas to lie down after a swim for a picnic in the shade. This pool is only open in the Summer months only. See here for entry prices and here for a Google map to find it.
Dickson Aquatic Centre. Source: Original photos supplied by Disckon Aquatic Centre website
Manuka Pool is located in Griffith, 5 minutes south of the city. Opened in 1931, this Art Deco outdoor pool is a fascinating pool to walk around, with history found in every corner. For kids, there is a shaded toddler pool outside the building, where they can splash safely in leafy surroundings. Manuka pool is ideal for young children, as there is also a pirate ship playground to play on before or after their swim. Kids can captain the ship and call out "Ahoy me hearties!" before running around and feeling the grass between their toes on the large areas to play on. This pool is open in Summer only. See here for entry prices and here for a Google map to find it. For a full article on Manuka Pool, see here.
Lakeside Leisure Centre is located in Tuggeranong, 20 minutes south of the city. This extensive swimming centre has a large indoor pool area with shallow baby pool, toddler pool, large lap pools and kiosk. The outside Splash Park is a highlight for the kids with buckets full of water that tip over onto their heads, surprising jets that shoot out, water sprays to run through and water shooting at from each and every direction. This outside area also has a large grassy area to sit on with shade, as well as seating for Mums and Dads to sit and watch while their kids play. See here for entry prices and here for a Google map to find it. For a full article on the Lakeside Leisure Centre Splash Park, see here.
Outside Splash Park at Lakeside Leisure Centre in Tuggeranong