Tidbinbilla Nature Discovery Playground is located inside Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, 45 minutes from the CBD and 25 minutes from Tuggeranong.
The Reserve is a popular location for animal lovers where visitors can see wild platypus, kangaroos, koalas and other animals in protected areas around the park. Recognised as Canberra's leading ecotourism destination, there are 21 walks to explore as well as BBQ areas and The Sanctuary boardwalk area for spotting birdlife and animals. For families, another highlight of this National Park is the Tidbinbilla Nature Discovery Playground, located within a few hundred metres from the entrance.
When my daughter and I visited for the first time, the first thing we saw were the twitching ears of eastern grey kangaroo's grazing nearby. My daughter, aged four, was mesmerized to see wild animals in a children's' playground - an added bonus for this national park playground.
At the top play area there are two water tanks with slides, bouncy sheep toys and a handy BBQ area close to the playground. There is also a speaker which emits an unusual sound, which I assume is a snake alarm to scare them away in the warmer months. We visited in November, however we didn't see any at this location. Further along near the platypus pond we saw a venomous red belly black snake on the path, so be aware that this area could have snake activity in warmer months.
Further down the playground there are swings, water pump, more bouncy toys and an impressive twin metal slide - which we discovered was particularly fast. Kids can either access it from a set of stairs behind or climb up the mounds next to it to get to the top.
Nearby is a flying fox with a ramp to help you get on before you slide down on the fox with a squeal. My daughter and I went on this together, much to the bemusement of the kangaroos watching from nearby.
At the lower end of the playground is a reserve for the kids to run around on and more BBQ and picnic areas to use. There is also a large toilet block nearby. This playground is a lot of fun for all ages - older kids will love the flying fox and slide and the younger children have a lot to entertain themselves with also. Tidbinbilla is an educational place for kids to learn about aboriginal history and endangered animals in the area, as well as having fun. As you drive in, The Visitors Centre has hands-on exhibits and touch tables for the kids to explore.
It is at the Visitors Centre where you pay for entry into the National Park. The entry fee is per car (either a day pass or an annual pass) and then you drive through the boom gate and make your way around the sealed loop road. There is plenty of signage to each attraction and walk.
The Sanctuary boardwalk is popular with families as it is flat, wheelchair and pram friendly, and doesn't take too long to explore. This is where you can spot wild platypus - we were lucky to see one on our visit, however the ranger told us that they were seen for 311 out of the 365 days last year and more than five seen at one time.
With so much to do at Tidbinbilla, it is worth paying the annual fee and coming back time and time again, especially in school holidays. We also look forward to coming back at other seasons to see how the landscape has changed and watch the different animals come out at different times. Only a short drive from Canberra's southern suburbs, it is a national treasure right in our backyard.