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Published January 30th 2016
Belconnen is an area of Canberra, 9km's north west of the city. It is a handy location to the city, the surrounding countryside and north to Gungahlin. In most suburbs there are smaller local parks for kids to enjoy as well as larger parks in scenic locations around the region. In our family's exploration of the area, these are the playgrounds that our family has discovered and enjoyed - what are your favourites?
JOHN KNIGHT MEMORIAL PLAYGROUND This playground has it all. Located on the shores of Lake Ginninderra, it has a large lakeside reserve for picnics, BBQ's, bike riding and exploring. There are also two main playgrounds - the first one is located next to a number of waterfalls and ponds (which may be unsuitable for young children who like to run), however the kids enjoy the slide, spinning toys and climbing over the exercise equipment. Walking further into the park there is a large flying fox and a bright red tower with ladders to climb up and a long metal slide to squeal down.
This is our family's favourite playground in Belconnen and judging by the amount of people we see here each time we come, it is a favourite for most locals as well. John Knight Memorial Playground is located on Townsend Place, off Aikman Drive, Belconnen - see Google map here. For a more detailed article on John Knight Memorial Playground, see here.
GIANT MUSHROOM, BELCONNEN FRESH FOOD MARKETS Our daughter loves this playground and it is always full to it's mushroom rafters with other young children enjoying it just as much. Situated under a giant mushroom (yes, you heard right), this protected playground has four slides as well as ramps, ladders and steps to climb as the kids move from slide to slide. The centre of the mushroom has little cut out windows so they can peek out and wave to Mum and Dad. This playground is ideal on hot Summer days and rainy weather, due to its large mushroom cap roof. The playground is open Wednesday to Sunday between 9:30pm - 5:30pm and located on at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets on Lathlain St, Belconnen. See Google map here.
WESTON FORESHORE LAKE GINNINDERRA PLAYGROUND The Weston Foreshore is a popular location to slide a kayak into the water, have a BBQ, ride bikes and enjoy the lakeside location. Our daughter enjoys watching the kayaks and birdlife from the playground looking over the lake. It is a popular playground on weekends and a peaceful place to visit during the week, minutes from Belconnen's Town Centre. Lake Ginninderra's Western Foreshore Playground is situated on Macdermott Place, Belconnen - see Google map here. There are also two other smaller playgrounds located on Lake Ginninderra, located at either end of Diddams Close. See Google map here.
MCFARLANE BURNET AVENUE PLAYGROUND, MACGREGOR The suburb of Macgregor has two sides - an established side and a newly developed side. This playground is situated in the newer development and our family has enjoyed it in winter months as it has plenty of sun to warm us all up, with benches in the sun for carers to soak up the sun. If you visit in Summer there is no shade sail, however there is a shaded bench to rest on between plays. This modern playground has plenty of climbing - with two different and quite difficult ways to get up to the slide and fireman's pole (more suited to older kids). There are also a couple of bouncy toys and a net swing, with views out to the countryside behind this playground. This playground is situated on the corner of Macfarlane Burnet Avenue and Refshauge Crescent.
Please note - there are two intersections of these roads at either end of Refshauge Circuit - this playground is situated on the corner of the 2nd intersection if driving from in the south. See Google map here for general reference of streets in this new area.
BELCONNEN SKATE PARK Although not technically a playground, Belconnen Skate Park is a destination of children of all ages to get together and practice their moves. If you have kids that love to skateboard, ride their bikes or practice their tricks on a scooter, then the Belconnen Skate Park at Emu Bank is the perfect place to try out some jumps or just have a ride. See google map here.
INDOOR/UNDERCOVER PLAYGROUNDS During the colder months and the heat of winter, it is handy to know where the indoor playgrounds are if the weather is looking a little extreme in one direction or another.
Kids Playworld, Belconnen Westfield Shopping Centre . If you have little ones who love to get out and explore, then Belconnen's Westfield Toddler Area is a fun place to play and meet other kids (see website here for location inside centre). Belconnen Westfield Shopping Centre is located on Benjamin Way - see Google map here. Bunnings Belconnen. Just across the road from The Giant Mushroom at Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, Bunnings has an indoor playground next to the café. In Winter it can be a good spot for carers to grab a coffee at the café next to the playground - always a bonus on a chilly winters day.
Local Clubs. If you are a member of a local Club, or a visitor to the area, check out the local Club to see if they have a play area for children. For example Belconnen Soccer Club in McKellar has a large and colourful play area and the Jamison Southern Cross Club in Macquarie has an undercover playground as well as a small games room.
Belconnen has playgrounds to enjoy in all corners of the region. If you have a favourite playground that isn't mentioned here (and you are happy to divulge your secret!) then please make a comment on this article. What I enjoy about Canberra's playgrounds, as a Mum, is the friendliness of all the other kids and carers at the park. At each playground I visit, local families are ready with a welcoming smile and a hello. We are fortunate that in all of Canberra's areas there are plenty of choices for some free family fun in the great outdoors.
Lake Ginnninderra, a relaxing place to visit for a picnic and a play