Melbourne Playgrounds is now one year old. Considering that we run the site as a family hobby without the extensive resources of some other parenting sites, we are very proud of our achievements over the last year. During our first month we had around 70 visitors and now we are rapidly approaching 10,000 visitors per month.
Some of our first year highlights include:
We would love to receive feedback on what new activities should be added and how Melbourne Playgrounds can be improved during the next year. Contact Us by Mail or Melbourne Playgrounds Facebook
- Added more than 3000 listings covering a wide range of activities for kids and families.
- Reviewed 1350 playgrounds in Melbourne. We have yet to find a better playground resource for any other city in the world.
- Created the most comprehensive directory of Aquatic and Swimming Centres for Melbourne.
- Created the most comprehensive directory available for Kids Parties in Melbourne.
- Created the most up-to-date and comprehensive directory of Skate Parks and BMX Tracks for Melbourne.
- Created customized Google maps with links to all the reviewed playgrounds, Play Centres and Water based Activities.
- Reviewed playgrounds and other activities in regional Victoria for people travelling to and from Melbourne
To celebrate our anniversary, we thought that some awards were in order. Since our budget for prizes is negligible, in fact as negligible as nothing, the glory (or ignominy) of winning an award will have to suffice. Maybe some sponsors can come on board for next years awards.
So to the awards:
The Crème de la crème Award for the best playground in Melbourne goes to the Bayswater Park playground. This playground just about has it all: a full size steam train, plenty of interesting and fun play equipment, BBQs and tables, toilets, oval next door and plenty of free parking. A survey on the website during the year also confirmed that this was the best playground.
Bayswater Park Playground, Mountain Highway, Bayswater
The Crème de la crème de la crème Award for the best playground in Victoria goes to the Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground in Warrnambool. This is a series of super playgrounds lining the shores of the lake. Each playground would be great in its own right, but put five of them in a line together and you have playground heaven.
Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground, Warrnambool
The Best Indoor Play Centre Award goes to Kids Space in Hallam. This Centre is bright, airy, large, good visibility for parents and has lots of play equipment including some huge, very scary slides. It is possible for parents and kids to enjoy the facilties together. The location may be a bit of a drive for some people but it is worth it. We had one of our son's birthdays there and even the food was good.
Kids Space Indoor Play & Party Centre (Hallam)
The Most Supportive council Award goes to the Kingston council. Even though we gave them a big serve for giving us a parking ticket at the Peter Scullin Reserve, they continued to provide us with a list of new and upgraded playgrounds for us to review and congratulated us on providing such a useful resource to the community.
The Most Unhelpful council Award goes to the Casey council. Their response to our request for a list of playgrounds, Skate Parks and BMX Tracks in their council area was "The Council will not supply you with a list of Playgrounds, Skate Parks and BMX Tracks within Casey as you requested. This information can be obtained by reading the latest Melways." This is code for "The playgrounds in Casey are generally a load of rubbish and we don't want you giving bad reviews to any more"
The I'm lost in the desert without an Oasis in sight Award goes to Hampton Park which is in Casey. This is an area where you move from terrible playground to terrible playground without any relief in sight. A few examples of what I am talking about:
Amber Drive, Hampton Park playground
Fordholm Road, Hampton Park playground
Manning Close, Hampton Park playground
The Most discouraging Survey comment Award goes to the person who submitted the following comment "Information was out-dated and comments not relevant or helpful". It was hard to get off the floor after taking a right hook like that.
The Most useful constructive critiscm on our Survey Award goes to the people who said that we didn't cover the Western Suburbs well enough and that the Party section only had limited listings except for Play Centres. Since those comments have been received we have significantly increased the number of listings in the West and added more than 500 Party listings to make it the best and most comprehensive Kids Party Portal for Melbourne.
The Worst Service Provider Website Award goes to the "Lifestyle for Kids" website. Most pages have displayed the message "Information to be updated soon..." for at least the last six months. Their web site describes themselves as "Melbourne's Best Kept Secret". Until they have a more informative web site they may remain a secret.
Lifestyle for Kids
A (dis)honourable mention to Mr Sand Bottles which has the hidden text "Children, kids, party, parties, art and craft coloured, sand, bottles" repeated all over their website using text colour in the same colour as their background colour hoping to get a high ranking in Google. The abject failure of this technique is shown by putting these words into Google and the website not even appearing on the first page of results. I think they need to get a refund from their website designer. If they add some hidden words about a satanic cult they may even win the award next year.
The Best Service Provider Website Award goes to the "Animals on the Move" website. The website is fun, cute and interesting to navigate around.
Animals on the Move
The What drug was the designer on? Award goes to the Indra Road playground in Blackburn South. The designer of this playground has either forgotten to take his medication or had been experimenting with magic mushrooms from his garden. We were all left scratching our heads as to how the equipment should be used.
Indra Road, Blackburn South playground
The Wet 'n Wild Award goes to Casey Recreation & Aquatic Centre (RACE) for the best Aquatic Centre. Nice new centre with facilities for all ages and the cream on the pie are two fantastic water rides which are included in the entrance price.
Casey Recreation & Aquatic Centre (RACE) in Cranbourne
The Most Unusual Service Provider Award goes to Book a Chook. A scheme where you can try chooks for a few days and return them if they poop everywhere and wake up the neighbours.
Book a Chook
The Best Themed Playground Award goes to the Ray Bastin Playground in Narre Warren. There is so much rocket equipment here that NASA must be using it as a backup rocket launching site!
Ray Bastin Playground
The Ouch! Award for the most painful and dangerous piece of playground equipment goes to the Log Roll. Unless you have more than twenty years experience as a professional lumberjack then stay away. Unless suitably experienced you are likely to end up on the ground yelping with pain and crying your eyes out.
The Sahara Desert Award goes to the Dendy St Park playground in Brighton East for the best playground sandpit. This sandpit is so large that I fully expect camels to walk past and dates to drop from the trees.
Dendy St Park, Dendy Street, Brighton East
The I think it's Run-of-the-Mill and you think it's Amazing Award goes to the Maroondah council. The council and Melbourne Playgrounds have widely differing views on how good the Amazing Space@Federation playground is. Needless to say, the council thinks it is better than we do.
Amazing Space@Federation playground in Ringwood
The Biggest Disappointment Award goes to the humungous steel slide at Roselyn Crescent playground in Wantirna South. When we saw this slide which started at the top of a hill and stretched away to infinity we were so excited. Unfortunately there was no slipperiness in the slide - nothing that fifty litres of oil couldn't fix though!
Roselyn Crescent, Wantirna South
The Best European Experience without a Contiki trip Award goes to the Eley Road playground in Burwood which offers the ability to climb the snow capped French Alps including the Matterhorn.
Eley Rd, Burwood
The Most Interesting Playground equipment Award goes to Dragon's Tail slide and Giraffe Swing in the Fitzroy Gardens. This was also a contender for the Ouch! award. There is generally a series of kids who tip as they come down the slide bumping their heads. Ouch!
Fitzroy Gardens, Clarendon Street, East Melbourne
Closely followed by the snakes and ladders board at Hodgson Reserve, Higgins Road, Bentleigh.
Hodgson Reserve, Higgins Road, Bentleigh
Honourable mentions to:
Dune Buggy at H.A Smith Reserve playground, Hawthorn
Loch Ness Monster at Jacana Street, Noble Park
Alien Spaceship Slides at Rotary Park, Dandenong
Huge Rocket with slide at Central Gardens, Henry Street, Hawthorn
Tram on a rocker at Deepdene Park, Whitehorse Road, Balwyn
Full size tram at Wattle Park, Riversdale Road, Surrey Hills
Bat Wing Carousel at Wombat Bend Playspace, Duncan Street, Templestowe Lower
Enormous Grasshopper Springer which could eat its way through the Mallee in one afternoon at Beatty Crescent, Ormond
... plus a host of others.
The Most Interesting Decoration in a Playground Award goes to Hidden Grove Boulevard playground in Keysborough which has five enormous coloured pencils sticking out of the bushes.
Hidden Grove Blvd, Keysborough
The Are they Flying Foxes or Fruit Bats? Award for best flying fox goes to the Malahang Reserve playground. When they have two great flying foxes together, who cares what they are called.
Malahang Reserve, Oriel Road, Heidelberg West
The Fake Grampians Award for best climbing wall goes to the very authentic wall at Waratah Street playground in Thomastown. It is easy to pretend that you are climbing the Bundaleer wall in The Grampians!
Waratah Street, Thomastown
The Have they Stolen the Kitchen Sink yet? Award goes to the Packard Street Reserve Playground. Not only did thieves steal the basket for the Bird's Nest swing but they stole the FENCE.
Packard Street Reserve Playground in Keilor Downs
The Whelan The Wrecker Award for playground most in need of destruction goes to Pitcher Park, Alphington. Some of the equipment is more at home in a junkyard than a playground.
Pitcher Park, Separation Street, Alphington
There will be more awards next year. Maybe the other councils who also refused to provide a list of playgrounds to us, will take out the "Most Unhelpful Council" Award. I'm sure they will be trying their hardest!