By Melissa Grant
Playgrounds are great places for children to have fun, explore, make new friends and burn some energy.
They can offer hours of entertainment, and best of all, don’t cost a cent to visit.
With many mild sunny days, spring is a great time to explore the many playgrounds in the Yarra Ranges and surrounds.
There are some great ones to visit too – a huge new playground has just opened at the site of the old Olinda Public Golf Course and a number of others have undergone recent upgrades.
MONBULK ROAD, OLINDA
There’s so much to explore at this park, the largest regional play space in the Dandenongs.
The $1.8 million park opened in July at the site of the former Olinda Public Golf Course.
The park features a large sandpit, flying foxes, slides, swings, ropes course and a water play area.
It also features a toilet block, barbecues, picnic facilities and plenty of seating.
There are formalised pathways around the former golf course as part of a dog off-lead area.
Several local artists have contributed to the design of the play space, which also boasts stunning views and features mosaic artwork by local school children.
And there’s more fun to come. Future project stages include a junior sports and training oval, netball courts and improvements to cricket facilities.
36 DON ROAD, HEALESVILLE
A great playground for younger and older kids.
The popular and well-situated park reopened earlier this year after undergoing a million dollar upgrade.
It now features swings, double flying foxes, a sandpit, nature play area, balancing logs and an accessible spinner.
Kids will love riding their bikes and scooters at the Roll Play bike park where they can learn traffic skills on a purpose-built track.
The park also boasts picnic tables for families, a drinking fountain and play sculptures.
With plenty of shade and toilet facilities, Queens Park is a spot where the kids can play for hours.
It’s also a short walk from the main shopping area in town, making it easy to grab lunch or a coffee.
ALMA TRELOAR PARK
HEALESVILLE KOOWEERUP RD, COCKATOO
If your child loves to climb, they will love this playground.
It features a variety of adventure equipment including rock and climbing walls, pommel walk and nets.
The playground, which was upgraded just over a year ago, also has a ladybug springer, spinner and tractor play unit.
It’s surrounded by plenty of grass, which is perfect for the kids to run around on or kick a footy.
UPWEY MAIN STREET PLAY SPACE
MAIN STREET, UPWEY
There’s plenty of fun for kids of all ages at this park.
The playground includes swings, climbing towers and cubes, slides, balance beams and steppers, a double rocker and more.
Construction of the playground was completed last year. The new equipment replaced the ageing pirate ship playground.
GEMBROOK LEISURE PARK
This park is undergoing a major transformation.
Works on a a $1.5m upgrade started in July and is expected to be complete in February next year.
The upgraded park will feature a new adventure playground with a flying fox, lawn area with new shelters and barbecues and a multi-use sports court.
It will also feature nature play, accessible play opportunities, additional sealed parking and refurbished public amenities. The skate park will be upgraded as part of the project, with space created for skating, scooting and BMX.