Spring is the perfect season to get outside to enjoy the fresh air, and what better place to have some fun and shake off the winter blues than an inclusive, all abilities playground. The great thing about all abilities play spaces is they are designed for children with a variety of disabilities, sensory issues and more, so everyone can enjoy playtime together.
A truly inclusive playground will offer a range of features including access, equipment design, ground cover, fencing, shelter and accessible toilets. We’re happy to report that the number of accessible and inclusive playgrounds around Australia is growing all the time; we can’t list them all, but here are a few beauties state by state where our kids can play side by side with their siblings and friends.
Boundless Playground, Kings Park
Boundless – The Centenary of Canberra National Playground, is located on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin at Kings Park. The playground caters to different levels of ability and was initiated as a project to celebrate Canberra’s centenary. Within the three play zones you’ll find wide, wheelchair friendly paths, an accessible merry-go-round, a wheelchair friendly aero-glide rocker and heaps more accessible equipment. For those hot summer days, there’s also a fabulous water play area that everyone can access.
Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden, Centennial Parklands, Sydney
Sensory play is right at the heart of this beautiful, natural and inclusive space. Sensory play opportunities include the use of different terrains, a variety of natural textures, loose natural parts for children to move around, spaces for a variety of physical movement alongside areas for quiet contemplation and/or play providing for a total hands-on experience. Children can spend hours getting lost in the wonder of nature with dry creek beds, an artesian water play area, a bamboo forest, banksia tunnels, turtle mounds and Centennial Park’s first treehouse.
Wawai Ngurra Playspace, Doonside
A new playground that opened earlier this year – people of all ages and abilities can access unique features that include a customised elevated walkway, a Changing Places facility, all access swings, slides, musical items, trampoline, a sand table, quiet places and a play sculpture. The play space provides numerous disability parking spaces – always a bonus!
Oatley Park Adventure Playspace, Oatley
Located alongside the Georges River, the enormous Oatley Park is one of Sydney’s most popular play spaces and a nature lovers dream. As part of the NSW Government’s Everyone Can Play Program over 80 per cent of the playground is accessible for children of all abilities who will love the natural bushland setting and wooden equipment.
Livvi’s Place, Warragamba
A large fully fenced and 100% accessible park featuring selected play equipment to encourage kids to play actively, imaginatively and socially. Here you’ll find sensory items (music, lights, touch and texture), water play, grassy areas, pathways and equipment that can be accessed by prams, wheelchairs and walkers. Parents are also taken care of with shaded picnic tables to kick back and relax, as well as free BBQs to cook up a feast for lunch!
Jingili Water Gardens
Jingili Water Gardens is one of the most popular and accessible parks in Darwin. Containing lily ponds, a community garden, BBQs, accessible toilets, adult change facilities, a shaded all-abilities play space and a skate park – it really does have something for the whole family. The play space features a turn table, swings, balance log, tunnel and musical instruments.
Pratten Park, Broadbeach
Pratten Park is home to the Gold Coast’s first all abilities playground. At the northern end of the park, there’s a huge hill slide, flying fox, a swing set catering for up to 5 children or a fully harnessed seat for those who need more support. The fully fenced playground provides access for all children to experience fun, interactive and challenging play, while their families and carers watch over them in an enjoyable and relaxing environment. The park also features a Changing Places toilet with an adjustable height change table, ceiling tracking hoist and toilet.
Leslie Patrick Park, Arana Hills
With a sensory garden, Braille, accessible carousel, adaptive disability swings, and colourful ‘honey bee’ artwork, The Hills District all abilities playground is perfect for a group BBQ and outdoor play. Opened in December 2019, the All Abilities Playground is located within the Leslie Patrick Park precinct at Arana Hills, just north of Brisbane CBD.
Caboolture Region Environmental Education Centre (CREEC) All abilities playground
The Moreton Bay Region’s first all abilities playground where you will find plenty to see, touch, smell and do. There is a carousel, flying foxes with large platforms, adaptive swings, and wheelchair ramp leading to a ‘pirate ship’ with moveable knobs and cogs.
Dotted around the spacious area are low benches, sandstone block seating, animal statues, musical play equipment, and sensory boards.
Within the wider CREEC there are walking tracks, picnic spots, sensory garden, and a community nursery to enjoy.
Thorndon Park, Paradise
Featuring the historic reservoir and a brand-new all-inclusive play space, Thorndon Park is a major attraction for all ages and abilities. The playground celebrates the diverse and plentiful bird life that Thorndon Park is known for with play zones inspired by flight and nesting, as well as habitat types and food sources. Some of the playground’s accessible features include a liberty swing, vision impaired table tennis table, wheelchair accessible trampolines, raised sand play area, raised water play area, an all-access carousel, Auslan signage, communication boards and accessible pathways.
Hendrie Street Reserve Inclusive Playground, Park Holme
This Livvi’s place was South Australia’s first purpose built inclusive playground and includes a wide range of equipment where consideration has been given to children who may have mobility issues, vision and hearing impairments and spectrum disorders such as autism. As well as a host of accessible equipment, hard pathways through the playground have been designed wider to allow the easy access and manoeuvrability of mobility chairs and there are fully accessible toilets that include an adult-sized change table.
Riverbend Park, Lindsay Street, Invermay
This all-abilities park transformed a former industrial precinct into a major recreational area for Launceston. Divided into four zones – The River Play area, Gorge Play area, Wild Core area, and Urban Plaza – there is a range of play equipment and experiences, including swings, diggers, sand pits, a wheelchair carousel, a water play area, musical instruments, and a full-size sports court.
Kingston Park Playground, Kingston
This nature-based playground is one of Tasmania’s most interesting play spaces. There are nine distinct areas of play, representing the aspirations of the community and inspired by native fauna and habitats within Kingborough. Many of the areas are a sensory delight, especially the sand play area, rock pool water play, the spinning zone and a wonderful sensory garden with musical instruments nestled inside.
Ross Reserve All Abilities Playground, Noble Park, Greater Dandenong
Located between the Noble Park Community Centre and Noble Park Aquatic Centre, Ross Reserve offers an inclusive experience for all, providing a play environment for a diverse range of children, youth and adults of all ages, sizes and abilities. There’s a huge array of inclusive equipment in the park including a double flying fox with accessible harness, an inclusive trampoline, accessible ramp with slides, tunnels and basket swings, a liberty swing, accessible spinner and a woodland environment sensory play area.
Victoria Park Inclusive Play Space, Ballarat
With wheelchair friendly air-jumpers and a double flying fox, Ballarat’s Victoria Park Inclusive Play Space is 10,000 fenced square metres of award-winning fun. Additionally, the swings, spinners, water play, and slides allow everyone to enjoy a wide range of play experiences alongside or with others. The playground is designed with many safety features, including fencing with single point entry that helps protect children who may not be aware of road safety.
Nature Play at Royal Park, Parkville
Once voted Australia’s best playground, this unique, accessible, nature-based space features plants and play elements representing the seven Wurundjeri seasons, as a way to encourage discovery and understanding of Indigenous Melbourne. The natural wooden structures and wide paths and open spaces are designed to encourage creative play with stomping, splashing, cubby-building and rolling downhill all part of the fun to be had here. The location is not far from the Royal Children’s Hospital making it a great pre- or post-appointment stop off.
Pia’s Place, Whitman Park, Perth
Situated within the stunning Whiteman Park, Pia’s Place has inclusive play apparatus and a good amount of disabled parking. Accessible toilets can be found within the main restroom area, while a wheelchair-accessible platform near Pia’s play area allows easy boarding onto the tram.
Bibra Lake Regional Playground, Bibra Lake
This wonderful park features sensory play for the visually impaired and supportive seating on the flying fox, swings and seesaws. The playground also has a Changing Places restroom that includes a tracking hoist, a height adjustable adult sized changing bench, automatic doors and enough space for two carers.
The Adventure Park, Calista
Another destination that features a Changing Places, The Adventure Park has been inspired by the natural beauty of Kwinana, incorporating elements of the beautiful bushland, coastline and wetlands. It has been purpose-built to be inclusive and allow children of all ages and abilities to participate.
Accessible play equipment includes an awesome wheelchair accessible tree maze with options for inclusive play at all levels.