Date posted: 13 April 2021
Families can now delight in an exciting new nature-themed playspace in Blackwood’s Wittunga Botanic Garden, which was officially opened today.
Designed in collaboration with students from Blackwood Primary School, the accessible playground embraces the botanical world and celebrates Aboriginal culture.
Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium Director, Dr Lucy Sutherland, said children will have fun as they learn about nature and biodiversity through play and exploration.
“The playspace provides experiences for children that will naturally convert into educational learning opportunities – whether it’s through the bespoke climbing frames that represent a protea, bottlebrush and gum nut, the ribbed musical frog or the many other immersive play areas.
“Incorporated into the design are also 500 new plants which showcase the similarities between flora found in Australia and South Africa – neighbouring countries when Gondwanaland was one huge landmass.
“The new playspace is a marvellous destination within the garden where families can enjoy the attractive botanical surroundings, spend time with one another and nurture their physical and mental wellbeing,” Dr Sutherland said.
Funding from the Adelaide City Deal - a partnership between the Australian and State Governments helped deliver the $320,000 playground.
Other recent upgrades to Wittunga Botanic Garden from the $750,000 Adelaide City Deal include improvements to the lake’s beach which has provided splash play opportunities for children, an accessible lake viewing platform and a trail around the lake’s perimeter. There are more developments to be completed by June 2021.
Visitors to Wittunga Botanic Garden can currently enjoy extended opening hours of 8.30am until 5pm every day as part of a one year trial.
To find out more about Wittunga Botanic Garden, visit https://www.botanicgardens.sa.gov.au/visit/wittunga-botanic-garden
What’s in the playground?
Flower and nut cubbies incorporate sliding and climbing opportunities, as well as giving great views over the garden.
The dry billabong provides a rich natural environment with reeds, rocks and pebbles that allow children to develop gross motor skills through loose parts play. The reeds in the billabong will connect to Kaurna heritage; the Kaurna meaning of Wittunga comes from a reference to reeds.
On Frog Island, visitors can experiment with music through a ribbed frog, construct a traditional wodli (house).
An in-ground wheelchair trampoline will delight children with accessibility needs.
A basket swing, strap and toddler swings are available.
Grown-ups can get into a playful mood too, with a super-sized park bench.
Gross motor skills can also be honed on the log scramble.
A Rock mound with play tunnel and path access over the tunnel allows for elevated views across the garden.
A dedicated lawn provides kick-about play opportunities.
An accessible picnic setting and pod decks for seating
Structural plant beds to celebrate planting themes that support biodiversity and sensory experiences.
The playground is fenced from Shepherds Hill Road but open to the rest of Wittunga Botanic Garden.
The playground is appropriate for children aged from 2-12 years old.
Some shade is provided by mature trees and more will come over time from new trees that have been planted.
Toilets and change tables are available on site.
Drinking water is available on site to fill up water bottles.
Parking is available and public transport links include Coromandel train stop and buses. Blackwood is a five to ten minute walk away (please note there is a slight incline from Wittunga to Blackwood centre).
Who designed the playground?
The playground was designed by Peter Semple landscape architect, with active input from children at Blackwood Primary school, which is adjacent to Wittunga Botanic Garden.