Ultimate Kid’s Play Day Out In Springfield
As any parent will attest, there’s no such thing as too many play options. We’re constantly searching for new, fun ways to wear out our little wildlings, and fortunately the Springfield and Ripley region has no shortage of free, public, all–ages, accessible playgrounds of world-class proportions.
We covered three that offer good times for the whole family – visit one or visit them all to create your own play day itinerary sure to have the kids contentedly in siesta mode the whole car ride home.
There’s not much in the way of water play that doesn’t appeal to our boys, so when we stumbled onto the zero-depth waterpark at Robelle Domain, their eyes instantly lit up. There’s a giant tipping bucket and water spouts, but as the ground is padded and there’s no deep pools for them to get in over their heads, I could easily still keep an eye on them while I stayed dry relaxing with a good coffee in hand at the adjacent cafe.
There’s an amazing amount of other rec facilities here to appeal to families too; a big modern playground area, exercise equipment, walking trails, BBQs and picnic tables, and acres of grass to roll around in – 24 hectares to be exact. It’s also a great spot to watch the sun go down with sound and light displays at dusk on the central oval.
The added bonus of so much open space is there’s lots of empty pathways for kids to practice their bike, scooter or skateboard skills, and even on busy weekends you can still find a spot to give kids a little quiet time if needed too – follow the walking track around the park to find lots of hidden picnic areas tucked away throughout the grounds.
As mentioned anything to do with water is sure to win over our little sea monkeys, so Orion Lagoon – situated right next door to Robelle Domain – was definitely on our hit list. This free public swimming haven features a series of pools interconnected to a larger central lagoon, with areas in a mix of depths between .3 meters (great for the little tykes) to 1.5 m (good for busting out a few strokes).
Onsite you’ll find lifeguards on duty, lockers to put away any valuables, showers and amenities, picnic and BBQ areas, and the popular Lagoon Café which does a brisk trade thanks to its great location. It offers locally roasted coffee and a variety of snack and meal options to savour while you laze poolside.
The Lagoon area is especially popular on weekends and holidays, so get there early if you’re hoping to secure a shady poolside spot, or save your visit for early morning or late afternoon if you’re seeking a more tranquil dip. We visited on a sunny Sunday afternoon and the place was humming with happy families completely set up for the day with their own shade tents and pool toys, but from 4pm onwards the crowd thinned and our boys were blissfully floating around enjoying the outlying pools completely to themselves.
OK, so the Splash’n’Play park is in Providence in South Ripley and isn’t technically in Springfield at all, but we’ve included it as if you’re heading to or from Ipswich CBD then this giant play area is on the way and just begging for a stopover! I use the word ‘giant’ not so much in terms of land mass but height; the skywalk rope climbing area and slides here look like you’d need a legit fairy tale beanstalk to access them.
They’re impressively monster-sized and sure to delight any little thrill seekers in your entourage. If that sounds daunting, never fear – smaller children and toddlers are also well catered for with zero depth water play areas and more petite-sized climb and play zones, all with ground safety padding. There are lots of shady spots to BBQ or picnic too, as well as a bustling café (Forty West) conveniently perched to overlook the play area.
While we didn’t sample the fare there, we definitely had food envy spying all the other diner’s meals while we were ordering our snacks and coffees. As soon as we arrived our boys bee-lined straight for the big yellow slides, suspended rope walkways and the flying fox, but later found a little cooling off was in order with a leisurely splash around the water arches and fountains.
With a full day’s play under their belt, our boys gave all three sites their coveted thumbs-up rating. Oh, and did we mention all three areas are free? With such a wealth of amazing play facilities, a day in Springfield (via Ripley!) is the passport to a great family outing on any sized budget.