Last Updated on April 12, 2021 by worldoftravelswithkids
Kings Park Playgrounds are an awesome place for visitors, and locals, to enjoy an Australian bush experience in an iconic location. After many much time spent in the amazing Kings Park Playgrounds, we have compiled this bumper guide to which playgrounds might suit you best. Keep in mind that these playgrounds have several names each, which makes it more confusing. We help you out by explaining that the Synergy Parkland is the same thing as the May Drive Parkland, which is also known as the Synergy Playground. Or… my kids just refer to it as the Dinosaur Playground Kings Park!!!
In addition having a fun time at a Kings Park playground it is worth noting there are a lot of things to do in Kings Park Perth WA and we have covered that in our guide to Kings Park with Kids.
We absolutely love spending time in lovely Kings Park Perth and we know you will too!
Which is the best playground Kings Park?
I know, you just want to know what is the best playground Kings Park!!! Well, just as every family is different you will also find that the Kings Park playgrounds are all different and meet different needs and interests.
In fact, as your family grows, you will find that you like different playgrounds. This is an estimate of the ages we recommend.
Under 5: Ivey Watson Playground
Age 6-10: May Drive Parkland/ Synergy Playground
Saw Avenue Playground/ Variety Place Playground
Ages 7+ (right through to teens): Rio Tinto Naturescape
May Drive Parkland (formerly Synergy Parkland Kings Park)
Names: Synergy Parkland, May Drive Parkland, Synergy Playground, Dinosaur Playground
The Synergy playground and BBQ area is best for 6 years and up. You step back to a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth… and not just any dinosaurs, these are Australia mega-fauna! The kids can either play on the challenging playground equipment or engage in the great educational information about prehistoric times!
Our personal favourite is the gorgeous Lycopod Island, with a water feature in summer and lots of fun playing all year round. This is a great water playground for hot days – so don’t forget to take a change of clothes. Then cross the bridge and step back into the Palaeozoic Period where there are a number of dinosaurs to climb the wooden tree top walkway are over 75m long and keep little legs running for ample time!
Synergy Parkland is an excellent place to burn off energy or have a BBQ at the end of a long day. If you didn’t bring a barbie, there is also Zamia Café on site. It is open until 4:30pm on weekdays and 5pm on weekends. Zamia Café is one of our favourite Kings Park Café.
May Drive Parkland is also the location of the Summer Outdoor Cinema in Kings Park which runs over the summer months, starting in November. For more information, look at the Moonlight Cinema website https://www.moonlight.com.au/perth/program/
Visiting Notes – Synergy Parkland Kings Park
- There are a number of BBQ sites available but fill up early in the evening.
- With open water all around in this playground if you are taking very small children you need to keep a close eye on them!
How to get to Synergy Parkland Kings Park
May Drive Parkland is located on the the western side of Kings Park and you can access May Drive either from Saw Avenue or Poole Avenue.
Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park
Other names: simply Naturescape Kings Park, or Rio Tinto Playground
There are awesome playgrounds, and then there is the Rio Tinto Naturescape. Naturescape Kings Park takes adventure playgrounds to a whole new level. Apart from running out of superlatives, I can’t believe that such a place exists – and is free – smack bang in the middle of the city. This is our favourite of the Kings Park playgrounds.
Oh, did I mention this is an amazing playground. I have never, in all my travels around the world, seen something that quite captures the imagination like the Rio Tinto Naturescape.
For both city folk – and international visitors – this is a wonderful place to experience a little bit of the Australian bush, in a challenging but fun play setting.
This is one of the few playgrounds I have ever arrived at that warns you to participate at your own risk. I love it!
There is a great aboriginal dreaming theme through the stories of the ideas, climb high on the Bungarra or the Python, or have a great time getting caught up in the Tangle. Without a doubt, our favourite is the Waterhole… but in general all the different activities are great – and get kids having the best fun outdoors!
The Rio Tinto Playground was entirely suitable for our 5 year old, and a wonderful environment for older kids’ right through to teens who seemed to thrive in the challenging atmosphere. This is a playground where adults and kids participate together, while enjoying the bush.
If we were to pick ONE playground to visit in Kings Park, this would be it! However, we only recommend it for children aged 5 up. Especially international visitors will love the chance to have this taste of the Aussie bush in the middle of the city – for free.
Visiting Notes – Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park
The Rio Tinto Naturescape has OPENING HOURS, from 9am to 4pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays, all of February and on very high fire danger days.
Numbers of visitors are controlled to the Rio Tinto Naturescape and they do close entry if they are at capacity. If you are planning on visiting in a large group you do need to book in advance or you may be refused entry. The site is open Tuesday – Sunday (closed Mondays) 9.00am – 4.00pm. Rio Tinto Naturescape is closed for the whole of February due to the risk of fire to the area.
- Remember in the hot summer months – December through February – this playground will be hot and sticky from 10 am to 3pm.
- Kids should wear old clothes, as this is truly an adventure playground.
- Take a change of clothes should they get wet in the creek or billabong.
- Mumma’s don’t wear short skirts if you want to go climbing with the kids, and practical shoes are necessary too!
- Hats and sunscreen are a must at any playground, but particularly this one.
- There are no BBQ facilities and no picnic tables; this is not a place for leisurely lunches, but to get dirty and up close with nature.
How to get to the Rio Tinto Naturescape
The main entrance to the Naturescape is located on May Drive in Kings Park, you can access it via Fraser Avenue, Saw Avenue or Poole Avenue, Kings Park.
Also, of the Kings Park Playgrounds this one is easily accessible by public transport. Get off at the Wadjuk Way Kings Park War Memorial Stop and then walk about 100m to the main entrance.
Ivey Watson Playground
Other names: Lotterywest Playground
Specifically designed for under 5 year olds, the Ivey Watson Playground is another excellent playground in Kings Park Perth WA. Like all the other Kings Park playgrounds, this is one of the best playgrounds in Perth, especially if you have a small child.
To start with, the age distinction of being under-fives means that there is a very different vibe and feel about the playground. All the equipment is suitable and challenging for a small child, and there is no risk of larger children bowling over your tottering toddler.
A lovely wooden ship and house with stained glass windows kept our littles occupied for a long time.
The Ivey Watson Playground is highly recommended if all your children are under 5 especially as it is a fenced playground.
Kings Park Lotterywest Family Area
While the Ivey Watson Playground is best for littlies, what do you do when you have a family with a range of ages? The Lotterywest Family Area comes into play.
While not as exciting as some of the other dedicated playgrounds, the Lotterywest Family area includes the Hale Oval, which has a very cool space net, lots of grass for throwing the ball, and a ‘learn to ride bicycle path.’
As a point of interest, Hale Oval has been used as a playground and sportsground since 1897 and the Royal Kings Park Tennis Club is one of the oldest tennis clubs in the southern hemisphere.
Of course, everyone can enjoy Stickybeaks Café, which is very large – it’s menu is fast and friendly as you can imagine for a Café right beside a toddler friendly playground. Expect tasty burgers, chips and sandwiches… as well as ice-cream and coffee.
There is a large café, Sticky Beaks, as well as a large soft fall picnic area and plenty of green grass where you can bring your own picnics. Of the Kings Park Café, this is the most oriented to families so you can relax knowing that your cherubs are not disturbing the other diners.
Visiting Notes – Ivey Watson Playground/Lotterywest Family Area
- You need to access this playground from Kings Park Road, not Kings Park itself.
- It is open from 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week.
- It is absolutely packed on the weekends. If you have shy kids, (as our first was) they might be daunted by all the other kids.
- It is fenced, which means it is a quite different experience than the other playgrounds.
How to get to the Kings Park Lotterywest Playground & Family Area
It is important to know that access to the Ivey Watson playground is not from within Kings Park! You access it from Kings Park Road, one of the main roads that runs around the edge of the park. If you are taking public transport, take a bus that runs down Kings Park road and ask to get off at Kings Park Rd before Outram St.
Variety Place Playground
Other names: Saw Avenue Playground/Picnic Area
Variety Place Playground is located on Saw Avenue in Kings Park, and of the Kings Park playgrounds is probably the least popular. In fact, this might be because it is one of the earlier playgrounds, first constructed in 1974 by Ernst Wittwer using natural materials. At the time this was quite ground-breaking (when playgrounds were all plastic and metal). The latest nature inspired play area was created with the assistance of Variety, the Children’s Charity of WA.
In the same vein as the other Kings Park Playgrounds, it is a wonderful nature-baseded playground. There is a maze made out of metal, a hill of tunnels, and an awesome wire cage which can provide plenty of enjoyment.
My kids really enjoyed playing in the fort and because it isn’t so busy, play a lot in the lookout/fort. They also enjoyed the Balance beams a lot.
There are also toilets and barbecues on site.
How to get to the Variety Place Playground.
The Variety Place Playground and Picnic Area are located just off Saw Avenue, which runs off Thomas Road, Subiaco. You have just entered Kings Park when you see it, and I just pulled up onto the grass as I didn’t see any formalised parking nearby.
Kings Park DNA Tower
A fun place for a quirky stop is the DNA Tower Kings Park. Technically this is not a Kings Park playground, but our kids treat it like it is.
The tower has a total of 101 steps (see if you can get them to count them!) to a height of 15 metres. There are several platforms as you climb up – the parents will likely need a breather but my kids ran straight up.
At the top of the DNA Tower Kings Park you get views in all directions, not only over Kings Park but out to the Swan River as well.
The DNA Tower was built in the late 1960’s but I always feel that it is futuristic. It’s a fun climb to the top for views around Perth. Yes, it is named for the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) double-helix molecule and no, we haven’t got to explain that one to the kids yet! (There is a great interpretative sign at the bottom).
The DNA Tower is free to climb, and there is no one manning it.
How to get to the Kings Park DNA Tower
The DNA Tower is located on the Swan River side of the Park (as opposed to all of the Playgrounds Kings Park mentioned above that are on the inland side.) If you follow Forrest Drive you will see it just after the Pioneer Women’s Fountains and large grassed area. We just pulled over quickly as there is a small car park in front of it.
If you are enjoying Synergy Parkland (aka the Dinosaur Playground) you can look up and see the DNA Tower a little distance away… the grassy area that leads away from the DNA Tower is called The Boardwalk and it is located 1.5km from the Synergy Playground.
Playground Kings Park – the Park itself
I thought it was mentioning that Kings Park itself is one giant kid’s playground! We have covered the best things to do in Kings Park in our companion post, A guide to Kings Park Perth. However it is worth saying that Kings Park Perth is one giant, nature based playground that most kids love. I mean, mine have a ball in many parts.
These are some ‘not to be missed’ things to do in Kings Park Perth!
Kings Park Tree Top Walk (Lotterywest Federation Walkway)
We all love the Kings Park Tree Top Walk (we call it that because of the similarities to Western Australia’s other Tree Top Walk (link to post)
The formal name is the Lotterywest Federation Walkway, which starts at ground level but quickly head up to a highest point of 16metres, with fabulous views out to the Swan River.
The aerial section of the aerial part of the Kings Park Tree Top Walk is 222 metres including the 52 metre bridge. It is accessible by wheelchair m accessible though people might need pushing at the top. It is also suitable for prams.
The Whispering Wall
It wasn’t until I was researching this post that I learned that only Perth folk knew the long curved wall at the State War Memorial as the Whispering Wall. In essence, have one kid sit at one end of the wall and another on the other end, about 25 metres away. When they whisper, it is like you are right next door to each other.
How does the Whispering Wall work? I have no idea, but give it a go … but keep in mind that this is right next to the Flame of Remembrance so don’t let the kids go too crazy as this is a very solemn place.
Pioneer Women’s Memorial and Water Pavilion Garden
The fountains at the Pioneers Women’s Memorial operate in a 3 minute dancing sequence… getting bigger and bigger during the cycle. My kids love to watch it, it keeps them still for at least 6 minutes (two cycles!) Just below the Women’s Memorial Grassed areas there is the ‘Water Pavilion Garden’ which has all sorts of nooks and crannies, rocks and climbing areas. It is just like a nature based playground and my kids treated it so! Keep in mind that this area is not for toddlers… or at least you should supervise very carefully!
Logistics of Visiting Kings Park Perth
The War Memorial and Botanic Garden area are accessible by the Blue Cat public transport bus (it is free). The Blue Cat goes around the western end of Perth city and its route includes Kings Park. It leaves every 15 minutes throughout the day.
If you are self-driving is also significant parking available!
Accommodation Near Kings Park Perth
Quest Kings Park – A great serviced apartment located on the outskirts of Kings Park and only a 2 minute drive from the CBD. These are very nice hotel style rooms. Check here for the latest rates to stay at Quest Kings Park.
The Peninsula Riverside Apartments – These serviced apartments are a great option for family accomodations in Perth. It is located directly across the penisula from Kings Park and only a 5 minute walk to Perth Zoo. For people who are arriving in Perth via car, this ia a great place to stay as it offers free parking. Check here for the latest rates to stay at The Peninsula Riverside Apartments.
Mounts Bay Waters Apartment Hotel – This hotel is located on the outer edge of Kings Park. It is also a short walk to Barrack Street Jetty where you catch the ferry to Rottnest Island. A great family accomodation as it offers self-contained, apartment style accomodations. Check here for the latest rates to stay at Mounts Bay Waters Apartment Hotel.
The Verdict – Kings Park Playgrounds
Without a doubt the Playgrounds in Kings Park are some of the best in Perth. They are extremely creative, unique and engage children in imaginative play. It would be hard to conclude which playground is the best as they are all very different and targeted to children of different ages. All we can say is – a playground Kings Park is not an experience that you will forget anytime soon! Enjoy!
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