Shopping centre playgrounds used to be a dime a dozen, but then a shift happened and the shopping centres tied to position themselves as high-class “destinations” and the thought of having children playing on a playground mustn’t have gone hand in hand with that brand position, as suddenly it became harder and harder to find a playground within a shopping centre.
But there are still some great ones around, and these shopping centres have positioned themselves as family friendly centres where you can comfortably spend the day shopping, dining and playing. So here’s my round up of the 5 best shopping centre playgrounds on the Gold Coast.
1. Westfield Coomera – The Backyard
Accessible from both inside the shopping centre or the carpark directly, The Backyard, Coomera Westfield sits alongside Cafe63, meaning parents can easily grab a takeaway coffee and hit the playground with their kids. There are 2 play areas:
– A 1 – 4 years play zone: a ‘fallen log’ immersive sensory zone entertaining children with tactile, auditory and visual experiences. The fallen log includes cubby and hiding spaces, sound tubes, a playful tunnel experience and slippery slide. This play area is gated, although part of the fencing is a low bench seat and some kids may be able to escape, but it definitely slows the runners down.
– A 4 – 8 years play zone: a fun-filled obstacle course providing imaginative and adventure play. The space includes numerous balance and climbing experiences, trampolines, swings and a spiral slide.
The real highlight of The Backyard, particularly on hot Gold Coast summer days, is the water play area! Designed for kids of all ages, but definitely catering more towards under 7’s, this cool oasis really makes you forget that you’re in a shopping centre. Kids can splash in ankle to knee deep water, pump the water pumps, dodge squirting frogs, spin water wheels and explore the winding streams of water. Perfectly designed to protect the kiddies, it features big shade sails and grassy banks, and has deck chairs for the adults.
2. Westfield Helensvale – Forest adventure
Westfield Helensvale custom designed, forest themed adventure playground is a fave with the kids. Situated next to the food court (but outdoors), there is a purpose designed kids sanctuary!
Featuring treetop towers, enclosed rope canopy walk among the trees and a curly slide, little Tarzan’s and Jane’s will be delighted. Toddlers haven’t been forgotten, with little explorers able to climb their own miniature treetop houses or crawl within the pink caterpillar bug in an age appropriate zone. For those who speed, spinning, or swinging appeals more, they can conquer the multispinner, seesaw or pendulum swing.
3. Pacific Fair – Play Street
Pacific Fair’s Play Street is an example of how a shopping centre with a “high class” brand can still create fun for the kids! Featuring a high climb course, giant slide and interactive toddler room, Play Street is located near Krispy Kreme and Crema Espresso.
For the little ones, there is an additional play area located on Level 1 near Big W and EMF Junior, featuring a small slide and wooden interactive play panels. A second play area is on Level 1 near Target. Soon a new small play area will be added on Ground Floor, outside picnic area near Priceline Pharmacy.
4. Robina Town Centre – TreeTop Play
Robina Town Centre’s Tree Top Play area sits near The Kitchens end of the centre, just near the Myer entry. It’s perfect for little ones to burn of energy while exploring the enchanted tree, and mum or dad can enjoy a cuppa from Crema Espresso next door. The play space includes wooden bridges, pebbled paths, a slide, ride on ladybugs and interactive panels with games.
5. Stockland Burleigh – Retro Beach playscape
Proving you don’t need to have the backing of a massive shopping centre brand behind you to impress with a play area, Stockland Burleigh Shopping Centre has hit the mark with their retro beach themed set up located near Big W. The interactive ice cream truck, the Combie van, caravan kitchen, tent and underwater area are all framed by towering pine trees, each of which allude to the area’s history. The seascape texture wall features beautiful mosaics, artfully composed to represent the plentiful local ocean life. The tactile pieces are designed to invite the touch of curious little hands, allowing for the kids to engage with the space on a sensory level. While the playground is not enclosed, it has been designed with busy parents in mind with only one entry and exit point, providing easy supervision throughout. Games and puzzles are embedded within the space, providing social and roleplay opportunities.