Combining nature play with water
Taking just 5 weeks to complete, the new Wangaratta Water Playgound marks a new direction for WFBD in water park design which combines elements of aquatic play with nature play to provide a more engaging, challenging and diverse play experience. We call it our "Nature Splash" range of park options.
The Wangaratta Park serves as both a water playground and nature play space and offers year round use with the option to disable the water play functions during the cooler months.
Researchers at the University of WA have found that natural playgrounds provide children with more opportunities than typical pre-formed playgrounds to develop gross-motor skills.
In view of this research and the Council's request for a "mountain and valley" themed play space, the park was designed to include natural elements such as rock, timber and water because children who play in natural settings play in more diverse, imaginative and creative ways and show improved language and collaboration skills. Single use, repetitive play equipment - as found in a traditional playground - becomes boring quickly.
The Wangaratta water park incorporates climbable mountains of terraced rock and fort-mounted water cannons, natural log steps, cascading waterfalls, misting tunnels, random ground geysers, rocky spillways, enclosed slides, overhead showers, giant dumper buckets and leaf races.
The park also includes a Toddler Corner complete with adjustable water mushrooms, gentle ground sprays and a decanting feature which allows the littlies to fill and tip a series of cups from gently trickling fountains.
Children benefit greatly from unstructured play, particularly make-believe play. And kids are far more creative in natural play spaces than on the typical flat playground of old. They are far more likely to invent their own games in natural places and the addition of water makes it even more fun!
The park opened in early November to record crowds and has proved a firm favourite with local children and tourists alike.
30 Major Water Park projects across WA, Vic, NT, QLD and NSW.