123 High Street,
This Winter I’m doing a little series highlighting some of my favourite shopping centre playgrounds; this week I’m off to Cranbourne. The shopping centre itself is on the smaller side, but the playground is not on the main strip. To find it follow the signs for The Reject Shop…and don’t forget to grab your coffee on the way.
The main reason I love this place is because it caters really well to really young crawlers/pulling up to stand kids, all the way through to maybe late primary school age. Even better is the young stuff is soooo young that the big kids don’t bother with it, and the big kid’s bit is too hard so it keeps the younger ones away…perfect!
The playground is heavily themed with Australian animals and natural colour tones, as are the general kid areas throughout the shopping centre (kids tables in food court, parents room etc). We saw Santa at this shopping centre last year, and even our Santa gift followed the same theming…that’s dedication from the North Pole!
The younger half of the playground includes frog, a wallaby with a tunnel, and a snake as climbing structures. Despite the fact they don’t “do” anything kids seem to get a lot of fun out of climbing and sliding all over them. There is a large interactive TV screen which Missy Moo loves. It has three games which are very simple, even for a toddler. She has been able to play at this activity without me probably since about 20 months old.
There is also a few activities on the walls that are engaging and really great for little kids. Things to spin, elements to flip, and everything is really clean and in great condition.
For big kids you have this epic rope climbing area. It’s beauty is that you can’t get to the slide unless you can climb ropes…so naturally smaller children just can’t do it (see the pair of legs in there?) As I said earlier, I love this natural segregation. Underneath the top of the slide is a little cubby hole, so you’ll often find toddlers wistfully gazing up at the “big kids” from there.
So… everything looks pretty good, but there’s a major let down…fencing, or should I say lack of. When this playground was first built I actually asked management about fences and they said unfortunately parents may leave children unattended in a fenced environment. As it is we often find children unattended in not only this playground, but actually almost every shopping centre playground we visit…sad but true.
What makes this fencing situation worse is that there are two exits and you can’t see them both easily at the same time, so if you have a runner you won’t be able to sit and keep a look out.
Also…see those gaps in the fence posts? Missy Moo can get between them so essentially has unlimited exits. Now mostly she doesn’t go through them unless we’ve been here for a little while and she gets bored, but heads up a small toddler will fit.
If you get the opportunity to sit down though there is plenty of seating and a pram parking area just outside the play space, to allow for a bit more room for kids to run.
Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre have regular events for kids every second Tuesday too, and also school holiday activities coming up.
Over the next two weeks I’d recommend checking out
- Toddler Tuesdays (July 4th)
Held at Theobroma Chocolate lounge you will get free story time and activities for kids, and a free hot drink for parents. There is also a small fenced play area too.
- Meet Elmo and Cookie Monster
As part of the school holidays visit the shopping centre between July 10-14th to meet your favourite Sesame Street stars!
So overall we love this place, and visit often with a coffee or a boost juice in hand. I give it an 8/10, but would be an easy 10 if the fencing situation was improved. Personally I think even just to block one entrance with a gate would make the world of difference, as then you would only need to watch one exit, not two. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.
Check out other shopping centre playground we’ve visited here.