There are four different water play features within the Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden within the Royal Botanic Gardens in
Melbourne. Soon after passing through the child-proof gate you will see the spiral fountain squirting up from the ground. This is
an area of open space with a spiral pattern on the ground scattered with water jets that spurt upwards about one metre in height.
Kids can run across the open space and put their hands and feet on the jets, which are randomly timed to squirt from different places
around the spiral. With younger kids fascinated by the little holes that provide the source of water, watch that they don't
get squirted in the eyes. Older kids can also get a bit aggressive here as they fight to touch the water, so consider moving to
the other water features if your child is being pushed around here. If you are here early, there are benches around the spiral
fountain that you can sit on and watch while your child runs wild around the fountain.
Above: The stone moat that runs around the edge of the sand pit
Venture further into the Children's Garden to set up a base on the manicured lawn under one of the large shady trees. Along
the edge of the lawn you will find the ankle deep stream, which meanders around for about 20 metres from the beehive fountain
upstream, down to the sandpit moat and a little pond downstream.
No entry is permitted into the fenced off deeper section of the
little pond. The stream is lined with pebble mix, so you can walk up and down its length. The channel has been shaped at different
widths so that it runs subtly deeper and faster in some sections than others. Grab a leaf off the ground for some exciting boat races or
just sit with you and your toddler's feet in the gently flowing water.
Above: Kids clambering to get their hands on the water spurting from the beehive pile of volcanic rocks
The moat downstream is lined with real pebbles on a sandy bed. It runs around the sand pit. With a bucket and spade you can
carry sand back and forth from the moat to the sand pit and vice versa. The beehive fountain upstream has a rough surface to it, so
probably best to hold onto new toddlers as they explore this fountain. Older pre-schoolers were actively climbing over it when I visited.
Apart from the water features there is plenty to explore in the Children's Garden and in the broader Botanic Gardens. If you have
a car park of suitable duration, you could easily spend a full morning or afternoon here.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Birdwood Ave, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, 2 km south of the Melbourne CBD
Getting there: By car, access Birdwood Ave either by Domain Road or Linlithgow Ave. Look for a spot
near Gate F or the Observatory. Read the parking signs carefully as it is free on one side of the
road only. By tram take any tram down St.Kilda Rd (3, 3a, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67 or 72) and
hop off at the Shrine of Rememberance. From the tram stop walk 300 metres east, past the
shrine and the observatory. The Children's Garden is around to the right, shortly after the observatory.
General facilities: Public toilets, benches, lawns, car parking, kiosk.
Baby change facilities: Located in the visitor centre directly to the west or at the Oak Lawn toilets to the east
of the Children's Garden
Sun shade: Shade available at some of the water features and on parts of the lawn. No shade available at the
sand pit moat.
Entrance fee: Not applicable.
Opening times: The Chidren's Garden beehive fountain and stream is turned on 10am-4pm daily. The spiral
fountain is also turned from 10am-4pm daily, but only when the forecast temperature is 25 degrees or more. The
Children's Garden is open 10am to sunset on all days except Mondays and Tuesdays during school terms. There is
no access for 8 weeks in winter after the end of the July school holidays. The botanic gardens are closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day.
Wheelchair access: Generally accessible to wheelchairs including wheelchair accessible toilets at the two nearest
toilet facilities and disabled parking spots near Gate F (2) and near the Observatory (2), either side of the
Prohibitions: No bikes, no scooters, no ball games, no roller blading, no skateboarding, no climbing trees,
no jogging, no feeding the birds, no barbecues. No dogs permitted in the Children's Garden.
Managing authority: Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Nearby attractions: The rest of the botanic gardens
Before you head out, make sure to read the water safety information
The marker indicates the location of the Ian Potter Childrens Garden within the Royal Botanic Gardens.
If you would like to leave a comment about this shallow water play area, please fill in the comment box below.
I'm particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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© Brad Neal 2017. All rights reserved.