The City of Parramatta’s first all-inclusive playground and water play park opened at Ollie Webb Reserve a few weeks ago, so we popped along to take a look. Judging by the many families still enjoying the facilities at 6pm, the $1.8 million playground is proving a draw card in the area.
Ollie Webb Reserve is a regional sized playground. With its many lovely features its truly a destination park, meaning it’s worth organising an outing around this park.
BJ is past playgrounds now, but after so many years of not being able to access activities in parks, I can’t resist taking a look at a new inclusive playground.
OUR FAVOURITE FEATURES AT OLLIE WEBB RESERVE
At first glance the large climbing structures dominate the park but on closer inspection, lovely accessible features have been included in the design. My absolute favourite is the elevated sandpit. For those needing to stay in their wheelchair, this is the only way to access a sandpit and this design means they can play side-by-side with their peers.
It also means a parent who is a wheelchair user can take their child to the park and play alongside them in the sandpit. And what a lovely big sandpit it is. Plenty of room for everyone to play.
On hot summer’s days there’s nothing better than cooling off with water play and this playground has some great opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Water troughs are placed at varying heights for access to the water pump and locks.
Admittedly splash parks are difficult with regular wheelchairs unless you cover the chair in plastic but BJ has enjoyed them in the past. We’ve covered BJ’s chair in a large garbage bag before so he could have fun and also taken his beach wheelchair to a splash park when going with friends.
For younger children and those that can get out of a wheelchair, there’s a lovely ground level water play area. This is a nice alternative to the splash park and a quieter area of the park.
BJ always loved slides but the stairs to get him to the top eventually got too much for us. For this reason it thrills me to see ramp access to the slides at Ollie Webb Reserve.
It means a child can easily reach the top of the slide and then be transferred from their chair to the slide. Obviously this requires someone at the top and the bottom of the slide to ensure support at either end but it’s lovely for kid to have the access and the option.
A sway rocker has ramp access and is large enough to accommodate a wheelchair user.
An accessible carousel is always a popular feature. I prefer the larger ones so a person in a wheelchair doesn’t dominate the carousel but it’s good to have one so no-one misses out on the fun.
The park has a range of swings including a nest swing and the more supportive swing seat below. I’d like to see a belt on this one to make it accessible to children who need securing into a seat.
For mobile children there’s a range of climbing structures, tunnels to explore, in-ground trampolines and lots more.
If you’re looking at making a day of it at Ollie Webb Reserve, there’s great facilities in place to help make that easier. Accessible parking, toilets and barbecues are all available.
A Changing Places style bathroom facility is at the park with hoist access and an adult-sized height adjustable change table.
Grab rails are fitted throughout, a shower bench and hand-held shower is installed.
I particularly like the privacy screen which can be put in place in front of the toilet. This is a thoughtful inclusion for people being supported who may wish to have some privacy.
It’s lovely to have natural light filling the bathroom.
I am concerned the facility is not MLAK key locked. While this is helpful to people visiting without a key, it also means the bathroom is used by everyone, meaning a person with a disability may need to wait to use the facility. We saw this happening during our visit.
Several accessible car parking spaces are available in front of the park. A sign of particularly good planning is the accessible bus parking spaces.
As I was restricted in the photos I could take with the many kids on the equipment, I thought I’d share the Parramatta Council video of the opening. It gives a great overview of the range of equipment and the design behind the park.
Ollie Webb Reserve is located on Glebe Street Parramatta.
It’s fantastic to see the growing number of accessible playgrounds being built around the world. You can read about more we’ve visited here.