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Melbourne Zoo Growing Wild area wins Kidsafe design award

Melbourne Zoo Growing Wild area wins Kidsafe design award
October 22, 2014

The Kidsafe National Playspace Design Awards have recognised the Growing Wild area at Melbourne Zoo.

The $3.8 million Growing Wild project, which took three years to build, features sandpits, tunnels for children to crawl through and life-sized giant tortoise shells. The project was designed by Jeavons Landscape Architects.

Melbourne Zoo spokeswoman Judith Henke told The Age that the area was designed to encourage "mirrored play", stating "it's all about creating nice play opportunities for the children that actually mirror the activities of the animals.

"It's important to give kids learning opportunities and involve them in the natural world (and it allows) children to play and interact with the zoo's animals."

Melbourne Zoo was one of three Kidsafe Victorian winners in the Public Playspaces category. The others were the Bendigo Botanic Gardens Heritage Playspace (City of Greater Bendigo) and Bollygum Adventure Playground (Murrindindi Shire Council).

Celebrated in Melbourne Zoo’s Growing Wild area yesterday (21st October) Kidsafe Victoria President Erica Edmands added "it is important that playspaces are designed to provide children with the opportunity to develop, challenge themselves and test their skills in a safe environment.

"Safe play does not have to be boring, as is demonstrated in the exciting playspaces receiving awards."

The Kidsafe National Playspace Design Awards recognise excellence and innovation in the provision of safe, creative play spaces.

Other award recipients included:

Public Playspaces 
Category A: Playspaces up to $500,000 
Winner
- City of Greater Bendigo - Bendigo Botanic Gardens Heritage Playspace Project (Victoria)
Highly Commended - Jeavons Landscape Architects & City of Darebin - Merri Park Playground Project (Victoria)
Highly Commended - Josh Byrne and Associates & City of Busselton - Yallingup Play Space Project (Western Australia)

Category B: Playspaces $500,000 to $1 million
Winner
- Jeavons Landscape Architects & Murrindindi Shire Council - Bollygum Adventure Playground Project (Victoria)
Highly Commended - Aspect Oculus & City of Melbourne with Lend Lease - Buluk Park Playspace Project (Victoria)
Highly Commended - GroupGSA in association with Ric McConaghy & Western Sydney Parklands Trust (NSW)

Category C: Playspaces $1 million upwards
Winner
- Jeavons Landscape Architects & Melbourne Zoo - Melbourne Zoo Growing Wild Project (Victoria)
Highly Commended - ASPECT Studios & Renewal SA - Port Adelaide Renewal: Hart’s Mill Surrounds Project (South Australia)

The Leycester Meares Bequest Award
Special Recognition - Urban Landscape Projects & Balgowlah North Public School (NSW)

Innovative Design Elements 
Winner
- The Gardenmakers & Bondi Public School - Bondi Public School Project featuring climbing walls, tunnels and rope courses along with Well-designed shade areas
Highly Commended - Tract Consultants with Honeyweather and Speight & Victoria C4 P/L, circa 1886 Grotto Project (Victoria)

Schools    
Winner - Jeremy Ferrier Landscape Architect, Eureka Landscapes, Urban Play & Anglican Church Grammar School (Queensland)
Highly Commended - Inclusive through Design & Auburn Public School (NSW)

Education and Care Services
Winner
- James Nash Landscape Architect & Casino West Little Jarjum Preschool (NSW)
Highly Commended - Outerspace Landscape Architects & SA Department of Education and Child Development (South Australia)
Highly Commended - Tessa Rose Playspace & Landscape Design & SDN Children’s Services (NSW)

Commenting on the biennial Awards, Kidsafe NSW Executive Officer Christine Erskine added “we received entries from all around the country and are proud to announce the winners of the 2014 National Playspace Design Awards on National Kidsafe Day.”

Charles Darwin University Lecturer in Primary Teaching and Learning, Dr Brendon Hyndman describes a ‘good’ playground as “an environment that children can invent play activities and use more places.

“It is difficult for children to be creative, social and imaginative within bleak, plain surfaced areas. A playground should be place for ‘doing’, ‘thinking’, ‘feeling’ and ‘being’.

“If children fail to engage in high quality and challenging childhood play, a capacity to develop a range of key life skills could be diminished.”

Click here for more information.

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30th May 2014 - Kings Park expert advises that risk is good for children

25th October 2012 - National Playspace Design Awards winners announced

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