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Margaret Mahy Playground, Christchurch
Splash parks in New Zealand

This is one of my favourite free splash parks in the world because of its huge selection of water play opportunities, its central location in the city, its ability to contintue to captivate after dark, its equally fun and diverse dry playground, and some unique pressurised gas squirters that I have not seen anywhere else. Margaret Mahy Playground Above: The illuminated splash pad at Margaret Mahy Family Playground (Order this image)

The water features at the park are engaging and diverse over a large area. The first feature that caught my attention was the splash pad, which had more than a dozen individual water jets, a few ground-level sprinklers, as well as some taller overhead sprinklers.
The floor was a swirl of light blue that also had some coloured lights embedded into the concrete floor. For parents and carers, there was plenty of seating set back in a circle around the splash pad to keep an eye on your children. Margaret Mahy Playground Above: The troughs, pumps and water channels at Margaret Mahy Family Playground (Order this image)

The playground also boasted a layered mound with various pumps, troughs, water wheels, sluice gates and Archimedes screws at different heights, which poured water into shallow channels that ran along the floor of the playground.
The most interesting feature for me were the gas-powered pumps that pushed out a surge of water into the channel accompanied by the slightly startling sound of gas loudly being expelled. The gas takes a few moments to recharge before the button can be pressed again to startle the next passer-by.

Beyond the fantastic water play features, the rest of the playground is also super fun, with my favourite being the wide slide at the top of the hill that you can slide down together as a family or as a group of friends. There is also a tall slide, a sandpit and various swings and other slides. If you are visiting Christchurch with young kids, this is a must-visit park.
Other Information Before You Go:
Location: Margaret Mahy Family Playground, 200 Armagh St, Christchurch Central City
Latitude:-43.528496 Longitude:172.640788
Getting there: The playground is in the city centre on the southern bank of the Avon River / Otakaro. For anyone arriving by car, there are car parks at either end of the playground. Bus routes 5 and 7 run along Gloucester St, one block south of the playground. There are bike racks for those arriving by bicycle.

Facilities: Toilets, car parking, food kiosks, bicycle racks, dry playground (swings, slides, etc.), lawn areas, rubbish bins, park benches.
Sun shade: Limited to no shade available on the water play areas. Natural shade along the river bank.
Entrance fee: None
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: Yes, including wheelchair accessible toilets, paths and no steps up to many of the water features.
Prohibitions: No alcohol, no dogs
Managing authority: Christchurch City Council
Nearby attractions: Explore the rest of Christchurch on foot from the park
Before you head out, make sure to read the water safety information and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions..
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the water play area within the park. If the map is not zoomed in locally, as can sometimes occur when loading, simply click or tap on "View Larger Map" below.
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