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Midlands Aquatic Playspace, North Ballarat
Splash parks in western Victoria, Australia

The Midlands Aquatic Playspace is a free water play area in North Ballarat that is loosely based on a garden theme, with a giant sprinkling leaf, a butterfly shower and a squirting ladybird. There is a wide range of water features, including numerous small, ground level sprinklers, two types of tipping buckets, and rotatable water cannons. To operate the water features, there is a button on a waist high green pole on the edge of the water play area, which gives you 15 minutes of water play before you will need to press the button again. Midlands Aquatic Playspace in North Ballarat Above: The water curtain, giant sprinkling leaf and tipping buckets in action (Order this image)

The best feature of this water park was the positioning of the various sprinklers and showers. Kids would hang around the edge of the wet zone, and then select a path through the water features to try and avoid getting wet, sometimes succesfully, but often not. Throughout the fifteen minute cycle, different features would turn on and off, and the path would have to change. The water features were however less challenging for older kids.

The only water features that could be manually operated were the two rotatable water cannons. You could spin these around in a full circle (and get dizzy in the process), and they would only operate when you were facing the direction of the other water cannon, which was an intriguing puzzle for some kids. I saw one toddler spend an inordinate amount of time hugging the ladybird sprinkler, so he may have felt that it was hugging him back. Shaded Area at Midlands Aquatic Playspace in North Ballarat Above: The shade marquee that runs alongside the water play area (Order this image)

I liked the strip of soft, dry artificial grass that borders the water play area, as well as the long shade marquee that runs alongside one edge to provide complete shade. If you are sitting under the marquee, bring a picnic mat because the grass here is patchy. The two barbecues are also fully shaded. I'd also suggest you bring a first aid kit (or at least a few bandaids), because even though the rules say no running, the layout of the water play area seems to unwittingly invite kids to run, and if they fall it is on a roughened concrete surface. I couldn't spot any drinking fountains so bring your own water, and lastly, the wind can whistle through this fairly open and exposed area, so if it is a windy day, pull your kids out and wrap them in a dry towel if you see them start to shiver.
Other Information Before You Go:
Location: Midlands Aquatic Playspace, Midlands Reserve, Doveton St, Ballarat North, 120 km (approx. 70-90 min drive) west of the Melbourne CBD.
Latitude:-37.540062 Longitude:143.859531
Getting there: From the Ballarat city centre, head north along Doveton St. The park is between Howitt and Norman St. To get to Ballarat from Melbourne, head along the Western Freeway (M8) then take the Midlands Hwy exit south (A300) then turn left at Norman St and right at Doveton St. There is parking available in Doveton St in front of the water play area. If travelling by public transport within Ballarat, bus route No. 2 runs along Doveton St with a stop outside the park, whilst bus route No. 4 runs along Landsborough St at the northern edge of the park.
General facilities: Toilets, car parking, shade marquee, dry playground (swings, slides, etc.), open field, shaded electric bbqs, picnic tables, rubbish bins, bike racks.
Baby change facilities: No
Sun shade: Shade available under the marquees and under several large trees on the far side of the water play area. No shade available on the water play area itself.
Entrance fee: None

Opening times: Nov-Apr, 7 days a week, 9am to 9pm, except Christmas Day when the water feature doesn't operate.
Wheelchair access: Yes, including wheelchair accessible toilets, paths and no steps up to the water features.
Prohibitions: No running, do not drink the water (it is non-potable), no climbing, no gum or glass or food on the water play area itself, children who are not toilet trained must wear a swimming nappy, do not use the water play area if you are suffering from any type of skin sores, infections, or illness including common colds and flu or diarrhoea. Adult supervision is required. Management reserves the right to deny anyone entry to the water play area.
Accommodation Options: If you want to stay overnight in the area near this splash park, you can try the following options in and around North Ballarat. All distances below are by road, not as the crow flies.
Nearby accommodation:Distance from park:
Stonehenge Retreat 900 m
Silver Birch 1.0 km
Sherrard Place 1.8 km
Booking your accommodation via these links may result in a commission (at no additional cost to the price of the linked item) to swimmingholeheaven.com that helps maintain and enhance this website.
Managing authority: City of Ballarat
Nearby attractions: Sebastopol Aquatic Playspace, a similar water park, located 10 minutes away on the other side of Ballarat.
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 park. If the map is not zoomed in locally, as can occur with some browsers, simply click or tap on "View Larger Map" below.
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