Melbourne for Kids & Dads: Top Playgrounds

During the year we’ve had plenty of time to explore Melbourne’s best playgrounds. I may be slightly biased to those in or around Coburg, but we have also ventured out to other suburbs.

In no particular order, these are some of our favourites!

Coburg Lake playground – Doug Hill Adventure Park

Maps: Doug Hull Adventure Park

 

There’s a number of good playgrounds around the lake, but this one is a favourite because of the huge slides.

Maribyrnong – ‘Black Sapphire Pirate Ship’

Maps: Black Sapphire Pirate Ship Playground

There’s a huge pirate ship, what more can I say. Although the slides are also nice.

Royal Park Nature Playground (next to Childrens Hospital)

Maps: Royal Park Nature Playground

Probably the largest variety of climbing structures and slides around, and as a bonus there are some great views of the CBD to be had. In summer, there are also some nice water play features

Princess Park Adventure Playground

Maps: Princes Park Adventure Playground

Some good challanging climbing structures but also a separate area for younger kids to play. Great sandpit.

Albert Park playground

Maps: Albert Park playground

Huge playground with loads of connected wooden structures that the boys really enjoyed exploring.

Edwardes Lake Playground

Maps: Edwardes Lake Playground

First get yourself tired on the flying fox and the big slide, then recover by playing in the enclosed area for smaller kids with swings and sandpit – where the kids can’t easily escape.

Ron Berassi Sr Playground

Ron Barassi Senior Park

Two really big slides and fun water play features. This playground gets shade from the bridge in the afternoon, which can be nice on hot days.

St Kilda Adventure Playground

St Kilda Adventure Playground

Check to opening times carefully, but when open this playground is absolutely fantastic. If offers a bewildering variety of unique play structures, which is a nice change from some most of the ‘standard’ equipment that isn’t typically as adventurous.

Indoor option: Don Bosco Youth Centre

Don Bosco Youth Centre & Hostel

Check the opening times carefully, but they offer trampolines, air hockey, table tennis etc for a good bit of indoor fun.

Bonus: Best Childrens farms:

Bundoora Childrens farm and viewpoint

Bundoora Park Farm and Cafe

The tractor ride is a favourite with the boys, but participating in feeding the animals is also great.

Collingwood

Collingwood Children’s Farm

Fun farmers market and loads of opportunities for the kids to interact with the animals. Cuddling Guinea pigs and seeing the cows getting milked stand out as good fun.

Ceres Environment Park

Much more than just a childrens farm, the environment park also features a eco supermarket, live music every weekend and loads of fun events.

Ceres Enviroment Park

Learning How to Think: The Skill No One Taught You

An argument for taking time to really think a problem through, then return to it later. Which requires careful planning in the first place…

I find for myself that my first thought is never my best thought. My first thought is always someone else’s; it’s always what I’ve already heard about the subject, always the conventional wisdom. It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise. And often even that idea doesn’t turn out to be very good. I need time to think about it, too, to make mistakes and recognize them, to make false starts and correct them, to outlast my impulses, to defeat my desire to declare the job done and move on to the next thing.

 

Source: Learning How to Think: The Skill No One Taught You

Finding on the Map (Geolocating) a remote MacBook

Suppose you’ve misplaced your Mac. Or someone’s taken it. Or you’re just curious….

With a little craftiness you can use your favourite remote command tool (ARD/SSH… ) to execute a scan for Wi-Fi SSIDs (network names) on the remote host.

thomas$ /usr/local/bin/airport scan
SSID BSSID RSSI CHANNEL HT CC SECURITY (auth/unicast/group)
HZN507010065 11:2a:de:d9:d9:10 -56  104     Y  -- WPA2
H469AEA6914 76:a7:8f:ea:69:42 -79  100     Y  -- WPA2

While a list of network names may not directly tell you much, this is where a nifty 3rd party service comes in handy..

http://wigle.net

(free account registration required) allows you to plug in a SSID and it will come back with the locations where that SSID has been reported. I’m not entirely sure how comprehensive their source data is, but in limited testing it is easy to pinpoint a location as long as a few SSIDs are found by the mac.

Melbourne for Kids & Dads: ‘Must-have’ memberships

Coming to Melbourne we figured it would be great to have a few regular activities to fall back on. The options below have proven to be very worthwhile – the kids are as eager as always to go to any of these, even after visiting pretty much every week this year.

Melbourne Zoo

The zoo is not only a great place to see Australia’s native species up-close, they’ve also gone out of their way to make a visit great for kids of all ages.

There is a good outdoor play area, but the highlight of most visits for us is the Keepers Kids area.

Here, kids get to dress up as several zoo employee roles including Vet, keeper, maintenance. There are daily activities organised as well including story time and drawing.

One of the great things of being a member is that you can hop in anytime, without any pressure to ‘make the most’ of the visit. I often find myself hopping in late afternoon, when we have the place practically to ourselves and enjoy one or two hours doing one of the ‘loops’ of animal exhibits and some play.

Melbourne Museum / Science Works

While everyone should visit the Melbourne Museum at least once to learn about the history of the city; you will keep coming back for the great indoor and outdoor play areas.  The indoor kids corner offers a variety of fun games and physically challenging climbing for the kids – even if outside it is freezing  or too hot to move. The outdoor play area offers giant building blocks, water play, paleontology in the sandpit and the usual play equipment. Especially with two kids there is a bit of extra peace of mind in that the courtyard isn’t too easy to escape from for the kids – you can enjoy a nice cappuccino in relative peace.

The Science Museum is part of the same organisation and another great all-weather option with lots of great activities. The quarterly ‘little kids days’ are fun but can get hectic – especially in contrast to mid-week afternoon visits when we are almost guaranteed to have the place mostly to ourselves.

Little Kids Day: entertaining shows

The museum offers three outdoor playgrounds in its courtyard, as well as a recently renewed indoor play/exploration space. The sports area offers loads of nice activities for the kids to engage in.

Bonus: Sea Life Aquarium Melbourne

The aquarium is another all-weather destination, and can even be great when the energy levels are lower then usual as a nice relaxing bit of entertainment other then Peppa Pig.

Here, as in the zoo, the yearly membership is very reasonable compared to the one-day tickets and we must easily have visited 15 times. The kids get to fondle starfish, ogle the croc and the tend to be hypnotised by the deep-ocean tank with sharks and rays. A good time for everyone.

Bonus: your local pool;

A morning in the pool more or less guarantees a quiet afternoon while the kids rest, and its a nice all-weather option too. We ended up taking up swimming lessons for the oldest (4yr old) and included with the lessons is free anytime entry into all of the local pools for the kids and myself, all for 12$ per week.

 

Melbourne for Kids & Dads: Brunswick Dads Playgroup

This has been one of our staples, the weekly playgroup meetup for dads in Brunswick. A very welcoming group, no pressure to do anything other then relax, enjoy the kids playing and have some fresh baked bread thanks to Jarek.

Fresh bread is served
Fresh bread is served

I’ve found this a great way to meet a very interesting diverse group of guys. Highly recommended to give this a shot.

Brunswick Dads Facebook group

 

‪Facebook Isn’t Recording Your Conversations, But It May as Well Be‬

“Don’t assume that you have to sacrifice your privacy in order to enjoy the advantages of technology. In the long run, tech is only sustainable if it can deliver both.”

This article takes a closer look at how Facebook sneakily (or cleverly) combines data to track you more effectively. Without too much FUD and with a glimpse of hope near the end. Remember, Facebook = WhatsApp = Messenger = Instagram; so quitting this entire ecosystem may be somewhat hard.

LifeHacker – Facebook Isn’t Recording Your Conversations, But It May as Well Be