One of the world's leading nature spaces for children, Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park, has re-opened - just in time for the summer school holidays.
Eye-popping new features in this natural bushland space include two large aerial walkways called 'The Python' and 'The Bungarra', which stretch 7 m high and 40 m long to test the bravery of visitors. A new waterhole for wading, a new cubby-building area and a web of climbing ropes called 'The Tangle' also add to the sense of adventure.
Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park is the perfect place for kids these holidays, according to Jacqui Kennedy, Kings Park's Manager of Visitor Services and Community Engagement.
'Connecting kids with nature is such an important part of a healthy childhood. In Kings Park, we want to give children the chance to experience WA's natural environment and inspire them to play an active part in environmental conservation throughout their lives,' says Jacqui.
'With shrinking green spaces in our urbanised lives, hectic schedules and the lure of digital devices, Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park offers an accessible way to give kids 'bush experiences' in the heart of Perth.'
The new development, designed by Plan E landscape architects, follows extensive consultation with children, teachers, parents and experts in childhood development.
'The message we received loud and clear was that the community wanted a place where kids can explore in a fun, nature-based area; be challenged by taking reasonable risks; and have the opportunity to understand more about the wonders of our natural environment,' says Jacqui.
The $3 million upgrade is funded by Rio Tinto, the project's major partner since its inception.
Nearly 500,000 visitors have been to Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park since it opened in 2011, according to Zara Fisher, Rio Tinto's Vice President – Health, Safety and Environment, Iron Ore.
'Now, Rio Tinto and Kings Park are strengthening our shared commitment to innovative environmental learning with this second stage development. By 2020, Rio Tinto will have contributed almost $9 million to this legacy project for WA,' says Zara.
From March 2018, upgraded outdoor living classrooms for popular Kings Park Education will also open in the precinct to meet growing demand from schools. Education programs are curriculum based and specialise in environmental science, heritage and Aboriginal culture.
Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park is free and will be open 9.00 am until 4.00 pm, Tuesdays to Sundays from 14 December. It is closed on Mondays, all of February and on days when a very high fire danger is forecast. The area is located on May Drive, Kings Park.