Even the big kids have given the thumbs up to the new all-abilities playground at the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens.
Wollondilly MP Nathaniel Smith and Wingecarribee Shire Council mayor Duncan Gair were at the gardens on September 26 for the official opening of the playground.
Mr Smith praised the facility which was made possible when the community voted the playground proposal number one for funding support through a NSW State Government grants program.
In fact he said the proposal attracted twice as many votes as any other proposal vying for funding. The playground received a $200,000 grant under the NSW Government My Community Project program.
It was opened to the public in mid-June and is for children of all abilities. It has been constructed inside a fenced area with easy access for prams, walkers and wheelchairs, with seating within the playground as well as shade.
Children can play on an Adventure Multiplay, an Elves Playhouse, listen to chimes, jump on things, swing on a choice of swings, and spin around.
Mr Smith and Cr Gair had no problem putting the new facility to the test.
"I'll push," was the quick response from Mr Smith when prompted to try out one of the playground attractions - a cupped swing.
He assured he would be back with his two young daughters in the school holidays so that they could try out all the equipment.
Cr Gair was equally enthused as he eased himself into the swing.
It was a sight that pleased the crowd of volunteers on hand to witness the official opening of the playground.
The two obliging official guests then moved onto to another treat - the cutting of a specially-made teddy bear cake to mark the formalities of the occasion. And of course there were a few speeches thrown in praising the continual development of the garden since its beginnings a decade ago, and the continual support of dedicated volunteers.
Meanwhile, high on the priority list of those dedicated volunteers was the next project in the pipeline. For the record it's the new education centre estimated to cost about $650,000 to complete.
Gardens CEO Charlotte Webb has confirmed the plans have been approved and the project is shovel-ready.
A counter on the gate is proof that the gardens and all they offer are popular with the community.
"About 150 people a day have gone through the gates over the past few months," Ms Webb said.
"Even with the tight restrictions - that is a lot of people coming here.
"And that was through the winter. I expect many more through the gates during the warmer months."
Ms Webb is quick to point out that an education centre would be a valuable addition to the gardens.
The big question is "where will the funding come from."
The good news is that Mr Smith has assured that the project is one of several he is pushing to secure State Government funding.
In the meantime the community is encouraged to check out the ever-evolving botanic gardens located on the corner of Old South and Kangaloon Roads, Bowral.
The gardens are open seven days from 9am to 5pm and are currently shining in all their spring glory.
The nursery which sells plants that are featured in the garden, and is a key fundraising source for ongoing projects, is open 9am to 3pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of each week, weather permitting.
And of course don't forget to head out to the gardens on October 3 for plenty of fun at the Teddy Bear's picnic.
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