“It has to be a dinosaur, it looks like a Plesiosaur. How come we’re the only people to have discovered it? It’s right there.” My excited 6 year old exclaims.
“No, it’s a monster.” Miss 4 retorts.
While the conversation bounces back and forth this Mother smiles as her heart does a little flip. It’s that beautiful little surge of butterflies that you get when your babies are making discoveries, rationalising and believing. Their enthusiasm is overwhelming.
The Monster/Dinosaur, of course, is a laser projection of a ghost-like family frolicking in the Bremer River at the River Heart Parkland in Ipswich, Queensland, 40 minutes west of Brisbane. The Water and Light display also includes the Word Wall, as my children have named it, which is a projection onto a foundation under the Bradfield Bridge which tells the story of the Monsters. The Water and Light display is one of the many attractions along the Riverside walk, which now includes a Water Playground (Bob Gamble Park) and the Discovery Forest. The little family of River Creatures, named Ippy, Limey and Stoney only come out at night, so cooking a sausage on the BBQ facilities is a great way to wait it out until the first sighting.
The River Heart Parklands run from Bradfield Bridge to Bob Gamble Park on King Edward Parade and is connected by a succession of boardwalks which are ideal for fitness fanatics and afternoon strollers alike. Easily accessible to Ipswich City, trains and buses the Parklands are an ideal family outing destination. My children squeal with delight at the Bob Gamble Park which hosts a zero depth water playground with its own mini river system of pipes and pumps. It is an ideal location for the children to cool down after a long day of playing while Mum and Dad enjoy the views of the River. Beside the water playground Master 6 and Miss 4 let their imagination run wild, we’re pirates battling sea monsters and making the ‘baddies’ walk the plank in the Discovery Forest where forts, ropes, balance beams and totem poles await children of all ages.
Ipswich’s offerings don’t end there. Queens Park is a beautiful playground which overlooks the city and the nearby Nature Park is sure to please with Australian animals on show. The Queen’s Park cafe is great for a bite and an unwind. At the wonderful Ipswich Art Gallery the Children’s Gallery is frequently host to some beautiful exhibits which allow the young, and the occasional parent’s creative juices to flow. And all of these outings are free!
Just down the road at the ‘Top of Town’ some lovely little cafes are popping up where you can be sure of a chat with the locals. Fourth Child and Urban Pantry are some of the best finds. The Indian Mehfil has delicious meals at very reasonable prices; I’ve been told they also recently helped out with the flood effort.
With recent flooding once again devastating this strong and vibrant community there would be no better time to check it out and help stimulate this economy in doing what it does best, providing outdoor beautiful parklands for all to enjoy. Please be mindful that at this stage some of the River Heart Parklands may be undergoing the clean up process. For more information head to the Ipswich City Council website.