After undergoing a huge expansion and redevelopment, Stockland Wetherill Park, in partnership with the awesome Touched by Olivia Foundation, has finally opened a play area. Centrally located within the complex, you can now find a multi-level playground that has elements to suit a range of ages.
The play area is semi-undercover and, while mostly shaded, will be exposed to rain. It consists of a large box-like climbing structure with slippery dip, soft fall/ turfed entry and fenced back area containing some toddler friendly equipment.
First thing to note, the only access to the large climbing part is through a metal ladder with heavily spaced rungs. Although a 3 year old could probably manage the climb they would immediately be greeted with toddler sized holes in the partial rope flooring. The ladder seems to be a deliberate attempt to limit the structure to older children. This design element certainly did its job, as school aged children tore up and down the structure at light speed. Meanwhile my toddler and babies were engaging with the other sections of the play area, safely away from potential trampling.
The sunscreen station on the outside wall is a thoughtful feature. Sunscreen and a mirror are available to help protect little ones from the sun. This is especially useful in summer periods when daylight hours are extended and UV indexes high.
Huge novelty tomato and cheese sculptures were fun for the three under 1’s I was with. The babies enjoyed practising their standing and cruising as well as exploring the texture of the turf. Walking under the structure leads you to a fenced soft fall area. Here you can find two in-ground bouncy “trampolines”, musical fixtures, mirrors and decking. My toddler was quite taken with the musical pipes. She played up a storm for the passing shoppers.
You can access the play area by heading towards the centre of the shopping complex on ground level. If walking from Event Cinemas/Kinchin Lane, walk past Nandos towards the shop entry and turn left just before you go through the sliding doors.
The parents room is located a short walk from the playground, near Kinchin Lane dining precinct. Added during the renovation, the area has a fun, fresh, almost jungle vibe. There is a changing area, bottle prep section, fenced play space, breastfeeding rooms (with activity boards) and a parent + child toilet. The large plants, hanging bird mobiles and green decor make it feel very comfortable and family friendly.
Food and Drink
Stockland Wetherill Park not only boasts a huge food court but a dedicated dining lane. The precinct is a food lovers delight. Apart from the food court and restaurants, there is also a generous peppering of cafes throughout the centre. Gloria Jeans is directly next to the playground or you can search the other dining options here.
Although the play area at Stockland Wetherill Park caters for a wide age range, under 5’s may be limited by restricted access to the structure and slippery dip. Similarly, older children may have little interest in the rest of the playground. Overall, the play area serves its purpose perfectly as a “pit stop” after some shopping or lunch rather than a destination in itself.
Finding Stockland Wetherill Park
Wetherill Park is a surprisingly little known shopping destination, around 20 minutes drive south-west of Parramatta. After going through a complete redesign and huge expansion, the new Stockland is worth a visit. Especially for the great dining atmosphere at ‘Kinchin Lane’ within the complex.
Public transport is available by T80 bus to Prariewood T-way stop from Parramatta. Fairfield station is the (inconvenient) closest train access.
Other Shopping Centres with Free Play Areas
For other ideas on where to go shopping with kids, read our list of 22 shopping centres with free play areas.