“My Funland” in Grove Square – The Hills, is better known by the locals as “the Mushroom Playground,”
It is a paradise for parents because it is an accessible playground, is fenced, is shaded and is located between two cafés, “The Little Rock Café” and “Charlie Lovett.” Hooray!
As you can imagine, “The Mushroom Playground” is very popular in the Hills Area. Early in the morning, you will always find some stay at home mums. Therefore, the best tables with full vision of the playground might be already taken, if you arrive around 10.
My advice is that you try to go later on the day, when it is normally less busy.
Personally, I take my kids to this playground, when I feel that having a peaceful cup of coffee – a real break-, it feels like a mirage of an oasis, something out of reach. Have you ever had this feeling? I am sure that you did.
Also, I always keep in mind this place when I need to catch up with friends that also have young kids like mine. It is perfect: cup of coffee with friends + kids can play + then I can do the grocery shopping.
The Mushroom Playground
Address: Grove Square – The Hills, intersection of Windsor Road and Old Northern Road.
Google maps gives you the address of Windsor Road, but the best street is Olive St, as the ramp of the shopping centre car park leads you to the top level, where the “Mushroom Playground” is located.
Phone number: 02 9639 6216
By Mireia Garriga
“The Mushroom Playground” is ideal for pre-school kids, is fenced and shaded, and has soft rubber softfall. You can sit down and relax, as you have full visibility either from most of the tables of “Little Rock Café” or “Charlie Lovett”.
The theme of the play equipment is the enchanted forest, and it is as colorful as the ones that you can see in storybooks. It consists in a tower / cubby house structure that has a small rock-climbing wall and slide. Also, it has a ladder for the little children that cannot climb yet. Besides the decorative big mushrooms, there is a big cocoon.
The playground is accessible for every child. It was built in conjunction with the “Touched by Olivia Foundation”. It has musical instruments and interactive panels with sign language pictures and braille. It is great to see inclusive playgrounds like this one that caters for children with special needs.
Finally, another good thing about “the Mushroom Playground” is the location. Baulkham Hills Stockland Mall is located between Windsor Road and Old Northern Road, the two main roads of the Hills Area.
Also, the Baulkham Hills exit of the M2 Highway is very close to the shopping centre. Therefore, it is easy to find for the parents who don’t live locally.
The cafes next to the playground
Both cafes, “Little Rock Café” and “Charlie Lovett” are located outdoors Stockland Mall at Baulkham Hills. Both have good coffee, serve yummy food, have kids menu and good specials. I tend to go to the one where I can grab a table nearest to the playground.
“Little Rock Café” is a little more casual than “Charlie Lovett”. It has lots of high chairs and a magazine / children’s book corner. Also, the outside area is bigger. It is a favourite for mum’s meet ups. “Little Munch” blogger, Rebecca, wrote a very good review of Little Rock Café here.
“Charlie Lovett” is more a boutique cafe. It opens until late; it offers dinner besides breakfast and lunch. While the outside area next to the playground is smaller than the “Little Rock Café”, the tables of “Charlie Lovett” have better visibility to the playground.
The franchise is renowned for the high quality coffee and its own fresh produce products that come from its own farm in the Southern Highlands.
Parking: The playground is beside the top car park of Stocklands, level 3. The best entrance is via Olive St.
Toilets/Baby change: Yes / Yes. Go inside the shopping centre. The parent’s room is excellent. Mini fenced play area, 2 breastfeeding rooms with play equipment and TV, microwave and baby bottle warmer, changing tables with baby swipes and toilet for adults and children. Also, inside “Charlie Lovett” there are toilets.
Highchairs: Yes, plenty
Children’s menu: Yes
Nearest station: Yes, Castle Hill, when the North West Rail Link is completed in 2019. It will be a 15-minute bus ride to and from Stockland Baulkham Hills.
Nearest ferry: No
Bus stop nearby: Yes; only few meters away from the Shopping Centre entrance. There are two bus stops:
Old Northern Road bus stop, routes M60, M61, 610, 612, 619, 630, M60 and M61.
Windsor Road bus stop, routes 601, 615, 618, 628
Note: If you travel by public transport, please, always check if there have been some changes.
If you are not from the Hills Area, you might want to extend the day visiting the Museum Discovery Centre. The Museum Discovery Centre offers lots of school holiday activities. Also, it offers activities for non-school aged children. The MAAS Tinies (designed for mobile babies up to 2 years old) uses play based learning to engage and excite your little ones. The sessions include song, movement and making, as well as hands-on interaction with the Museum’s Education Collection. The MAAS Minis (designed for children aged 3–5 years) is a monthly playful session for curious little minds and their carers. The sessions bring applied arts and science to life.
Find more information about this great museum, at the end of this article.
Mum’s report: “The Mushroom Playground”is an accessible, shaded and fully fenced playground suitable for young kids. The best of it: its location. There is no doubt that the combination cafe + playground is a winner. But, if on top of that you can do the grocery shopping, then it is the epitome of child friendly places.
Hello Sydney Kids has an amazing list of top ten cafes besides playgrounds? Click on here to discover them.
For a another shopping experience with a twist, go to the Rouse Hill Shopping Centre. The centre has a bigger playground than “the Mushroom Playground”, “the Backyard Playground”.
Adjacent to it, there are two good cafes. Taking the kids to The Backyard Playground is another playground that it is in “my life savers list”. I take my daughters to The Backyard Playground, when I need some well deserved minutes of peace, before or after shopping with kids. Read all the information about The Backyard Playground here.
Do you know any other places similar to the “Mushroom Playground”? We would love to hear about them. They make our lives so much easier!