New fossil-themed playground for Naracoorte Caves

CAVE ATTRACTIONS FOR KIDS: Members of the CWA with their families at the Naracoorte Caves. Picture supplied.

CAVE ATTRACTIONS FOR KIDS: Members of the CWA with their families at the Naracoorte Caves. Picture supplied.

A new playground, based on the famous fossil deposits found the Naracoorte Caves World Heritage Site has been given a $150,000 head start thanks to the Limestone Coast Ladies County Women’s Association.

The association was successful in applying for a Go Fund My Neighbourhood grant after they identified a playground as one of the most beneficial additions for local and visiting families to the area.

Naracoorte Caves Site Manager Nick McIntyre said the playground would add another dimension to the learning experience available at the popular tourist destination.

“The playground will be themed around fossil hunters and will tie in with the existing caves educational programs and the world heritage aspects of the site which consists of rare fossil deposits,” he said.

“The playground is expected to be completed over the next year, with the first stages being gathering of concepts and ideas.

“Before construction begins, stakeholder feedback will be sought to inform the siting and type of playground experiences that should be created.

“This will then allow designs and concepts to be developed and costed, with the aim of having an initial development followed by other stages over time as further funding becomes available.”

Mr McIntyre said the playground would encourage people to increase the length of their visit, both at the caves site and in the region, creating further opportunities for other regional businesses to benefit.

Naracoorte Caves is South Australia’s only World Heritage-listed site, attracting about 55,000 visitors a year.

The site plays an important role in the South East’s tourism economy and continues to receive increasing levels of interest from researchers and as a visitor destination.

The Limestone Ladies CWA group, who garnered support for the idea in the community, are working with the site managers in the delivery of the project and ensuring that local children are also consulted.

“We wanted the children to feel as though they had contributed to the project and have a sense of ownership over it,” team member Katie Dawkins said.

“We really want the community to get behind the project and make this something we can all be proud of and contribute to and will keep the community informed as the project progresses.”