Playtime At The Darrell Jackson Reserve in Summer Hill
By: Stephanie Boyle, ellaslist explorer
Many years ago, when I was still at university, I worked part time in Summer Hill. It had a quaint, village-like atmosphere and I was extremely taken with it, however I’ve rarely had the opportunity or reason to go back since. Fast-forward to the present and I have a very active pair of boys, one 15 months and the other 4 years, and am always in search of the perfect park where I can safely allow them space to move and burn off energy. This isn’t quite as easy as you might think- both boys require constant supervision and both enjoy heading in opposite directions as soon as they are given the opportunity!
So for me, the perfect park is one that is preferably fenced or a considerable distance away from roads and traffic, has ample pieces of equipment to meet their varying levels of skill and agility and one where I can clearly see the boys at any given moment.
The Park That Has It All
I spotted the Darrell Jackson Reserve from the train as we whizzed by en route to the city and thought it looked as though it may meet all of my requirements and so one day when the sun was shining and I didn’t have anything else planned, I promised my elder son an adventure in a suburb he’d never visited before.
As a train enthusiast, he loves visiting new train stations and so as we travelled towards Summer Hill, I let him guess as to where we were headed offering various clues. His excitement and enthusiasm for something so simple was a delight to behold. We’re very blessed in Sydney to have such a diverse range of suburbs to visit and one of our favourite things to do is play tourist in our own city and head somewhere completely new.
A Lovely Afternoon in Summer Hill
When we arrived by train in Summer Hill, we strolled down Lackey Street, popping into the bakery, smelling the jonquils and daffodils at the gorgeous florist/fruit store and pointing out where mummy used to work. We walked around the corner and got hot chocolates at my old haunt (the scrumptious Envy Deli on Smith Street) but resisted all of their delicious looking cakes and sandwiches, promising to come back for a proper lunch or morning tea on another occasion. Finally, after passing the most adorable children’s store, My Messy Room (and ducking in to purchase a couple of books- how could I say no?!) we arrived at the Darrell Jackson Reserve.
Play Equipment For All Ages
The large Reserve is tucked down a deceptively narrow path, past Summer Hill Community Centre and this makes it especially safe, set back far from the traffic on Smith Street. There is a fenced in playground for the younger children with three different slides, swings, rocking animals and a number of different climbing apparatus and also an unfenced area for older children complete with an enormous rope pyramid and some more adventurous activities. For even older children, there is a skate park.
The park also contains a number of beautifully shady trees which would be perfect to picnic under and shelter from the heat come summer. It’s an incredibly clean and well maintained space that is an absolute delight to spend time in. The Reserve truly offers something for everyone and it’s a place where you could easily spend a large part of the day.
Paddded, Shady and FUN!
We of course spent the majority of our time in the fenced off playground for the little ones. While it was a very beautiful day, and therefore extremely busy, the park didn’t feel crowded and the children were wonderful at taking it in turns to swing, slide and ride. The majority of the fenced in playground was covered in padded rubber surfacing which is always very attractive when you have a toddler who is just finding their feet and an older child who has taken to leaping from things. It was also largely covered by shade cloths which, while not essential in the winter months, would certainly be a valuable asset come summer. My boys played for over an hour in this space, my eldest gradually building up the courage to tackle the ‘scary’ slide and my youngest rocketing from one thing to the next.
While my little one is a climber, it was nice to have access to the play equipment via a ramp which meant that I could walk up with him and follow him around the various bridges and stairs from there. Everything was immaculately maintained, safe and well cared for and the place was packed full of little smiling faces which was lovely to see.
I left with two thoroughly exhausted but very happy little boys. As we travelled home on the train (via the fabulous toy store, Monkey Puzzle on Lackey Street), my sleepy son turned to me and said, ‘Mummy, can we come back tomorrow and every day this week?’. A fine endorsement if ever I heard one!
What You Should Know
While Summer Hill is easily accessed by train, there is ample parking in the nearby shopping complex (Summer Hill Village) which is adjacent to the park. Summer Hill is a wonderful place for children and I thoroughly recommend taking your time if you visit. Have lunch in one of the lovely cafes, bring a picnic to the park, spend some time in the excellent children’s stores, wander around and take in the gorgeous architecture and absolutely spend an hour or two in the Darrell Jackson Reserve playgrounds!
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Stephanie Boyle is currently a stay at home mother with two gorgeous children. Prior to becoming a mum she trained as a lawyer and worked in various Government positions. She is currently completing a Masters of Teaching. Stephanie and her Algerian husband Kamel have two sons, Ayman (3 years old) and Younes (3 months) and they are doing their best to raise their sons as tri-lingual global citizens. When Ayman arrived three years ago, it became immediately apparent to Stephanie that neither of them were homebodies and so they set off on what would become three glorious years (and counting!) of adventure and excitement throughout Sydney and its surrounds. Stephanie believes that childhood should be pure magic and she is on a continual mission to make this the case for her sons. She loves discovering new places and activities, throwing amazing parties and running a bookclub for her boys and their little friends. In addition to her reports for ellaslist, you can also follow Stephanie and her boys onInstagram @moukinina.