14 May 2021

Prepare your senses for a very special play space for all ages

| Lottie Twyford
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man stands in burnt garden

Michael Anlezark is excited for construction to begin on the new sensory garden. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

After its sensory garden was destroyed by bushfires last year, the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden has secured a significant grant to rebuild.

The new garden will delight all of the senses, including that of adventure said Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden manager Michael Anlezark.

A total of $511 492 has been secured for the garden through the NSW Government’s Everyone Can Play program destined for regional communities impacted by fire and drought.

The new Forest Sensory Playspace will cover 650m2 and link to the new inspirational Naturescape display gardens that are currently under construction.

Mr Anlezark said the garden will challenge and engage the sense of anyone who chooses to walk along the paths, regardless of their age, culture or ability.

“One thing we really have tried to do with the plan is to ensure it appeals to a broad range of people, not just children.

“It’s about encouraging people of all ages to share something with one another as well as having a deep experience with plants and nature.

“It will be a place of new experiences, where you are enticed to slow down and interact with your surroundings in a more meaningful way,” he said.

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“We’re elated to receive this funding and can’t wait to get started bringing this dream play space into reality for the community to enjoy,” he said.

The garden will consist of plants for touching, smelling and tasting as well as interactive elements.

It’s all about contrast – smooth and rough bark, hard and soft leaves and the brush of grasses will contrast with colourful mosaics and rigid sculptures.

Mr Anlezark said they envisage the inclusion of a sound bar with light buttons that will play different sounds from nature.

“You might hear cicadas or wind through trees,” he said.

“Parents or grandparents can talk to children about their childhood memories of these sounds and make it into a bit of a game,” he said.

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There’s to be both restful and active zones as well as plenty of pathways throughout.

Splashing water will come from what seems to be a dry creek bed, with jets that will spray up and delight children said Mr Anlezark.

“We are also hoping to build some kind of structure where activities of all kinds can take place.”

He said visitors would also have to look out for giant insects that will only confuse the sense of scale.

“These kinds of experiences encourage us all to be curious, no matter our age,” Mr Anlezark said.

The sensory garden is currently in a concept stage with construction expected to begin within the next six to 12 months.

The Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden is on Deep Creek Dam Rd off the Princes Highway (5km south of Batemans Bay) and is open 9 am to 4 pm Wednesday to Sunday.

More information about the garden is available online.

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