Seven-year-old Michael Gray reckons the new Tahunanui Beach playground is “way cooler” than the old one, but he’s glad to see that the beloved whale is still in its place.
Hundreds flocked to the beach over the long weekend to check out the new $70,000 nautical-themed playground.
It was swiftly installed and ready for action last week, after the old fort was dismantled over the school holidays.
Complete with a telescope, ship’s wheel and sails, part of the new playground fits right in to its seaside surroundings. And there are plenty of other features including bridges, slides, climbing frames, bongo drums and even a musical chime.
“To me it’s like a big pirate ship and you have to get to the other side, and the whale is trying to eat it,” says Michael.
His nine-year-old sister Sophie Gray says it’s “definitely better than the old one”.
“It’s got lots of things to do for both older kids and younger kids,” she says.
A recent Nelson City Council inspection of the old 20-year-old structure revealed it was reaching the end of its expected life and had become “very rusted”, which raised safety concerns.
“As it was approaching the end of its expected useful life replacement with new equipment was already planned, but has now been done ahead of schedule in light of the presence of significant rust,” acting chief executive Alec Louverdis told the Nelson Weekly.
Parts of the Tahunanui Beach playground have been around since the 1960s, including the famous whale, concrete train and tortoises.