Children's Forest, Whiteman Park
Updated: Sep 2
The Children's Forest situated between Whiteman Village and Mussel Pool in Whiteman Park provides an exciting link between the two main areas of Whiteman Park. The Children's Forest is an easy 200m walk from the Village and 50m from the Mussel Pool area. The Forest itself extends for about 300 metres north to south but because it is made up of a series of zones, each with separate gate entries, the walking trails around the forest possibly extend to several kilometres as they wind through the zones. It is a place where children can learn about the importance and beauty of Western Australia’s native bushland and where they can come and watch ‘their’ forest grow and flourish as they do.
You can access the Children’s Forest from any direction and because each zone is fenced (to keep it roo free) and gated once you are in a zone you can let your kids roam freely to explore the maze of paths (as long as they don’t know how to exit the gates). This gives them freedom and safety! The Boy of the Bush stands at the entrance guarding the forest and looking after it when all the children go home. (We came in from Mussel Pool so missed the main entrance and didn't spot The Boy of the Bush or his sister, Fern)
The zones have been developed at different stages since 2001 and some have signage telling you which year they were planted. The planting has been done by Trillion Trees (formerly Men of the Trees) with the help of volunteers. Children can become a "Friend of the Forest" for $35 and have their name displayed on artwork within the forest.
We didn't have a map of the Children's Forest so we just followed random trails but in doing so we possibly missed out on some of the fabulous artworks and sculptures, hidden activities, play spaces and information plaques.
There are lots of information plaques scattered through the zones providing background on the plants and animals that call this area home.
Some of the artwork is above you so there are helpful posts with an eye icon to show you when to look up.
There are lots of artworks scattered through the zones. Some are up high, some are at ground level. Some are easy to spot, some take a bit of searching!
I would recommend you download the Whiteman Park Children's Forest Activity Sheets: 50 things to do in the Children's Forest (for independent readers) or Children's Forest Eye Spy (for younger children) or the Seed, Seedling and Sapling activity sheets. Bring a pencil so you can fill in the activity sheets. Activity sheets (with the exception of the 50 things to do sheet) come with a map of the zones so you can work out your route through the forest trying not to miss out on any exciting discoveries.
Download at: https://www.whitemanpark.com.au/kids-only/fun-stuff/
Activity sheets may be available from the Visitor's Center open 10am to 4pm daily.
Fact sheets on the various critters which inhabit the park can also be downloaded at https://www.whitemanpark.com.au/kids-only/fact-sheets/
Some of the spaces invite children (and adults) to play.
A large gazebo in the centre provides space to have a rest and a snack while you explore. A drinking fountain can also be found in the forest.
We walked around for a good hour but didn’t see everything. We did however spot what we think was a quenda as it ducked into hiding under a bush - they sure move fast!
There are also fairy doors along the trail so keep an eye out and tread softly!
The paths through the Children's Forest are compacted dirt and are suitable for prams and possibly scooters. Many of the gates are double gates however some are single. The external paths surrounding the forest are paved and are more suited to bikes or the pedal carts you can hire from the village. The Children's Forest is best explored on foot as there is so much to discover and although much of it is signposted there are things you might miss if you hurry by. Even with signs we found some things hard to spot!
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In the spirit of reconciliation Out and About- Family Nature Connection acknowledges the traditional owners of the Wadjak boodjar (Perth land) and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.