The weather was so beautiful this past weekend that Boo and I made it to not one, but TWO new playgrounds. On Saturday we scouted out Goodwin Park in Hartford, Connecticut, and on Sunday we headed over to Addison Park in Glastonbury, Connecticut. I considered keeping you in suspense about the second one for another week, but I guess the glorious sun and gorgeous spring breezes have put me in a generous mood because I am going to tell you about BOTH of them today 🙂
So far on this site, we’ve detailed some great playgrounds including Jonathan’s Dream in West Hartford, Rotary Park in Simsbury, and most recently, Wolcott Park in West Hartford. Maybe it’s my latent Rhode Island mentality cropping up (when you grow up in a state that small, a 15-minute drive might as well be a day trip), but I decided it was about time to find a few stellar playgrounds a little more convenient for residents (like me) who reside east of the river.
So today I bring you: A Tale of Two Playgrounds. Let’s begin, shall we?
GOODWIN PARK in Hartford
Last December, we brought you a feature on the spectacular holiday light display in Goodwin Park. Around that time, we had also heard a rumor about a wonderful playground nestled in the vast Goodwin grounds. Alas, it was too dark to locate it when we arrived for the nighttime light show. Now that spring is upon us, however, I thought it was high time to solve the mystery of the missed playground. So we ventured back over there this past Saturday.
First order of business: find it. Goodwin Park is also home to a public golf course, so it’s a pretty sprawling landscape. The playground can be found at the corner of Maple Avenue and South Street, but just to make things easier, I’ve also marked it with a big red star on the map below. (A word of explanation: This is the same map I used for the post on the holiday light display, hence the holiday illustrations. Just ignore those. But do note that the “exit” for the holiday light show is actually the everyday entrance for the playground.)
The entrance is on Maple Avenue, and the park road is one-way here.
There is a small parking lot near the playground.
This is a Boundless Playground. If you have been following our site, you have probably encountered that term before while reading about Jonathan’s Dream or Rotary Park. In a nutshell, a Boundless Playground is an inclusive playscape specially designed to accommodate children (and adults) of all abilities, including those with physical disabilities, and even those who require the assistance of a wheel chair. That’s a pretty awesome concept.
Alright, since you have no doubt noticed the litter strewn across the ground in the above photo, I’m just going to address that now and get it out of the way. There was some trash. Okay, okay. There was a lot of trash. Mostly soda bottles, candy wrappers, chips bags, things like that. The funny thing is though, there were plenty of trash barrels and even some of those great new solar-compacting trash cans right nearby. So it almost seemed like the littering was intentional. Couple that with the fact that we saw more teens than toddlers hanging out at the park that morning, and I’m guessing the culprit is perennial adolescent angst. Sadly, there was also quite a bit of PG-13 graffiti. This is a shame, because the playground is really something special. I am hoping that perhaps the litter is corralled more regularly during the open season. I’m also hoping that you will still take the time to check out this wonderful park because the more the community cares for it, the better off it will be.
Okay. Excuse me while I step down off my soap box now so I can show you some pictures. But let me just say that, litter or no litter, Boo thoroughly enjoyed himself here.
The first amazing feature of this playground is the footing. It may look like concrete, but it is the softest, springiest (is that even a word?), most cushiony footing I have ever encountered at an outdoor playground. And just to be clear, it’s a lot softer than the flooring at many of the indoor play places I have visited too. The big bonus: no mulch anywhere! Because we all know how that goes when we have little kiddos who like to put things in their mouths. Ick.
Another excellent feature is a smaller play area off to the side that is sized just right for toddlers. There are some baby swings there too.
One particularly awesome part was this pair of slides that could be accessed by a long ramp. Two speedy, full-sized slides that any kid can enjoy. How cool is that?
There were some picnic tables and benches too.
The only thing I didn’t see nearby was any kind of restroom, even a porta-potty. Maybe that will change as we enter the spring and summer. We did pass this building on our way out, and it did have restrooms located on the side facing the road, but they were locked. Again, maybe that’s a seasonal thing.
Also near this building is a charming duck pond (if you refer back to the map at the beginning of this section, you’ll see it marked with a fine, feathered friend). There were plenty of geese there already.
Overall, this is a wonderful park and playground, and its location makes it very convenient for many of those living in the greater Hartford area. Need another reason to venture over? Not too far down the road is the best deli around. Well, according to me anyway 🙂 On our way home, we couldn’t resist a stop at Max Bibo’s on Silas Deane Highway in Wethersfield to pick up our favorite sandwiches. Maybe next time we’ll stop here first and make it a picnic.
ADDISON PARK in Glastonbury
Sunday started off a little cloudy, but as soon as the sun began to peek out, we jumped in the car and headed over to Addison Park to scope out another nearby Boundless Playground.
Addison Park is located on Addison Street, so that’s easy enough to remember. And Addison Street is a turn off Hebron Avenue. If you’ve come from Hebron, look for the park on your left.
There is plenty of parking in this huge lot, and additional parking down by the soccer field.
The playground is not entirely fenced in, but there is a length of fence separating the playground from the parking lot, so at least you don’t have to worry about your runaway toddler getting out near the cars.
Like Goodwin Park, this playground also has a few separate play areas for kids of different ages. The main area in the middle is marked by a sign that says it’s for ages 5-12. Boo still found plenty to keep him busy, but we needed to stick a little closer by him since this area has the biggest equipment.
Off to the left side (if you’re standing with your back to the parking lot), is another playscape that also seems to be designated for the 5-12 crowd. However, it is much smaller and more manageable for a toddler. Plus it looks like a plane. So cool.
The shape, plus the unmistakeable insignia on the “tail” tell me Pratt & Whitney had something to do with this one. Boo loved it, especially the easy-to-scale stairs and the sized-just-for-him slides.
All the way to the right, there is a playscape designated especially for the preschool set. The sign says ages 2-5.
This playscape is lots of fun for toddlers, but it’s still large enough that parents can climb around on it too if little ones need some extra supervision. You’ll find the baby swings over here too.
Nearby is the enormous sandbox. Boo loved playing with the big trucks.
Off the parking lot there is a building that houses restrooms (the women’s room is on the side facing the playground, and the men’s room is on the opposite side of the building), but they were locked while we were there. There was this one porta-potty in front of the building. However, it was marked “ladies” and I did not see another one. Guys, I guess you’re on your own 🙂
As you can probably tell from the photos, this park is very clean and well-kept. It does, however, have a variety of ground coverings, including some padded surface material but also a lot of mulch. That’s not always the best footing for wee ones who like to stuff things in their mouths or, like Boo does now, collect things in their pockets. Overall though, this is definitely a playground the whole family will enjoy.
So there you have it. One weekend, two playgrounds, countless opportunities for fun. Now, fingers crossed this warm weather is here to stay 🙂
Tell us: what specific features do you look for in a great playground for toddlers? Where have you found them?
1130 Maple Avenue, Hartford, CT 06114 (On the Hartford-Wethersfield line)
Get directions here:
Hours & Admission
Hours: Year-round, dawn until dusk.
Admission: No charge for park and playground facilities. Fees apply for use of the golf course. Click here for more information.
Park Features and Regulations:
- Boundless Playground
- Separate toddler play area
- Baby swings
- 100% padded synthetic surface under and around the playscapes
- Easy access for strollers
- Benches and picnic tables
- Basketball court
- Designated (free) parking area for the playground
- Duck pond
- Bathrooms, though not located near the playground. Facilities are down the road near the duck pond (when open; at the time of this visit they were NOT open).
- Public golf course
- Pool facilities (we’ll have to check these out when it gets warmer)
- Park only in designated areas; do not park on the side of the access road.
- The park access road is one-way up near the playground; enter from Maple Street but do not exit there. Instead, turn left out of the playground parking area to continue down the road to the duck pond/restrooms and exit.
691 Silas Deane Highway, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Get directions here:
Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Call for most up-to-date hours.
400 Addison Road Glastonbury, CT 06033
Get directions here:
The playground and park grounds are open year-round from sunrise to one half hour before sunset.
Park Features and Regulations:
- Boundless Playground
- Partially enclosed
- Three distinct playscapes, including a separate play area for toddlers and preschoolers
- Baby swings
- There is plenty of room to bring a stroller, but keep in mind it will have to roll over a variety of surfaces including grass, sand, and mulch.
- Picnic areas
- Fields, tennis courts, basketball court
- Nearby bathroom facilities (when open; at the time of this visit they were NOT open, but there was a porta-potty available)
- Large (free) parking lot
- The website mentions a wading pool and a “spray mushroom.” We’ll have to go back when it gets warmer to check out the pool facilities.
- Please do not bring rollerblades, bicycles, or skateboards into the play area
- No golfing
- Dogs must be on a leash