Before I get into this post, I’d like to take a moment to say:
You have been leaving us some awesome comments lately, filled with fabulous new tips on places we’ve posted about and great suggestions for places to visit in the future. So we just want to say thanks. And keep ’em coming! Together, we’re building a truly unique resource for parents all across our fun-filled state.
Now, on to today’s regularly scheduled blogging…
If you haven’t noticed, we’ve kind of been on a playground kick here at OAAM. After months of cold weather, we can’t wait to get out of the house. And more importantly, we can’t wait to get our kids out of the house too! I’m sure you all can relate 🙂
So today, I’m going to tell you about a fantastic playground we found in Newington, Connecticut called Our Children’s Place.
Our Children’s Place is a Boundless Playground located in one corner of Newington’s Mill Pond Park. We’ve scouted several of these playgrounds, (including the original Boundless Playground, Jonathan’s Dream in West Hartford, Rotary Park in Simsbury, Addison Park in Glastonbury, and Goodwin Park in Hartford) and we’re starting to see some positive trends in the way they are structured.
The bottom line? We (heart) Boundless Playgrounds! Here are a few reasons why:
- These playgrounds are specially designed to accommodate kids of all abilities.
- Often, there is a separate playscape for toddlers/preschoolers in addition to the main playscape(s).
- All the playscapes have ramps and graduated platforms in addition to stairs and ladders so it’s very easy for toddlers to navigate.
- The sides of the playscapes are usually enclosed with railings.
- All the play equipment is large enough that adults can easily accompany their kids onto the playscape (and down the slides if necessary).
- Many of these playgrounds utilize an extremely cushy, synthetic padded surface material underneath the climbing and sliding areas of the playscape, which is great for parental peace of mind when your toddler takes a little tumble (and it also cuts down on the amount of dirt and mulch available for little ones to stuff in their mouths).
- There will likely be baby swings.
- There will likely be fun, less-physical activities scattered throughout the playscape like mounted steering wheels, musical chimes, and spinning blocks.
- Many of these playgrounds also have quite challenging activities like a rock climbing wall, monkey bars, balance beams, and tall slides, so even older kids can find things that will interest them.
Our Children’s Place has all of the above. But before I show you some pictures of Boo having a ball at this playground, I have to tell you how to get to this playground.
First of all, the address I got from the Boundless Playground’s website and typed into my iPhone GPS, does not actually lead you to the playground. That is because 131 Cedar Street, the address given on the site, is really the address of the Parks & Recreation offices (located at the Town Hall). That is only of limited help because although the Town Hall is located in the general vicinity of Mill Pond Park, it is nowhere near the playground. Once we realized this, we seemed to drive in circles, always able to see the playground from a distance, but never able to figure out how to get over there with our vehicle.
Since I’m not naturally a patient person, I was ready to park over by the pond (more pics of that later) and trek across the field, but hubby thought it might be more helpful for our readers if I figured out a more convenient means of access. He had a point there.
After a few trial and error attempts, we discovered that the parking lot next to the playground is accessible via side streets. It is located where Hillcrest Avenue and Browning Avenue meet (see red dot on map below). We eventually ended up taking Garfield Street to Audubon Avenue to Browning Avenue.
Fortunately, there is some signage so you know you’re on the right track.
Finally, we’re here!
As you can see, there is a nice, big parking area right next to the playground. So worth the wait 🙂
Like I mentioned before, most of these playgrounds have a separate, smaller play area that’s sized just right for toddlers and preschoolers. We started over there.
And yeah, that’s the small play area. Wait until you see the bigger one. By the way, that stone wall enclosure in the foreground is a giant sandbox, and it’s filled with toys like this:
Boo loves sand almost as much as he loves toy trucks, so this area was a big draw. Fortunately, I’ve found that an added bonus of Boo’s favorite Skidders sock-shoes is that they do a super job of keeping the sand out, unlike regular shoes where the sand just flows in over the top.
But before the sandbox, we had some serious climbing and sliding to do over here at the toddler/preschooler playscape.
Now, on to the big play area…
Boo had a super time running up, down, and around the ramps. We all know how much he loooves ramps.
There he goes…
Up some more…
And finally we arrive at this nifty set of differently-shaped slides. Boo liked the one on the left best.
On the next round of ramp running, Boo arrives at this speedy slide:
Of course, there are also more challenging ways to ascend.
And even speedier ways down. (Boo still isn’t much for spiral slides yet; we’ll get there.)
There are lots of other amenities here too, like regular and baby swings, a tire swing, a pool, tennis courts (clay, I think), a basketball court, benches, picnic tables, and of course, plenty of field space. The restrooms are in this building near the smaller playscape. No changing table though.
Before we headed over to nearby Joey Garlic’s for lunch (read about our tiny dining experience here), I wanted to get some pics of a lovely picnic area we had passed…and passed and passed…as we made those endless loops trying to find the playground.
This serene spot, located across the park on Garfield Street, has a gurgling waterfall, pretty gardens, plus plenty of benches and picnic tables. And its own parking area too.
As the park’s name implies, there is also a pond here too. From this distance, I glimpsed a walking trail along the pond, some benches, and also plenty of ducks 🙂
Because we got ourselves so turned around looking for the playground, we didn’t even notice until we started driving back towards the Berlin Turnpike that we were just blocks from Main Street and Newington’s charming town center. There you’ll find, among other establishments, a Carvel ice cream shop, as well as our favorite place to get take-out wings, Wings Over Newington. I love it when I can multi-task: next time we head to this park, maybe we’ll pick up ice cream on the way there and wings on the way home 🙂
Tell us: Is one of these Boundless Playgrounds in your neighborhood?
Our Children’s Place Boundless Playground at Mill Pond Park
At the intersection of Browning Avenue and Hillcrest Avenue in Newington, Connecticut
Parks & Recreation phone number: (860) 665-8666
Parks & Recreation website: http://www.newingtonct.gov/content/78/118/138/400/508/default.aspx
Get directions here:
Note: these directions should take you directly to the parking lot next to the playground at the intersection of Hillcrest Avenue and Browning Avenue (indicated by a red dot on the map below). If not, well, fortunately you’ve got a map for that…
- Adjacent parking lot
- Stroller accessible
- Separate playscape for toddlers/preschoolers
- Synthetic padded surface around ALL playscapes (That means no mulch for little ones to stuff in their mouths! Yay!)
- Enclosed sandbox
- Baby swings
- Benches and picnic tables
- Restrooms (no changing station)
Next week, I’ve got a fast food place with a quality indoor playspace (and the iced lattes aren’t bad either), and Mandy’s taking you on an adventure across the state to a great spot to spend a spring day.