Last week Mandy shared her “secret playground” in West Hartford, and this week I’m going to clue you in to my “secret playground” east of the river here in Glastonbury. I guess it’s not so much of a secret playground as it is a hidden playground. It’s one of those places where if someone hasn’t told you it’s there, you’d never know. That’s because it’s tucked in the middle of a residential neighborhood, on a dead-end street that you can only access by another sleepy side street, and bordered by tall evergreen trees. What makes it so elusive though, is that you won’t ever see this playground until you are actually right there in front of it. Intrigued? I thought so 🙂
We frequent this playground regularly, but this particular visit happened to be right after our outing to the Play Place at McDonald’s that turned out to be a little less active than I had anticipated. We’d just pumped Boo full of pancakes (carbs) and syrup (sugar) so I knew we had to go somewhere he could run around for a bit or he’d be bouncing off the walls at home.
This playground is located on Canione Road. It’s part of the Ross Field complex, which is home to Glastonbury Little League. Long before Boo arrived, hubby and I would walk our first-born, a Beagle whom we like to refer to as our “kid with fur,” over to this field on weekend mornings to watch the kids play baseball. That’s the only reason we knew about the playground. My husband, the ESPN addict, has this uncanny sixth sense for sporting events, and apparently he can tell there’s a Little League game going on from a mile away based only on the almost imperceptible sound of the crack of a bat and the low hum of parental cheering. Neither of which I could hear. Anyway, that’s how we stumbled upon Ross Field one day many years ago, and that’s why I made a beeline back to it as soon as Boo was steady on two feet.
Here’s why I love this playground:
1. It’s completely fenced-in and has a kid-proof latching mechanism on the gate.
2. It has smaller-scale playscapes that are perfect for preschoolers.
3. It has a giant sandbox filled with toy trucks (Boo’s favorite).
4. It has benches and picnic tables where weary parents can sit and still supervise all the action.
5. I can walk there from my house.
6. There’s a large, convenient parking lot when I’m feeling too lazy to walk there from my house.
7. It’s relatively near a Starbucks drive-thru (Eric Town Square) and a Dunkin Donuts Drive-thru (Main Street). Have I mentioned that I like coffee?
Now, would you like to see some pictures? 🙂
This is the parking lot. Since we were there at a quarter past way too flippin’ early that morning (blame that on the McDonald’s post), it was pretty empty. But this place can get hoppin’, especially when there’s a Little League game going on. Check the schedule if you want to be safe (although, when there’s a Little League game, there’s also food at the snack bar next to the field).
So here is a close-up of that kid-proof latch I mentioned above. I’m even going to tell you how to operate it so you won’t feel like an idiot standing there holding onto your child with one hand while trying in vain to get the darn thing open with the other hand all while attempting to look like you have some idea of what you are doing when really you are just praying that one of the nice mommies on the inside will come over and help you. Not that that’s ever happened to me, of course.
Okay, see that bar sort of sticking up between the gate and the fence post? You are going to push straight DOWN on the bar, and that will release the locking mechanism, which will allow that little claw thing to slide away from the post and–voila!–you’re in. Then just push the gate shut normally and it will automatically lock again. You’re welcome.
Boo usually makes a beeline for the sandbox.
He also loves climbing through this tunnel.
He’s always up for a little gator-wrestling too.
Eventually, he realizes that there are also a couple of pretty cool playscapes to explore. This one is perfect for toddlers.
And this one is perfect for the more adventurous preschooler.
Boo likes it too, but the sides are pretty open and out of my reach, so I typically only let him play on this one if hubby and I are both there: one of us covers the top and one of us covers the bottom. I always appreciate a playscape that’s not too difficult for adults to climb if necessary.
Here’s the swing set. There is only one baby swing, so that’s a hot commodity. Boo has never cared for swings though, so it’s never been an issue for me.
There are bouncy thingamabobs (what are those called anyway?).
This neat “phone” thingamajig (the 21st century version of the tin can telephone?) with one end on the toddler playscape and the other by the sandbox. It really works. I tried it!
And then there are these ride-on toys.
Boo loves them, but I’m still on the fence about them. Here’s why:
Because Boo can’t reach the pedals yet, this is how we propel him forward. Five minutes of that is fun, but after your third time around the park it gets a little old…not to mention painful for your back. But look at that smile!
Boo’s growing like a weed though. In a few months, I bet we’ll both love them 🙂
Another nice thing about this playground is that it does get some shade from nearby trees. The picnic tables are situated in areas that get some of that shade too, so there’s usually a nice, cool place to sit for a snack.
The only real drawback to this playground is the restroom situation:
Even the nicest porta-potties are kind of icky in the summer heat. But at least it’s nice to have the option. In a real pinch, you’re just down the street from the Welles-Turner Memorial Library, and you can always drive over there to use the restrooms. Check out the children’s section while you’re there.
You can also run into the nearby Whole Foods on Welles Street, which has a really nice restroom with a changing station that’s located at the back of the beauty products section. This Whole Foods also has a food court and a kids’ play area, so it might be the perfect place to grab a quick lunch before you head home to enjoy what is sure to be a nice, long naptime 🙂
Is there a “secret playground” in your neighborhood? Please share!
Playground at Ross Field
Canione Road, Glastonbury, CT
Get directions here (to Canione Road):
Or try these from the Glastonbury town website:
Route 2 East to Exit 8. At end of exit ramp take a right onto Hebron Avenue. Continue on Hebron Avenue to Main Street. At intersection take a left onto Main Street. Go about ½ mile or so and take a left onto Williams Street West (just past the Police Station). Go down Williams Street West and at the first stop sign, take a left onto Canione Road and drive towards the field/parking lot.
Route 2 West to Exit 8. At the light at the end of exit ramp take a right and at the next light take a left onto Hebron Avenue and follow the above directions.
- Two playscapes with slides, ladders, poles, rock-climbing wall, monkey bars, and more.
- Smaller playscape is perfect for toddlers
- Baby swing and regular swings
- Benches and picnic tables
- Shaded areas
- Dirt/mulch/grass surface (so maybe not the best playground for a crawling baby who likes to put things in his or her mouth. Ick.)
- Porta-potty (no changing station)
- Large adjacent parking lot
- Stroller accessible
Today’s the last day to enter our first Giveaway. Click on over to this post and leave a comment with the word “YZ” and your favorite summer activity. C’mon. You know you love FREE stuff!
Then check back tomorrow when we’ll debut our Parks and Playgrounds Preview, featuring more than 20 great places to get outdoors and play. And it’s just in time for the long Memorial Day weekend (the unofficial start of summer).
Next week, I’m trekking (well, not really) on some family-friendly nature trails. Plus, it’s time for the May Roundup. You won’t want to miss Mandy’s recap of all the fun places we’ve discovered this month!
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