I know, I know. First, I give you a post about walking trails while we’re having sub-freezing temperatures, and now I’m presenting you with a playground post the day before a blizzard. You must think I have gone off the deep end!
Well, I apologize for my rotten timing, but I have a good reason. You see, last month I wrote a post about the Eleanor Buck Wolf Nature Center in Wethersfield, CT (a nice, cozy, indoor activity for the winter months). The Nature Center happens to be situated near the entrance to Wethersfield’s Mill Woods Park, and one of our readers was kind enough to let me know that further into the park there is a great playground. Now, I know we may be mom-geeks, but Mandy and I get super excited when we find a great place for an outing that also happens to be near a playground. It’s like a two-for-one deal! And I just couldn’t wait until spring to check out this one.
So in case you missed my EBW Nature Center post, here’s a little Mill Woods Park refresher. The entrance is on Prospect Street. Look for these signs to see where to turn in.
The playground is located just across the parking lot (actually, in this picture, it’s behind me) and you might have a little trouble seeing it at first as it is set back some distance. If it was difficult to spot when all the trees are bare, I imagine it must be more challenging in the spring. But trust me, it’s there.
And yes, it was covered with snow that day. But listen, there were tons of other footprints around the play equipment, so I was not the only crazy mommy who took her kid out to the playground in the snow 🙂
This is a very cute playground. It has two separate play structures; one for older kids and one for younger kids. We checked out the small structure first.
It has stairs and a slide and that mysterious purple thing that I see at all the playgrounds now that looks like a slide but actually has raised bumps on it like it is a rock climbing wall. Poor Boo is so confused by it. He always tries to go down it like it’s a slide, gets frustrated when he doesn’t “slide” anywhere, and then proceeds to bounce himself down anyway (and I bet that doesn’t feel too good on his bum). Such an encounter usually ends in tears–either Boo’s from frustration or mine because I am trying so hard not to laugh at his pig-headed determination to conquer the “slide-wall” as I have so dubbed it 🙂
Anyway, today Boo had fun with the regular slide and ignored the purple thing completely, which was just as well since it was covered in snow.
There are also these cute bouncers nearby.
I’m not gonna lie, it was probably too cold of a day to be at a playground, so we hustled Boo over to the larger playscape so I could grab a few pictures and we could head home for some hot chocolate.
I have to admit I was a little shocked that my abnormally risk-averse toddler (as illustrated by all those failed trips to the bounce house arenas) was willing to give them a try. But he loved them!
Seriously, we couldn’t get him to stop. But here’s the thing about this playscape: there is no good way for a toddler to get up to those slides on his own. There are no stairs or platforms or ramps. All the ways up require some pretty advanced dexterity, and Boo was not ready to go it alone. There are monkey bars, other assorted ladder-type contraptions, and a rock wall.
Yeah, it’s definitely going to be a while before Boo can handle this rock wall 🙂
So be prepared to help your little ones with their ascent. If you have a toddler, this is definitely not a play structure where you can stand back and enjoy a coffee while the kiddos play. It’s hands-on.
There is also a row of swings, including two baby swings.
And a large picnic area with tables, which I know doesn’t look like much now covered in snow, but I bet it will be a great place for a quick lunch/snack in the summer.
But the thing that is going to be really, really nice about this playground come summer, is all the shade. Just look at all those bare branches. Can you imagine the lovely canopy they’ll provide when the leaves begin to sprout? No sun hats necessary!
I will have to come back again in the spring to take some more appealing pictures (What?! Snow-covered playgrounds don’t make you want to just rush right outside? Imagine that.) But in the meantime, I have fulfilled my main mission: outing synergy. So if you’re thinking of checking out the Eleanor Buck Wolf Nature Center, now you know that after you work the little ones’ minds teaching them about cuddly, scaly, and feathery creatures, you can take them down the road to the playground for a workout too 🙂
Mill Woods Park Playground
Mill Woods Park, Wethersfield, CT
Get directions here:
(Entrance is on Prospect Street)
- Adjacent parking lot (free parking)
- A separate toddler/preschooler playscape (in addition to the larger, main playscape)
- Slides, climbing wall, monkey bars, ladders, and more
- Swings and baby swings
- Picnic areas
- Wood chip surface
- Shaded by trees
- Nearby basketball court
- Nearby skatepark for older kids
- The wood chip and natural surface may make it a little challenging to roll a stroller around, but it is doable.
- I didn’t see any benches near the playscape, so be prepared to stand while your little one plays.
- The large playscape has great slides that even toddlers (like Boo) may love, but you will have to help them climb up the playscape as there is no “easy” way up.
- If you go after it snows or rains, you might want to bring a towel with you because water seems to pool at the ends of the slides.
- Restroom facilities must be seasonal because the restrooms were locked when we were there and there were no porta-potties either. I will have to check back in the spring to see if the restrooms are in use then.
- Make it a double feature by visiting the Eleanor Buck Wolf Nature Center before (or after) playtime at the playground.
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