UPDATE: In November 2014 the playground area in Elizabeth Park was expanded. Pictures are below!
The park covers over 100 acres and includes many pathways (some of which were recently re-paved), a delicious restaurant (the Pond House Cafe), a 100 year old rose garden, and many other amazing sites (including a tulip garden which is currently in full bloom).
It is home to one of my favorite summer pastimes, the Wednesday night concerts in the park. It is a place my family visits often for walks or a picnic on a gorgeous day. And it is now home to a brand new playground which is sure to be a hot spot this summer.
This isn’t just any playground, though. It is a very special playground built in honor of a beautiful little girl, Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, one of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. It is thanks to Ana’s family, friends, and the dedicated volunteers at the Where Angels Play Foundation that this living memorial has been created and now offers a place for local children to celebrate Ana’s life through the enjoyment of this wonderful play area.
The playground is designed for children ages 2-12 and is one large structure filled with ramps, slides, musical instruments and so much more. My kids were completely enthralled.
The upper area of the playscape was a little challenging for my youngest one (who probably shouldn’t have even been on it because she is only one!), so I had to keep an extra eye on her, but my kids really enjoyed checking out all that this new play area had to offer.
This playground was a replacement for the old playground in Elizabeth Park and will soon include even more play equipment including swings and a playscape for the older kids (see this article for more information).
If you haven’t been to the play area in Elizabeth Park before, check out the map below for details on its location.
The playground is located right in Hartford’s West End neighborhood, so many of the park’s visitors arrive by foot or bike. For those driving, though, on street parking is available all around the park and the most convenient spots are located right on Elizabeth Street.
A water fountain and restroom were also conveniently located nearby.
Right next to the playground was a giant open space where the kids enjoyed running, playing, and rolling down the hill. I did have to laugh when Bruiser laid down on the ground and asked me which way he was supposed to roll. The hill was obviously not very steep. Ha!
The playground area also had several benches where parents could keep an eye on the kids while getting a chance to take a little break themselves. There was also a large, mulched area right in front of the playscape (where the old playground used to be). My understanding is that this space will eventually include some new playground features such as swings and a larger playscape for the older children (see this article for more details).
At the end of the play area was a raised wooden platform that the kids were using as a stage. They were belting out tunes from the movie Frozen and my daughter, Sparkles, made sure she got in on that action. “Let it Goooo, Let it Goooo!”
My kids had such a fun afternoon at Ana’s playground and I know we will be back many times in the future. I’m also looking forward to visiting many of the other playground’s being built in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in honor of the 20 children and 6 teachers who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I know in Connecticut alone playgrounds are being built or have been built in Ansonia, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Milford, New London, Mystic, Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford, and Westport.
If you are interested in donating to the playground project, please visit the website for the Where Angels Play Foundation for more information.
Located at the corner of Elizabeth Street and Whitney Street in Hartford, Connecticut
- dawn to dusk
- Stroller Friendly: YES.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES.
- Baby Changing Station: NO.
- Restrooms: YES. A porta-potty is located right next to the playground area. This may only be available seasonally. The next closest restroom facility would be the Pond House Cafe which is located on the other side of Elizabeth Park.
- Parking: FREE parking is available on Elizabeth Street.
- Food for Sale: YES. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, food is available for sale at the Pond House Cafe’s Dog House. It is a bit of a walk from the playground area, but a food and drink option if needed.
- Outside Food Allowed: YES.
- Cash Required: NO.
- Dress Code: NO. But I would recommend wearing comfortable clothing and shoes.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES.
Tips & Things to Bring:
- As with any outdoor activity, when the weather is cold, bundle up and when the weather is warm, make sure to bring hats, sunglasses, and suntan lotion for protection.
- 4D Vision Gym – A vision training center located in Cromwell, CT where Dr. Juanita Collier, MS, OD and her staff show members how to utilize Vision Therapy to correct visual issues and make learning and playing easier and more fun.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
- Kathryn Deane Photography – A natural light photographer located in West Hartford, CT and specializing in maternity, newborn, child, family, and senior portrait photography.
- NEW – Mansfield OBGYN – Exceptional providers of compassionate, quality women’s healthcare with offices in Hebron, Mansfield and Windham, CT.
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