Although my town of Glastonbury is among the Connecticut towns with the largest land area, it feels more like a tiny hamlet at times. This is especially true when something new is under construction. It is the hot topic in town and everyone is buzzing about it. Oh my, we will talk for weeks and weeks about what is being built (if we know) or what might be built (if we don’t). Some of us, ahem, like me, will even do frequent drivebys to assess the progress. It’s just so exciting in a town that is like, 99% farmland when there’s a new (insert anything here) to explore. (Okay, I totally made that percentage up, and truth be told, I love all those wonderful Glastonbury farms!)
Since I’ve been living here (oh, about 8 years), perhaps the biggest construction project has centered around Riverfront Park and the new Riverfront Community Center on Welles Street. It’s a beautiful building, and the grounds around it have always been lovely green space. But as my friends and I finished up our Music Together or some other class taking place there, we always lamented that there was no playground nearby to take the kids to after class.
So you can imagine the unbridled frenzy among moms (and dads and grandmas and nannies) of little ones in Glastonbury when the town completed the new Riverfront Park Playground back in September. We were so excited, we could barely stand it!
I think every one of us checked out that new playground within days of its opening. Like I said, that was BIG news in this small town! And today, I’m going to give you seven reasons why you should be excited about this playground too 🙂
1. Playground-Side Parking.
This playground has its own parking area, separate from the other buildings in the park. There are several entrances/parking areas in Riverfront Park, all of which are on Welles Street. So make sure you enter at the sign that says “Boathouse Entrance”. You will see the playground parking area on your right.
2. Separate Playscapes. And I mean totally separate.
Now, many playgrounds that have been built in recent years feature multiple playscape structures–usually one large one for the big kids, and then one small one off to the side for the toddlers. That’s not news. But this playground has taken the big/small concept to a whole new level! Yes, this playground is actually two completely separate playgrounds.
The Large Playground:
The Toddler Playground:
3. BOTH playgrounds are fully fenced-in.
In case you couldn’t tell from all those pictures above, BOTH of these playgrounds are fully fenced-in with latching gates. Sorry, kids. You aren’t going anywhere 🙂
4. Covered Picnic Areas.
I love it when I can feed the kiddos lunch or a snack after a playground visit. Chances are, after all that running around, they will be hungry. So if we can get the eating out of the way before we head home, most of the time it ensures that I’ll get a little peace and quiet on the drive home (plus, they won’t be so annoyed with me when we stop at the store to pick up a few things– hey, if I’ve got the kiddos out we might as well run a few errands too 🙂
There is a small picnic area within the toddler playground.
And then there is a larger picnic pavilion just outside the playground.
5. Real Restrooms (With a Baby Changing Station!).
Much of the time, playgrounds are porta-potty only destinations, especially during the fall, winter and spring months when parks close for the season. But this playground is right near the Riverfront Community Center, and guess what? You can walk right in and use those restrooms! It is a little bit of a walk from the playground–maybe just the equivalent of a block. If you head in the side entrance nearest to the park, you’ll first come to a family restroom on your left. There’s no changing station in that one though. If you keep walking down the hall, you will come to a set of Women’s and Men’s restrooms on the the left as well. I can’t say for sure about the men’s room, but the women’s room has a baby changing station in it. Yay!
6. Proximity to Drive-Through Coffee.
There are at least two options for grabbing a delicious cup of coffee at a drive-through on your way there (and since the playgrounds are fully fenced, you might actually be able to, gasp, sit on a bench for 5 uninterrupted minutes and enjoy your beverage. (Wait, did I just see a pig fly by?)
7. A Serene Spot Just Steps From Town.
Besides all these wonderful amenities, this park is just beautiful. Its sprawling green space gives way to beautiful views of the river.
There is an elegant new fountain beside the playgrounds.
And the area is set back from the road far enough that you almost forget that you are just steps away from the bustling Glastonbury Town Center. But that is such a bonus too! An easy half mile walk up Welles Street and you’ll find yourself at the Welles-Turner Memorial Library with its cute kids’ reading nook and variety of kids’ classes. That half mile will also bring you to Main Street where you’ll find restaurants and shopping.
If you’re feeling adventurous, wear the kids out at the playground, then put them in the stroller and let them snooze while you get to do a little exploring of your own. (And if retail’s not your thing, the park also has lovely riverside walking trails.)
So let’s hope there will still be a few glorious fall days left before the cold sets in, and you can take advantage and head over to this wonderful new playground. At least then you’ll know what everyone is talking about 🙂
Welles Street, Glastonbury, CT
You should be able to use “Riverfront Park” in your GPS (although, that may not send you to the playground’s parking area, so keep an eye out for the “Boathouse Entrance” I mentioned above). The address for the Boathouse is 252 Welles Street, Glastonbury, Connecticut; that will probably get you closest to where you want to be.
The playground is open during daylight hours (like most parks).
The Riverfront Community Center is open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (or later) Monday through Friday; Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; closed Sunday.
- Stroller Friendly: YES, you can easily bring a stroller with you to the playground as there are paved walkways to it. Although, the playgrounds themselves are all mulch, which can be tough to push a stroller around in.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES
- Restroom: YES. There are restrooms in the Riverfront Community Center but they are only available during open hours. (See above.)
- Baby Changing Station: YES, there is a changing station in the Riverfront Community Center.
- Parking: YES. There is a large lot adjacent to the playground; parking is free.
- Food for Sale: NO
- Outside Food Allowed: YES
- Cash Required: N/A
- Dress Code: Play clothes. The ground is mulch, and there is also a sandbox in the toddler playground, if that helps with your wardrobe planning.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: OF COURSE! Just so long as it is light outside.
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