PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2015, and while it should still give you a good overview of the experience, it is also possible that it may contain some outdated information. Please check their website for the most current information, especially about things like hours and pricing.
In the early 1900’s, over 100 acres of land was donated to the City of Bristol by entrepreneur Albert Rockwell and his wife, Nettie. The land was developed into Rockwell Park and became a premier park in the state of Connecticut. Over the years the park fell into disrepair and in 2004 the city began a renovation project that would cost over $7 million and take over 4 years to complete.
Today the renovations are complete and the park looks beautiful. After a suggestion from a reader that we needed to add Rockwell Park’s playground to our ever-growing list of reviewed Connecticut playgrounds, I decided to take my crew there for a visit.
The park is located right behind historic Muzzy Field (Babe Ruth played there!) and has a few entrance options. We used the entrance at Jacob and Dutton Street and made our way to the playground area. From where we parked it was a short walk to the playground [and I later realized there was an even closer parking option as well (next time!)].
The park is huge and offers a lot of amenities including: a playground area (of course), skating park, picnic pavilion, splash pad, pool, trails, pond, and more. For this post I’m mainly focusing on the playground area but I am also including pictures of the other areas so you can get a full sense of all the fun activities available here!
You can’t miss the playground as you enter the park. It is really large and filled with multiple playscape structures. Then surrounding the playground area are several other fun activities (I will get to those in a sec).
So here is a quick view of the playground. Doesn’t it have a unique look? I really like it. The play structures almost seem to blend into the park.
The first is designed for kids ages 5-12 and includes a large playscape surrounded by swings and climbing structures.
Next to the playscape are several climbing structures. My kids just love to climb to the highest point of every structure they find so they were super happy with all of the climbing options. I, on the other hand, am deathly afraid of heights and would prefer they stay a lot closer to the ground. [Insert calming breaths here (I’m such a scaredy-cat!)]
See what I mean?
Oh and this thing about gave me a panic attack but the kids LOVED it. I’m assuming it was a structure from the previous playground that they decided to keep following renovations as it was not of the same style as the other play equipment. The kids had so much fun on this thing. I only had to rescue Sweetheart once and then she wouldn’t stop climbing up and flying down it.
Then right next to this play area was the space for the littles, children ages 2-5. It was complete with multiple playscapes, baby swings, rocking structures, and more.
It is important to note that the play areas are right next to each other and there is no fencing around or between the spaces. Toddlers who really shouldn’t be on the larger play structures could quickly get over there because they are so close. If you have a runner, you will need to be really on guard during your visit. And, on the other hand, if you have kids who love a playground filled with new and challenging play structures, they will have so much fun on their visit.
I really liked how the playground was surrounded by a walking path. If I was visiting with a non-walking little one, it might be nice to push them in a stroller around the walking path while keeping an eye on my older child.
Another great feature was the covered picnic area which is where we took a break for snacks and lunch.
The only restrooms available when we visited were port-a-potties located near the spray pad. During the summer they may have other restroom options (if anyone knows, please share!)
And while I don’t have time to go into a lot details about all of the other areas of the park, let me give you a quick visual tour.
After leaving the playground area, we headed over a beautiful bridge and towards the rest of the park.
On the other side is a lagoon and boat house. Apparently in the summer you can rent paddle boats here.
There are trails throughout the property including a beautiful boardwalk. From a distance the boardwalk looked open on the sides but up close you can see it has a metal siding. I felt very safe with my little crew while we were exploring.
The park also has an amphitheater which is where their summer concert series, Rockin’ Out at Rockwell, is held. For 2015, the concerts will be held on Tuesday evenings beginning June 23rd from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Find the full details here.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, Rockwell Park is over 100 acres in size and has a lot of wonderful amenities for visitors to explore. Enjoy a spring day at the playground or a summer day at the splash pad or pool. Bring a stroller for your little one(s) and walk the system of trails and bridges or plan to attend their summer concert series or other events. There is a lot to do at Rockwell Park and I hope you get a chance to check it out.
Thanks again to the readers who suggested this destination. Please keep the outing suggestions coming!
Looking for more park outing ideas? Check our our recent post with our suggestion for 10 Connecticut Parks to Visit This Spring.
Jacob Street and Dutton Avenue in Bristol, Connecticut
Managed by the City of Bristol’s Parks and Recreation Department, (860) 584-6160
- Park is open year-round from dawn to dusk
- Some park amenities such as the pool, spray pad, and paddle boat rentals are only open seasonally. Check out the 2015 schedule here.
- Use of the park and playground is FREE
- Use of the spray pad is FREE
- Use of the pool is based on the current fees. Find the 2015 season rates here.
- Paddle boat rentals are $1 per person per 20 minutes of use.
- Stroller Friendly: YES. The property is huge. Bring stroller if you plan to do more than go to the playground.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES.
- Restroom: YES. There is a port-a-potty located near the splash pad. Other restrooms may be available during the summer.
- Baby Changing Station: NO.
- Parking: YES. Parking is free and there are several parking areas. If you are going to the playground there are even spaces right next to the play area.
- Food for Sale: NO. At least not in April when we visited. There may be food for sale options during the summer.
- Outside Food Allowed: YES. And there is a great picnic pavilion where you can enjoy it!
- Cash Required: YES. Cash would be needed for paid activities.
- Dress Code: NO.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES. Open daily from dawn to dusk.
- Discounts: NOT APPLICABLE.
- Amphitheater (used for their Rockin’ Out in Rockwell Park Summer Concert Series; see here for the 2015 concert calendar)
- Basketball Court
- Picnic Areas (some covered)
- Pond (with seasonal paddle boat rentals)
- Pool (seasonal)
- Skate Park
- Splash Pad (seasonal)
- Toddler Playground
- Volleyball Courts
- A playscape for kids ages 5-12
- Multiple playscapes for kids ages 2-5
- Regular swings
- Baby swings
- Climbing structures
- Monkey bars
- Bark as a ground cover
- NEW The Little Green Tambourine – Located in Canton, CT, this healthy living creative arts studio offers a variety of opportunities for kids to learn and play.
- Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – The state’s only free-standing hospital that offers comprehensive, world-class health care to children. Based in Hartford, Connecticut Children’s also provides services at several locations throughout the state.
- 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.
- Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT, welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
- New England Air Museum – Located in Windsor Locks, CT, NEAM houses dozens of historic civilian and military aircraft and memorabilia in two giant hangers that visitors can tour. A family-friendly destination, the museum also hosts a variety of fun and educational events and activities for kids. Check out their 2015 April vacation activities from 4/13-4/17 & 4/20-4/24! (Read the OAAM post on this destination here)
Want to keep up with things to do with kids in Connecticut?
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