A few years ago Shawna wrote a post about the holiday event, the Festival of Silver Lights at Hubbard Park. In her post she mentioned that during their visit her husband saw a glimpse of a playground in the park but darkness made it impossible for them to get more details. Ever since that post we’ve discussed needing to make a return trip to Hubbard Park to get a few daytime pictures and more details on the playground area and the park itself. So a few weeks ago, my husband, Sweetheart, and I made our way down to Meriden, Connecticut to check it out.
I’d actually been hearing a lot about Hubbard Park in recent weeks because it is home to the popular Meriden Daffodil Festival held each spring. While we weren’t able to make it to the festival, I was hoping that the daffodils wold still be in bloom so I could get some pictures.
As we pulled into the park I noticed a few distinct features: Mirror Lake and Castle Craig.
Mirror Lake sits smack dab in the middle of the park and provides for beautiful views and a great space to walk or jog around. Then up at the top of the nearest hill sits Castle Craig, a popular hiking destination.
As we pulled into the park we couldn’t miss the beautiful daffodils on the hillside and notice all of the fun activities happening that day. Moms were pushing strollers around the lake and others were running, fishing, and picnicking. We actually drove around the driving loop that circles Mirror Lake and all the way to the back of the property and parked in the lot located right next to the (gigantic) playground.
And we couldn’t just park next to the playground and not choose that as our first destination! So in we went.
The Adventure Hollow Playground located in Hubbard Park opened in 2008 and was built in memory of a little boy named Noah Bourdon. The playground is huge and filled with so many amazing play structures.
It is fully fenced-in and the opening (at lease the day we visited) was on the side near the baby swings. I actually wasted a few minutes trying to figure out how to open the front gate so don’t make my mistake!
The playground is filled with several play structures, climbing equipment, swings, benches and more.
The first play area was designed for kids ages 2-5 and features ramps, climbing structures, and slides.
The second main structure was designed for the older crowd, ages 5-12 and features more ramps and slides but also more challenging climbing structures.
Both baby and regular swings along with other climbing structures also fill the space.
Right outside of the playground area was green space loaded with picnic tables. A great spot to grab a snack or lunch.
Oh and the only restroom I found in the area was a port-a-potty located right outside the playground gate.
After letting Sweetheart play on the playground for well over an hour, we were getting pretty hungry ourselves and decided to actually make our way back into the main park area to see if we could find a lunch spot with a lake view.
As we made our way towards Mirror Lake, we passed a few other park amenities including a pool and tennis courts. The pool is actually only open to Meriden town residents who can purchase a season pass for $10 per adult and $3 per child.
My husband and Sweetheart raced up the hill until we found a beautiful spot to grab lunch.
This was our view.
And after lunch we took a spin around the lake. Let me give you a virtual tour.
We ended our walk with a stop at the daffodil area and, of course, I had to grab a quick shot of Sweetheart being enveloped by all of the pretty flowers.
Our visit with the flowers was a fun chance to grab a picture of Sweetheart but our stop there was also a little stressful. I had to keep reminding her not to touch the flowers and then my stress level doubled when I saw the sign below. A $98 find for each picked flower? Wow!?! Soooo – Don’t let your kids pick the flowers. Good luck 🙂
The park had so much to offer and we were only able to see a small part of it during our visit. Hiking to Castle Craig (or at least driving there when the road is open from May to October) might be another fun future Hubbard Park adventure. Apparently the views from the tower are pretty spectacular.
But that is all we could manage for one morning! I was so happy that I finally got a chance to visit Hubbard Park. We had lunch with a view, took a walk around the lake, and enjoyed the enormous playground. And while the playground was fenced-in (which was fabulous) I still had to keep a pretty close watch on Sweetheart during our visit because she kept trying to scale some of the large climbing equipment on the playscape designed for ages 5-12. Not a huge deal, of course, but also not a totally relaxing fenced-in playground environment. I’m looking forward to bringing Bruiser and Sparkles for a visit to this park soon and I think both Shawna and I will be planning on an early visit to the Festival of Silver Lights next winter for some time on the playground followed by the holiday light display!
- The playground closes 1/2 hour after sunset
- The road to Castle Craig is open from May 1 – October 31 from 10:00 am – 4:45 pm. When the road is closed visitors will need to hike to this destination.
- Stroller Friendly: YES.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES.
- Restroom: YES. When we visited (Early May) only port-a-potties were available. There were restrooms located near the band shell but they were closed.
- Baby Changing Station: NO. I didn’t see one.
- Parking: YES. Parking is available on the side streets and in several lots located throughout the park
- Food for Sale: NO. At least I didn’t see any 🙂
- Outside Food Allowed: YES.
- Cash Required: NO.
- Dress Code: NO.
- Age Recommendations: All ages are welcome. The playground playscapes are designed for children ages 2-5 and then ages 5-12
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES.
- Discounts: Not needed.
- Band shell
- Hiking trails
- Lake – Mirror Lake
- Picnic areas
- Pool (seasonal)
- Regular playground (fenced-in)
- Toddler playground (fenced-in)
- A playscape for kids ages 2-5
- A playscape for kids ages 5-12
- Fully fenced-in (though both play areas are contained inside the same fence)
- Regular swings
- Baby swings
- Handicap accessible swings
- Climbing structures
- Monkey bars
- Bark as a ground cover
- A partial concrete walkway surrounding the playscapes
- Minimal shading available
- Note that skateboards and animals are not allowed in the playground area
- 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. Read the OAAM post on this destination here.
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