Pssst! Don’t forget to check out our 2018 Holiday Fun Guide!
Have you heard?! The BRAND NEW playground at Bushnell Park in Hartford is open for business. Or should I say, open for play!
I won’t lie, I’ve been semi-stalking the Bushnell Park website for months and obsessively Googling trying to get info on when they new playground would open. And last week, I finally found the announcement I was waiting for!
Of course, we had to race downtown just as soon as humanly possible 🙂
But wait. Let me back up for just a minute. I have loved Bushnell Park ever since our very first visit to Winterfest 7 years ago, and my affection only increased with the re-opening of the refurbished carousel some years later. Every time I go there I leave feeling warm and fuzzy about our capital city. The lovely park. The beautiful architecture nearby. The wonder of a century old carousel that you can actually ride. This park really is a gem. So when they tore down the old playground, I was a bit sad that the park might not be a regular destination for us any longer (with two active boys, lack of playground can be kind of a deal-breaker when it comes to planning a park outing).
So we waited.
And waited some more.
And nearly 3 years later…
It was definitely worth the wait!
Last Sunday we had a chance to check it out. We didn’t let a little rain from the night before deter us 🙂
I usually find it very easy to park around there during the weekend. Typically we find a space right there on Elm Street. It’s even free!
If you visit during the week, be sure to obey all the parking signs and regulations (and pay all posted parking fees, which can even be done via an app now).
Then it’s just a straight shot across the park (or a little bit of a zig zag if you want to stay on the paved path).
Just like the old playground, this new one is located right behind the carousel building. When the boys saw that shiny gold dome rise beyond the trees, they pretty much took off running!
The playground was designed with elements that mimic two of the nearby landmarks– the Connecticut State Capital Building dome and the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch.
I could go on about how cool it is to examine the likenesses between the landmarks and their playground minis, but that is really just the start of what makes this playground so fun!
While you admire playscape imitating art, your kids will appreciate all the unique features. Like a towering twisty slide:
Lots of ladders:
A super tall rope structure:
And so many other fun activities to explore:
Even though there are lots of challenging ladders to scale, the main playscape also has ramps and stairs, making is more accessible for children of different abilities:
There is also a toddler playscape:
Benches and a picnic area:
As playgrounds go, this one is definitely on the smaller side, but my kids loved it. It’s so thoughtfully designed with so many interesting features and activities. I could barely drag them away for a ride on the carousel (because how can you come down to Bushnell Park and not go for a spin on the carousel???). Please note: at the time of this posting, the Bushnell Park website did not list hours for the carousel for December. Please be sure to check their webpage for more information before you go.
This is a great time of year to get out and visit this new playground, because once again Bushnell Park is hosting Winterfest, a public event that includes FREE ice skating, FREE skate rentals and other festive (and free) holiday activities (like a FREE photo with Santa). This Saturday morning (December 1st) there will even be FREE skating lessons!
So bundle up your crew and head to our capital city for a fun family adventure that will make you proud to call Connecticut home. Works for me every time 🙂
Their website suggests using “99 Trinity Street, Hartford” for your GPS directions. Please see this page for additional details.
Dawn to Dusk (though there may be frequent evening events going on)
Don’t forget to check out all the Winterfest fun! This event runs though January 6, 2019.
FREE! Although the carousel is $1/ride for everyone over 1 year old; credit cards accepted with a minimum purchase.
Stroller Friendly: YES
Coffee Mug Friendly: YES
Restroom: YES, there is a *real* restroom located in the carousel building (porta-potties elsewhere)
Baby Changing Station: There was not one when we originally visited the carousel in 2016, but I don’t know if one has been added.
Parking: Street parking (metered) around the park; there are also various parking garages nearby.
Food for Sale: Not officially, but I did see a whole strip of parking reserved for food vendors on weekdays!
Outside Food Allowed: Of course. There are picnic tables at the playground.
Cash Required: The carousel accepts credit cards with a minimum purchase (I think it’s $5, but it could be $15; there was a 5 involved!).
Dress Code: N/A
Age Recommendations: All ages!
Evening/Weekend Hours: YES
Birthday Party Venue: The carousel can be rented for birthday parties. Get more info here.
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