Over the past 3 years or so, I have learned (among countless other things) that there is definitely no shortage of well-equipped, super-fun playgrounds in the Farmington Valley. As most people know, you can usually find a good playground at local elementary schools but those aren’t always the best choice if you are looking for someplace fun to play on a weekday during the school year or if you want to dig in a sandbox or have a picnic lunch.
Below are a few of my family’s favorite playgrounds in the area and why we like them as well as one that we have been meaning to try:
Iron Horse Playground – Iron Horse Boulevard, Simsbury
Iron Horse is a great place to play for all ages! There is an enclosed play area with rubber ground throughout. There are separate playscapes for younger kids and another area for kids ages 5 and up. There are swings and a sandbox area as well as balance beam and a mural painted tunnel. There are also picnic tables (some of which are covered) and a drinking fountain. There is a new dog park next door and soccer fields are close by. Port-a-potties are just outside the playscape area.
Simsbury Farms – 100 Old Farms Road, West Simsbury
Simsbury Farms has a decent sized fenced in play area with covered picnic tables and a display of bird houses. There are swings in a separate unenclosed space that you have to walk down a grassy hill to get to. The playscapes are surrounded by woodchips and the equipment is starting to show some wear and tear but my girls don’t seem to mind. We also love playing on the small “troll” bridge just past the swings. Tennis courts are next door and there is an 18 hole golf course, pool, and ice rink located in the same complex. There is a port-a-potty next to the playscape area.
Weatogue Park – Route 10/202, Weatogue
My daughter knows this playground as “the goldfish playground” because the small playscape area has an orange fish bridge. I will only mention this playground because my oldest daughter really likes it and it was a lifesaver when my youngest daughter was an infant and my toddler wasn’t agile enough to be very independent at some of the bigger playgrounds. It is not fenced in but it is surrounded by fields so I have not had any problems keeping the kids nearby. There are swings but no baby swings despite the fact that the playscape seems to be geared for younger kids. The playscape is behind the athletic fields next to the bike path. You will see the big orange fish from the parking lot. There is a port-a-potty on site.
Salmon Brook Park – 215 Salmon Brook St., Granby
We recently visited Salmon Brook Park for the first time and have already gone back once! There are 2 separate brightly-colored play areas for younger and older kids and the playground area is enclosed. The playscapes appear to be fairly new and are in good condition. There are covered picnic tables and there is also a small rocky stream behind the playground area which is great for wading and watching minnows. There is also a sandy area which I saw some people using for beach play. My daughters had a blast skipping rocks and we probably spent more time at the stream than at the playground so be sure to bring water shoes if you think you might like to do that. The playscape and stream are in the back of the park behind the athletic fields and there are port-a-potties nearby. I have heard that there is a man-made pond for swimming with a beach area that opens in the summer. It looked like they were doing maintenance on the pond when we were recently there. There are no lifeguards at the stream so it is swim/wade at your own risk but the pond does have lifeguards on duty when it is open.
Buckingham Playground – off of Huckleberry Hill Rd, Avon
Buckingham is a large colorful playground that can be loads of fun for all ages! I have been going here since my oldest daughter was about 18 months old but some of the equipment is intended for older kids and you need to keep an extra close eye (and a hand or two) on little ones. There are swings and a few picnic tables in the play area. I don’t recall seeing a port-a-potty nearby but I have not been there in a while. There is a concrete path area which is great for pushing toddlers in their toy cars and/or wagons and big wheels.
Wolcott Park Playground and Splash Pad – New Britain Ave, Wolcott Rd, West Hartford, CT
I have heard great things about the Wolcott Park splash pad play area but still haven’t found my way there. I am hoping to make the trip on the next warm day when I am home with the girls. Supposedly, there is a fenced in play area nearby designed for children ages 2-5 and I believe there are bathrooms on site. I will be sure to share more information in a follow-up post after I actually visit the park.
I am always looking for new ways to burn off some of that seemingly never-ending kiddy energy so please let me know if you have a favorite playground or park that is not on my list that is worth visiting.
Now get out there and play!