Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mother's Rest

Mother's Rest, in the Fenway, is a fully-enclosed oval playground with innovative, music-themed play equipment and structures (the natural incline to the small stage was a particular favorite with my kids). It looks small at first glance, but there was enough here to keep my kids occupied for two hours, and they keep asking to go back. As a bonus, there is a great view of the Fens and even the occasional flock of geese flying by.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Penniman Road Play Area

We passed the Penniman Road Playground on the way back from the Artesani Wading Pool; my daughter was very taken with the acqua and lavender structures, and insisted we stop for a visit. This is a nice, small, pretty playground, with two climbing structures, a row of swings, and a basketball court right next to it.

Artesani Park & Wading Pool

The Artesani Park & Wading Pool (1255 Soldiers Field Rd, Brighton, MA), on the Brighton side of the Charles River, is the third wading pond we tried this summer. This one stands out because of its intense sprinkler/waterfall in the center, making it a combination wading pond and water park.
Outside the pool are two playgrounds, one for toddlers and one for older kids, that are cool in themselves (and great places for drying out).

The Frog Pond & Tadpole Playground

Set in the Boston Common, the Frog Pond is a Destination, and rightfully so. The bean-shaped wading pond is large, shallow, and warm (I’m guessing the water is heated) with a spray-sprinkler in the center. It’s open from 11 am – 6 pm during the summer, and jampacked with kids for most of that time – but big enough to handle the crowds, for the most part. On one side is a merry-go-round, and on the other is the Tadpole Playground, which is stuffed with both cool climbing structures, and – of course – kids. Despite the crowds, this is a very worthwhile summer activity. (Also, easily accessible by T.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Soule Playground (+splash park and winter playspace!)

The Soule Playground, part of the Soule Recreation Center, is fabulous. The main attraction in the summer is the really cool splash park; but the playground right next to it, designed for older kids, is also worth a visit, as is the fully-enclosed toddler playground up the hill. The three combined can easily keep kids occupied for a full morning or afternoon.

It’s worth mentioning that in the winter, the Soule Gymnasium (which you get to by following the path up past the playground and around the school) hosts a Tuesday and Thursday morning playspace that is only $5 for Brookline residents (and $7 for non-residents).I'll try to post a picture once it starts, but they basically set up the gym with slides, riding toys, tunnels, etc., and turn it into a toddler's dream.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Stoneman Playground on the Esplanade

The "Miriam & Sidney Stoneman Playground," on the Charles River Esplanade (sandwiched between Storrow Drive and the Charles River), is actually two side-by-side playgrounds, one for younger kids and one for older kids. (As always, the 2-5 and 5-12 age designations should be taken with a grain of salt, but there's a clear difference between them). Very nice equipment on both playgrounds, plus excellent views. My kids really enjoyed walking over the Mass Ave footpath to get there, too.

I couldn't find a map, but it's on the Esplanade between Fairfield and Massachusetts Avenues.

The Esplanade Playground

This playground right off the Charles, across from the Arthur Fielder footbridge, is specially designed for older kids. It is super-cool, with climbing equipment (web, huge slide, rope balance beam, hammock) that had lots of adults playing too, without even putting on the "I'm just helping my kids" act. There is a really high, long zip-line, cool twirly things (that’s a technical term), and various other entertainments. If you bring a toddler along, though, he might have very little to do (my experience for the first 10 minutes) or he might decide to climb straight up the climbing web designed for older kids and give you a heart attack (my experience for the rest of the time there).

 Here, I also have to give a shout-out to another Boston-area-playgrounds blogger, whom I discovered while searching for this playground! Check her out: . She seems to range farther than I do, and has some entries I plan to check out soon.

Lee Memorial Wading Pool & Playground

We discovered this wading pond + playground by accident, while we were looking for the Esplanade Playground. (Yes. Yes, we were quite lost.) It was a happy discovery! The wading pool is smaller but less crowded than the Frog Pond, and, if memory serves correctly, deeper in the center. It also opens earlier (at 9:30).

The playground itself was nice but standard – probably not worth a visit on its own, but a great place to go dry off after using the wading pool.

There is a parking lot with 2-hour parking, and when we were there on a weekday morning there were plenty of empty spots (though it also looks like an easily-missed turn off Storrow Drive to get there), and some of the other parents there told me they had walked over from the Science Museum.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fidelis Way Park

The playground in Fidelis Way Park is a somewhat standard (to be fair, I might be jaded by now), but very nice and serviceable playground. It’s not enclosed and is surrounded by stairs, huge basketball courts, and grassy slopes, which, for my toddler, were be a bigger attraction than the actual playground.

Stanley Ringer Playground

The Stanley Ringer Playground is a fully-enclosed playground at the edge of a park with basketball courts, wooded areas, and tennis courts. Despite some grafitti and litter (Toto, we’re not in Brookline anymore), this is a really bright, appealing, spacious playground, with toddler-sized equipment at one end and a large toddler-sized climbing structure on the other, plus swings and what looked like an in-ground sprinkler. For older kids, it looks like there might be some fun hiking in the surrounding park (I saw a chipmunk in the playground!)