Hey East Coast! You’ve got some great outdoor playgrounds to explore. Check out our favourites, in no particular order.
1. Westmount Inclusive Playground Park This airport-themed schoolyard was the original location of Halifax’s first municipal airport. It pays tribute to its beginnings with an awesome runway obstacle track. Kids of all ages will love the accessible swing sets, slides, ramps, bars, a climbable fire truck and the splash pad (with three sprinklers). Have a picnic at one of the shaded picnic tables, but be sure to pack some water, because you’ll have to trek off-site for fountains and washroom facilities. Open year-round but best used during after school hours, on weekends and holidays.
Go play: Edward Arab Ave., Halifax. 902-422-9334 destinationhalifax.com>
2. Upper Musquodoboit Wooden Playground Giant old-school castle-like structures are begging to be climbed and played on in this hidden gem of a playground. In the teeny town of Upper Musquodoboit (about an hour’s drive outside of Halifax), kids and parents alike will go gaga for the impressive wooden towers, wavy slides and themed sections for imaginative play (like a post office, school, store and even a puppet theatre) in this picturesque farming community. Oh yeah, it’s also Atlantic Canada’s largest wooden playground.
8747 Hwy 224, Upper Musquodoboit.
3. Glen Stewart School’s “Boundless Playground” Constructed on a wheelchair-accessible platform, the bright jungle gym includes specially designed equipment for children with physical, intellectual, hearing and visual limitations. Opened in 2007, the playground hosts multiple slides (including a wide three-seater that toddlers will love), swings (some designed for those with disabilities, but no baby swings), a two-tier pirate ship complete with porthole and wheel, and a plethora of monkey bars to climb, swing and hang from. Due to school hours and extracurricular activities, the playground is best visited in the summer, on holidays or weekends. Free parking is available adjacent to the playground.
34 Glen Stewart Dr., Stratford.
4. St. Andrews Creative Playground Explore the newly renovated schoolyard’s Tudor-style steeples, bridges, twisting slides and hideouts. Built 21 years ago, the playground’s facelift stemmed from generous donations and volunteers in the community. Located on the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay, the massive wooden structure features an extensive sprawl of climbable structures, monkey bars and ropes. Young adventurers can traverse through an etched maze and practice balancing on suspended beams. The main strip of St. Andrews is a short walk away, where visitors can find restaurants and shops for necessary pit stops. Shaded picnic areas and benches are nearby. Open year-round. Best visited on holidays and weekends off-season.
Go play: 166 Frederick St., St. Andrews. 506-529-5011 standrewsplayground.com>
5. Magnetic Hill Zoo Playground If you’re looking for a fun day trip, check out Moncton’s popular Magnetic Hill Zoo. There’s a nominal fee ($9 for adults, $8 for youth, $7 for children 4–11 and free for toddlers 3 and under) to enter the zoo, but there’s so much to see and do, it’s worth the cost. After you ooh and aah over the cute animals, there’s a great safari-themed playground to explore. Towering over most play structures, the climber, with leaf-shaped canopies, offers an exciting extra-long tube slide and plenty to climb and explore.
Go play: 125 Magic Mountain Rd., Moncton. 506-877-7722 mhzooeducation.com>
6. Edmundston Live Better Park Completed in 2012, this pretty 300-square-foot play park was inspired by nature. No slides, swings or plastic-y climbers can be found here. Instead, the playground uses natural elements to encourage fun. There’s an upside-down tree that children can run under, boulders to climb, a sand cave to explore, a pond to splash in and furniture made from logs to encourage imaginative play, or to take a rest on.
Belone St., Saint-Jacques Village, Edmundston.
7. Bowring Park Barrier Free Playground and Splash Pad One of St. John’s best-kept secrets is the playground in Bowring Park. Opened in 2009, it has a sponge floor to absorb the impact of spills and falls, several swing sets and two separate climbing structures complete with slides. The large splash pad features several tall sprinklers that spritz out enough cool water so everyone will feel leave feeling refreshed.
Go play: 305 Waterford Bridge Rd., St. John’s. 709-364-1531 bowringpark.com>