Playground Fun in Boston

Posted by Tara, Ziptivity’s Metro Boston Community Ambassador

Spring is here and playground season is in full bloom! I thought I would share some insights into my favorites in the metro Boston area – the ups and the downs.  Have fun – and let me know if I missed any!

Robbins Farm Park, a.k.a. Skyline Park – Arlington

51 Eastern Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

The views of Boston are amazing from this park – hence the nickname, “Skyline Park”. Unfortunately, one of the favorite features of the playground –  the giant hill slides – has been decommissioned, but plans are being made to replace them with better, safer slides. The view still makes a trip to the playground worthwhile, and they have wonderful summer events:  a concert series, a fabulous Independence Day celebration, Shakespeare in the Park, and Movie Night!

There is parking along the street. No bathrooms.

Payson Park – Belmont

This park is a favorite because it has two separate playgrounds, some trees (and therefore, shade), open green space for little kids to chase each other around or play ball, a few benches and a picnic table or two. The spinning saucer, the high slide and something that looks like a UFO are my kids’ top picks at this playground. Be forewarned:  the spinning saucer can get very fast, and it is difficult for kids to stop it once they get it going!

During the summer, Payson Park hosts a concert series as well. There are Wednesday evening concerts and Friday noontime kids’ concerts. Check the Payson Park Music Festival website in early June for this year’s schedule.

There is street parking, but not a lot. A good option is to take Bus #73 and get off at Payson Road. There are no bathrooms, but between you and me?  There is a bush that all the kids “water” (‘cause when you gotta go, you gotta go!).

Tadpole Playground, Boston Common

I know, this one is really obvious – but it’s truly a wonderful playground! Those frogs are simply irresistible to kids and adults alike, especially when they are spouting cool water on a hot summer’s day. There is plenty of sitting space for tired adults. During the summer, The Tadpole Playground sponsors a series of reading events for kids between the ages of three and six.

In addition to being a nice playground, it has the benefit of location. It neighbors the Frog Pond, which serves as a lovely reflecting pool in the spring and is magically transformed into a spray pool when things really start to heat up at the end of June. The Frog Pond has a new café and a carousel, too!

Take the T to Park Street Station. There is a bathroom nearby, in the Boston Common Visitor’s Center.

Rafferty Park – Cambridge

799 Concord Ave, Cambridge 02138 (Behind Sancta Maria Nursing Facility)

Rafferty Park is tucked away behind the Sancta Maria Nursing Facility in a lovely, woodsy area. The shade is a favorite feature, especially during intensely sunny summer days. We always go in the morning and have never found it to be crowded. The playground equipment is not the real draw here – the little schoolhouse and boat-shaped sandbox are. Another nice feature is that the playground area is fenced in, and kept separate from the baseball field and basketball hoops. There are also some tables and benches for picnicking, but beware of ants in the mulch!

There is plenty of parking in the lot behind Sancta Maria, and you can often get a spot directly in front of the playground. No bathrooms.

Arsenal Park – Watertown

Arsenal Park is easy to miss. It hides behind the Arsenal Mall, across the street from Target. The playground equipment is separated into two areas, one for ages  5-12, and the other for the little tykes.  Many kids don’t pay attention to the age guidelines, of course, but it’s nice to know that there is an area that’s safer for your little ones.  In addition to the playground, there is a walking/bike path, which is great for young riders who are new to the world of two-wheelers. If you stand in the field in the middle, you can see your kid on the path all the way around. Kick a ball around in the open green space, play tennis and basketball on the courts, or just relax on one of the park benches. For the older and more daring kids, there is a skate park, too. If the amphitheater is not in use, your budding stars can put on a show for you.

The park has its own parking lot, but if it fills up, there’s always the mall parking lot. It’s nice to have the mall so close when you need a bathroom break. There is also an on-site restroom, open weekends.

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