Lake Lynn Playground Update


I spent some time again this fall running around Lake Lynn with the girls while training for the City of Oaks 10k race.  After a few laps around the lake we spent time at the playground so they could get their own exercise.  We were pleasantly surprised to find a few updates to the playground area.

Lake Lynn Park & Community Center is located in North Raleigh and has two entrances.  If the kids are with me I’ll park at the main entrance near the community center and playground off Ray Rd, but if I’m going there for a solo run I’ll park at the smaller entrance with immediate access to the trails off Lynn Rd.

The tot playground area has a new climbing area with a vertical climbing bridge sandwiched between two rock walls, which was a big hit for Ashley.  The older tot swings and small tot jungle gym and bigger kid playground haven’t changed.  Adjacent to the playground is a new large pavilion with about 12 picnic tables, making it a great spot for group gatherings and birthday parties!  The nearby bocce ball courts also seemed to have gotten a small facelift and there seem to be several more picnic tables scattered around the perimeter of the playground.  There’s a lot of other amenities at this park (baseball fields, tennis courts, batting cages), but having a playground area near a covered picnic spot and restrooms is usually what we’re looking for these days!  Most recently we enjoyed a Halloween party with our Stroller Strides friends where kids of all ages enjoyed the playgrounds and there was easy access to the nearby pavilion and community center.

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Thumbs up: proximity of playground area to pavilion/community center

Thumbs down: nothing new to report

Millbrook Playground


Millbrook Playground at Millbrook Exchange Park (1905 Spring Forest Rd) was renovated this past summer and we made our way over there to explore the new digs!  Within the park, it’s located between the adult center and the community center near the ball fields.  There’s so much to do at this new park for everyone – a tot jungle gym for the 2-5 age group and a larger (and very tall) jungle gym for the 5-12 age group.  Both jungle gyms have a rubber surface also making this a very crawler-friendly play place for the mobile, but not yet walking littles ones!  There is also a small sandbox with two diggers, two tot swings, and four regular swings, one of which is handicap accessible.

img_3822The 2-5 age group jungle gym has a few slides, some musical instruments, teeter totters, and climbing structures.  It’s on the small side so Ashley quickly got bored of it and ventured over to the 5-12 age group jungle gym.  This play place has different height levels for playing that peak at a very tall height.  There are a few openings that lead down to climbing structures, but for the most part this jungle gym is well enclosed.  Ashley loved the tall slides, but was surprised at how fast she went down them! It also has some smaller slides near the ground, tunnels, monkey bars, swinging bar, a rock climbing wall, and some low height seats.  Once you get over the height of the playground, this is a great place for able kids to play!

img_3826Scattered around the park are several benches and sidewalk games of hopscotch and four square.  We were there in the morning, which didn’t have much shade so plan accordingly based on the time of day and season.  I don’t recall seeing a nearby picnic table, but after walking towards the tennis center we found several in the shade.  The landscaping immediately around the park was less than desired and the grass was pretty high as if it hadn’t been mowed in weeks.

img_4117After visiting the playground, we had a quick snack at the picnic tables and then headed towards the tennis center to explore.  It turned out we showed up just in time for the last day of a weekend tennis tournament so we stayed to watch for awhile before heading home. On our way back to the car we spotted some steel art, the Immigrant Gate II by Jim Gallucci.  I was amazed at how extensive the tennis center is – there are 23 tennis courts, several backboards, and a large indoor area with observation deck, conference room, pro shop and locker rooms.  I look forward to getting back into tennis one day 🙂

Thumbs up: variety of play things on 5-12 age group jungle gym, swings, tennis center

Thumbs down:  no picnic tables in immediate playground area, landscaping/field maintenance

Shelley Lake Playground

img_2656With our weekly trips (if not more frequent) to Shelley Lake for Stroller Strides classes, I finally took pictures of the playground area.  Shelley Park is conveniently located in central North Raleigh at 1400 W Millbrook Rd.  There are two entrances on Millbrook Road – one large parking lot near the Sertoma Arts Center/playground and the other just down the street with a smaller parking lot for jumping right on the walking trail around Shelley Lake.  To reach the playground, park in the Sertoma Arts Center parking lot and walk down the paved trail where you’ll see the playground on the right.

The playground area is rather large with separate jungle gyms for ages 2-5 and 5-12 that are covered with wood chips.  The tot playground has several slides, a few climbing structures, and nearby teeter totters in the sandy area.  The youth playground has a climbing wall, steeper slides, a suspension bridge, an enclosed slide, and several climbing structures.  There are also four tot swings and four regular swings in the large sandy areas.

Other than the playground the park has picnic tables, basketball courts, a walking/running trail around the lake, and an arts center with lots of programs for people of all ages.  Ashley took a Mini Monet art class when she was about 18 months old and had a great time – while there wasn’t a lot of painting, it was a great introductory class to colors, shapes, sensory objects and following directions!

As most parks indicate, please lock and hide all valuables or take them with you – I have a friend whose car was broken into at this park.

Thumbs up: tons of picnic tables, suspension bridge on large jungle gym, shady, variety of slides

Thumbs down: not much for non-walking kids to play on, frequent trash around basketball courts (c’mon folks, throw your trash away in the nearby trashcans)

Cedar Hills Park & Fun News

img_3087A few months ago Ashley and I explored Cedar Hills Park, just a fews minutes from our new neighborhood.  Cedar Hills is located in North Raleigh at 5600 Sweetbriar St , which is the main entrance to access the playground, tennis courts, basketball courts and pavilion.  There are also entrances at Rosehaven Dr and from Spring Forest Rd but those provide easier access to the softball fields.  The frisbee golf course is accessible from all entrances, with hole #18 located near the main entrance.

After following the park signs from Millbrook Rd, we arrived at the Rosehaven Dr entrance, unsure how to get to the playgrounds.  The lack of signs made it difficult to figure out where we should go, so we got back in the car, broke out the iPhone and eventually arrived at the Sweetbriar entrance to play on the playground.

img_3091The playground has a wood chip base with a small sandbox play area.  There are two playgrounds – one for tots and one for the older kids.  Cedar Hills also has plenty of swings for everyone – four tot swings and four big kid swings.  There are a few benches along the perimeter of the playground.  Adjacent to the playground are the tennis courts, complete with a backboard for single play.  The basketball courts are also nearby.  The park sits amongst a dense forest, which is a great backdrop for the 18-hole frisbee golf course.  Each time we’ve visited this park, the playground has been rather empty while the frisbee golf has been pretty busy.

We’ll have many reasons to visit this park for years to come especially since we’ll be welcoming baby #2 this summer!  I had my 20 week check-up today and baby Montgomery is happy and healthy and looking forward to surprising his or herself on or around July 14th!  Bring on the hot and humid North Carolina summer!

Thumbs up: playground area, shady spots, tennis courts, swings

Thumbs down: lack of signs to other park features



Green Road Park

img_3195This week we took advantage of the gorgeous Monday weather and headed over to Green Road Park before meeting a friend for lunch.  Green Road is a large, open park with very nice amenities.  It is located at 4201 Green Road between Wake Forest Rd and Capital Blvd.  It has a large community center, two baseball fields, six sand volleyball courts, two basketball courts, four tennis courts with a backboard for individual play, a pavilion, and a large playground area with nearby restrooms.  We didn’t have a chance to visit the community center, but the City of Raleigh website notes it has two multi-purpose rooms, two gyms (air conditioned and non-air conditioned), dance room, fitness room, and bathrooms.

The playground area is designed for kids ages 5-12.  Sometimes the little ones are still able to play on the age 5-12 playgrounds, but this one was quite challenging for Ashley.  The slides are rather steep and the tunnel up  to the slides is also steep, making it a perfect climbing structure for the older kids.  The playground also has a variety of monkey bars, rock climbing walls, two swings and a small sandy area.  Adjacent to the playground is a large, shady spot with several picnic tables, which would be a great spot for a lunch with the little ones!

Don’t forget to get involved with the park system planning in Raleigh!  On Thursday, January 10 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at Green Rd Community Center there is a a meeting to discuss park needs and priorities.

Thumbs up: picnic spots, great condition of tennis courts, baseball spectator seating has nice wooden benches and brick walkways, convenient pathways to all the park amenities

Thumbs down: seeing a police officer question an older gentleman at the playground (kinda strange situation)

Method Rd Playground Update

This post originally appeared on where you can learn more about how to live, work, and play in the Creative District.

If you’ve been waiting for the Method Road playground to be finished, now is the time to check it out!  The playground underwent renovations during the Fall and the work was finally completed last week.

Method Road Park is located at 514 Method Rd.  The playground area is completely fenced in with equipment grouped according to the age levels: 2-5 year olds and 5-12 year olds.  

Toddlers will enjoy the tot swings, mini climbing areas, and music making equipment while the older kids will enjoy the slides, jungle gyms, and racing up the ramps. Each play area also has some fun educational items about shapes and animals. The spongy surface is also great exercise for the little crawlers who aren’t quite ready to play on the toddler equipment yet.

Parents will appreciate the benches and picnic tables inside the playground area, making it easy to keep an eye on the little ones.  The fence around the perimeter of the playground will also put parents at ease given that the playground is so close to Method Road.

Other than the playground, Method Road Park has a community center and many other features to offer.

Thumbs up: fenced-in play area, equipment grouped by age group, tot climbing area, variety of slides and ramps in older kid area

Thumbs down: lack of landscaping

Halifax Park

I thought our park visits would cease to exist this winter, but we’ve been so lucky with all the cool, sun-filled days that we’ve been able to keep exploring.  Yesterday we visited Halifax Park near Peace College and Seaboard Station.  It’s located at 1015 Halifax St, just north of Peace St and close to the Raleigh Housing Authority.

Halifax Park is a neighborhood park that has a small playground area, large multipurpose field, outdoor basketball courts, and a community center.  The community center has a weight room, gym, and a few meeting rooms.  The playground has a sandy surface with a few swings and a large jungle gym suitable for children 5yrs+.  The playground and the outdoor basketball courts are in need of some TLC, which is planned to begin later this year.  The large multi-purpose field is fenced and has soccer goals, lacrosse goals, bleachers, and a back stop.

Lucky for us, we visited the park before construction begins later this year on improvements to the community center and playground.  The Raleigh Parks & Rec department will work with the Raleigh Housing Authority and nearby citizens to ensure the recreational needs of the community are met. According to the City of Raleigh’s Planning and Development website, this project is currently in the design stage with construction beginning this year and completing next summer. The improvements to this park are being funded through the approval of the 2007 Bond Referendum.

We’re excited to check back on the status of Halifax Park as it makes its transformation.  Lucky for the residents in the area, Mordecai Mini Park is close by.

Thumbs up: large multi-purpose field, upcoming improvements, shady picnic spots, close proximity to many neighborhoods (Capitol Park, Pilot Mill, Mordecai)

Thumbs down: small playground area limited to mostly older children, old community center

Windemere Beaver Dam Park

I have had the privilege to visit several parks with my daughter and granddaughter as they have been working on their blog for the past 8 months!

With the holidays, I asked if I, her sister Ginni, and Ginni’s husband, Blair, could take the baby to a nearby park for the Twelfth Day of Raleigh Parks Christmas and let us take pictures and blog!

Well here it is and to all who know me, I will keep the four letter words to “park”!

Windemere Beaver Dam Park is a wonderful neighbor park – quiet, peaceful and serene!

If I lived in this neighborhood I would be bitter, because I would have to share with all (lol)!

I also realized I was not the only grandparent enjoying the Raleigh sunshine that day, as the park had several families celebrating and enjoying a gorgeous day with their babies just like me.

Windemere Beaver Dam Park is located at 1500 Nottingham Rd in the median between Brooks Ave and Nottingham Rd. It is a wonderful place for families to celebrate just about anything, not only Christmas, but birthdays, soccer/t-ball/pick-up games, etc. They have a couple of picnic tables and numerous benches to take a rest if you are walking, jogging, or running on the nearby greenway trails. You can take a quiet walk and visit the babbling brook that goes around the outskirts of the park; and how wonderful that would be on a hot summer day, to dip your piggies!

In my opinion one of the best features is the open field, where you can play good old fashioned games of kickball, freeze tag, dodge ball, Red Rover, Red Light/Green Light, and of course soccer, lacrosse, t-ball, etc. I would suggest to bring your own chairs so you can be mobile between the open fields to the jungle gym/swings.

The playground area offers 2 slides, 2 swings for us big people and also 2 additional tot swings for our babies.

I truly think the best part of this neighborhood park is how the City of Raleigh kept it in its natural environment! It is a wonderful habitat, great for bird watching, as I saw several cardinals (male and female), chickadees, mocking birds, finches, nuthatches, great for a beginner bird watcher! They have everything they need to survive – food, water and shelter.

I’m grateful that Raleigh has one of the BEST park systems on the East Coast! Being just a visitor to this city over the past 9 nine years, I’d like to thank the citizens and the city council for making your parks a priority in their budget/bond referendums over the past several decades.

Thumbs Up: great family outings, jogging trails, natural habitat

Thumbs Down: parking, lack of park sign, not very stroller-friendly

Walnut St Park

On the ninth day of Raleigh Parks Christmas, we headed out to Cary with my friend, Kristina, and her daughter, Lucy to visit Walnut St Park.  Wow, what a great park for crawlers and cruisers!  Besides the large open spongy surface, there are tot swings, a jungle gym with smaller slides, and an area with balance beams and climbing structures that proved to be so exciting for the non-walkers!

Walnut St Park is run by the Town of Cary and is located at 1420 Walnut St, not far from Cary Crossroads shopping center.  Not a surprise, but the main entrance sign is easy to miss when driving on Walnut St, so look for the cross-street of Nottingham Dr.

This park has both a tot play area and an older kid play area that are both very close to each other.  Both playgrounds are covered in the spongy surface with the exception of the small sandbox with diggers in the tot area.  There are swings, jungle gyms, and a small pavilion in each playground area.  The older kid playground also has some amazing climbing structures that were very popular.

If you’re looking to take the dogs on a walk or stroll the kids around, this park has a great paved walking trail.  According to the information sign, 2.5 loops around = 1 mile.  While walking around the trail, you’ll see many birdhouses, an area dubbed the wetlands, a natural mulch walking trail, and a large 1.5 acre open recreational space.  There are many benches scattered throughout the trail and a few picnic tables near the large open field area.  Don’t forget to check out the fancy brick “imaginary garden” promenade that cuts through part of the loop.  Check out the Town of Cary’s website for information about future phases of the park, which include adding a basketball court.

So, I know I can’t say it enough, but the Town of Cary does a great job with creating playgrounds with the spongy surface, which is so nice for the really small crawlers and cruisers!  Ashley and Lucy had a fantastic time roaming through the climbing structures, swinging on the tot swings, crawling from one end of the playground to the other, all the while trying to sneak a taste of the nearby mulch chips!  This would be a great park to bring your lunch followed by a romp around the playground.

Thumbs up: playground, walking trail, tot area, nearby pavilions

Thumbs down: somewhat hard to see entrance sign from Walnut St

Mordecai Mini Park

On the Eighth Day of Raleigh Parks Christmas we visited Mordecai Mini Park in the Mordecai neighborhood. I absolutely love this neighborhood with the architecture of the homes, great walkability, and proximity to Seaboard Station, but I digress!

Mordecai Mini Park is located at 1122 N. Blount St just west of Person St and close to Peace College.  Parking is only available on the street and sidewalks are available for walking from the nearby neighborhoods.

Some of the best features of this park are that it’s completely fenced in with gated entrances and kids of all ages can play at this park.  The tot playground area has tot swings, sidewalk games, benches, and several climbing structures.  Just up the hill from the tot area is the older kid playground area with more swings and a large jungle gym with slides and climbing structures.

Scattered throughout the park are large bird houses and benches.  A nice feature to this park is the deck with picnic tables in between the different playground areas.  It allows parents to keep an eye on their kids regardless of where they are inside the park.  In talking with a mom at the park today, she mentioned this is a very popular park after work in the warmer months.  At any given day you’re bound to find it full with neighborhood kids and their parents.

Thumbs up: neighborhood park, fenced-in area, walkability, multiple age playgrounds

Thumbs down: nothing to report