At Kids in the Capital we love parks. And since the weather is finally leaning a bit more to the spring and summer variety, what better way to celebrate than to share some great Ottawa parks with you. We asked our readers what parks are the bomb and here are a few of their favourites:
Located near Carleton University, between Bronson and Sunnyside, on Brewer Way, Brewar Park is a great place for kids of all ages. It has plenty of open spaces and playing fields and is near a bike path for bigger adventures. There is a semi-fenced-in area with two play structures suitable for the littlest members of the family along with a play structure on rubber mats for preschool children, a multi-level splash pad (there is a large ramp and bridge to access the upper level and water slide), a larger play structure for elementary aged children, a sandy area with wheel-chair accessible sand tables, activity walls, and swings.
There are also several shady spots to set-up blankets for snack time and picnics as well as one large covered picnic area in the middle of the park. The only disadvantage is that the play structure for older children is separated from the rest of the park (by the splash pad), which makes it hard to supervisor children of different ages. The best part is that there are (clean) washrooms located next to the toddler area.
Andrew Haydon Park
Located on Carling Avenue at Holly Acres Road, the best part of Andrew Haydon Park is the view since it’s right on the river. There are lots of pathways, boats on the water, and of course the wildlife…but not to worry, nothing wilder than geese and groundhogs.
The play structure with water features is a big attraction here as well and particularly welcome on a hot day. Andrew Haydon park has several play structures that have sand brought in straight from the beach and most kids love spending time in the sand boxes and horsing around on the swinging structures designed for child use. A large and intricate play structure is also located on site to keep children a little older busy and active. Don’t forget to bring a towel and change of clothes for the kids, and waterproof foot attire for yourself. There’s also a number of charcoal BBQs here too so spend the day and bring a picnic.
The Splash Pad Water Park in Barrhaven
On Longfields Drive in Barrhaven, this waterpark here is a perfect way to keep cool on those hot summer days. It’s also a great spot for those who want water and those who don’t because there are two sand parks (one for toddlers and one for older kids) right beside the splash pad.
The water has to be turned on by sensors but that makes it fun to see who is going to turn it on. There is a cantina and washrooms on site but many say that they are not always open. There is some area for shade and lots of space for a picnic. Your kids will love it!
On Trim road in Orleans, just a few minutes south of Innes Road you will see some wonderful play structures as you drive up. There are soccer fields and swings, but also two amazing play structures that will impress kids (and parents) of all ages. The first one you see is a pirate ship; it is the smaller of two but lots of fun for all ages. Kids will love to slide, climb and imagine they are the captain of the ship.
The second structure is a replica of the Parliament Buildings and has three levels to play in – an impressive two storey slide from the top brings them down to the front of the structure. The kids (and parents) can climb and slide to their heart’s content. Parents can grab a blanket or a lawn chair to keep an eye on them from below but there is not a lot of shade at the park so keep that in mind if you are there during the hot hazy days of summer.
St. Luke’s on Elgin
Situated on Elgin Street at Frank Street, the layout St. Luke’s is great for both kids and parents. The park has a wading pool in the centre. It’s the perfect depth for littles ones to play in the water and for parents to wade without getting too wet.
There are two play structures there, a smaller one for kids aged 2 to 5, and a larger one for 5 to 12-year olds. There are also three swing sets, for babies, toddlers, and big kids. A large grassy area with picnic tables offers a place to change babies and have a snack. For the older kids there is a basketball court, field house, and more grassy areas between the field house and the tennis courts to play. There are also bathrooms in the field house which is an added bonus.
Walter Baker Park
Walter Baker Park has two play structures – one for toddlers and one for older children and a great splash pad to play in on hot days. There’s a big grassy hill that attracts children to repeatedly run up and down acting as a great nap inducer is an added bonus.
There are plenty of benches for caregivers to sit nearby and supervise, lots of grass for the kids to run around on and some mature shade trees creating perfect snack time spots. And if that isn’t enough, there is ample free parking and a nearby bathroom in the Kanata Recreation Complex. Of course the one reason many keep returning to Walter Baker Park is that all the kids love cooling off in the splash pad area.
While these parks are awesome and a great way to spend a lazy afternoon, we also want to know of your hidden gem parks around town. Where do you love to go on a beautiful afternoon with kids?