At the Playground, You Know …
My eight-year-old twins love the playground. Who doesn’t love a good swing?
When the girls were small, we’d hit the drive-thru for an iced coffee and spend hours at the playground. It was complete validation on moving to Fairfield County from Brooklyn — all the clean, quiet neighborhood playgrounds waiting to be discovered.
Everyone has their favorites; some we’ve outgrown while others we’ll be visiting for years to come. Of course I’m slightly biased toward Fairfield playgrounds, but I’ve been known to hop on the highway to visit our favorites! Now with the help of my new mom-trust network and eight more years of experience, here’s a solid line-up of places for you to try (that you might not already know about).
Veres Park – This amazing playground sits in one of my favorite Fairfield neighborhoods. It draws friendly families with young children. The play structures are designed to occupy the imagination of several age groups, a bonus if you have multiple children at different ages.
The playground area is wide open so everyone can be in constant view, but on the flip side, there isn’t a lot of shade. It’s a popular spot for mommy meet-ups, pre-nap activities, play dates, coffee breaks and picnics. There are communal toys in the sandbox and ride-on toys out on the grass.
Pros: Playground is designed for younger children. Good visibility and lots of toys on site. No fee. Close to beach, Post Road and I-95. Great place to make friends.
Cons: Can get very sunny and hot at times. Near roads, although not busy through streets. The smell of the nearby local dump can linger in warmer months.
Owen Fish Park – Owen Fish Park is a larger, shady playground for toddlers and elementary school age children. There are baby and big kid swings, slides and climbing structures, as well as a four-person see saw. The park is located off Stratfield Road in Fairfield, but tucked away off the main road with parking. There are picnic tables and a little stream with ducks that the kids enjoy.
Pros: Lots of shade. Great for mommy dating. Variety of play structures. No fee for non-residents. Close to Merritt.
Cons: The main play structure does have a few “drop offs” so keep an eye on the little ones. There is a nearby pond; however, it’s not much of a threat since a tennis court separates the playground from the pond.
1443 Stratfield Rd, Fairfield, CT 06825
Earthplace – This well-loved nature center and conservatory offers a host of fun, educational activities for children and a “secret” non-visible playground in back. Earthplace also offers free hiking trails designed for little kids to enjoy. The school playground is available when camp or pre-school isn’t in session. You can also play inside the nature center, view the interactive exhibits and see the animal hall. There is a $5 fee for non-members.
10 Woodside Lane, Westport, CT 06880
Mead Memorial Park – This fan-favorite for play, baseball games, nature watching and family photos offers a shaded and fenced in toddler playground area, plus a bigger playground, an “upscale” snack bar and bathroom facilities — plus it’s within walking distance to town. The park also recently received updated equipment.
241 Park Street, New Canaan, CT
Bruce Park – Everyone loves Bruce Park in Greenwich. There is a toddler and “big kids” section, as well as a pavilion with picnic tables underneath. The park is beautiful with water views and tall trees for shade.
Pros: Unique features like a slide built into a hillside, large “ship” for climbing, spin seats, a life size bird’s nest to sit in and a sandbox filled with toys. Proper bathroom facilities; close to 95 (convenience) and Greenwich Avenue (town).
Cons: Can get busy on weekends. Close to 95 (noise).
1 Museum Dr, Greenwich, CT 06830
Dickinson Park – This relatively new playground is a favorite among local moms and offers updated equipment with fun features (hello zip line!). There is also shade and activities for multiple age and ability levels.
Pros: New facility. Great for multiple ages.
Cons: Porta potties only. Turf can get hot.
50 Elm Dr, Newtown, CT 06470
Cherry Lawn Park – My friends used to think I was crazy for getting on the highway to go to a playground, but once you see this gem of a spot you’ll understand. Cherry Lawn has two fenced in areas – one with a toddler playground and one with pre-school sized play structures. For a mom with more than one child, especially multiples, having a fenced in area is HUGE. Did I mention there are clean bathrooms on site? In the “big kid” section there is even a roundabout!
Pros: Fenced in play areas, proper bathrooms, walk to Darien Nature Center (pay). Gazebo to eat lunch or snack. Tennis courts.
Cons: Limited shade and parking. Not a great place to meet friends (mostly nannies). Close to I-95.
120 Brookside Rd, Darien, CT 06820
Children’s Natural Playground at Aspetuck Land Trust – Read all about this amazing “hands-on” outdoor that we put on our 2016 Summer Bucket List.
Traveling this summer? Here’s a link to the “Top 50 Playgrounds in America.”
What did we miss? Any secret spots to share?