5 Gated Playgrounds for Corralling Young Children in the Triangle
Playgrounds are great places for kids to burn off some of their endless energy — especially when summer heat transitions into fall breezes. But as parents and caregivers, our priority is to keep kids safe. Gated playgrounds make that job a bit easier for all of us.
Here are five gated playgrounds located around the Triangle where you can turn those kiddos loose and relax for a spell.
Abbott's Creek Park
9950 Durant Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27614
The Abbott's Creek Park playground has very large sun shades covering most of the play area, which is GREAT. It has a rubberized surface, too. This playground features tot-sized equipment, including a small slide and bucket swings. The community center has bathrooms available with a changing table. The only drawback is that this playground is fairly small, so it can get crowded fast.
Marsh Creek Park
3050 N. New Hope Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27604
The playground at Marsh Creek Park is beautifully landscaped, completely enclosed and of decent size. It features a mostly rubberized surface. However, along the outskirts of the play space there are bushes and flowers. My kids loved the butterflies flying around the shrubs as much as the playground.
This playground features separate sets of play equipment for older children and toddlers. If you position yourself in the right spot, you can see most of the playground and keep an eye on kids running in opposite directions. Younger tots can manage the older children’s section pretty easily with just a little help. The equipment here also includes ramps, ladders and stairs. Bathrooms and changing tables are available at the community center. The only downside to this playground? It’s located in mostly direct sun.
4200 Quail Hollow Dr.
Raleigh, NC 27609
Nestled in Quail Hollow neighborhood, you will find 25-acre Eastgate Park. This playground has a lot of tree shade, which is great for hot summer months. The toddler equipment is a little challenging for the smallest explorers, but Eastgate Park does have a small sand area and bucket swings for younger tots.
The older and younger children’s play structures are separate, but both are enclosed by the same fence. Parents and caregivers will find shaded picnic tables and benches within the playground area. Cons to this park? The bathroom is a small with only a single stall, and there is no changing table. Also, this is a popular playground so it can get pretty busy.
Waverly Place Playground and Splash Pad
2001 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC 27518
Located in Waverly Place shopping center, the Waverly Place Playground is fenced in and built on an AstroTurf surface. It features both a playground and small splash pad, which is a great feature in the hot summer months. The playground also includes a family-sized bathroom with a changing table and is located near several restaurants for grabbing a quick meal or snack.
The toddler area is adjacent to the larger playground and splash pad, but is separated by its own fence. The younger kids’ section is fairly small, with only a small structure and tunnel. The larger playground is manageable for older toddlers and school-age kids. The splash pad features a few water spouts to cool off from the heat.
The playground and splash pad don’t open to the public until 10 a.m., which may be late for those of you who have early risers. There is no real shade to speak of here, either. The small splash pad area is a nice place to cool off in, but gets busy quickly. Younger toddlers may experience some boredom, especially if they are not too keen on the splash pad area. But if you need a place to do a little shopping or grab a bite to eat, this playground is a nice stopping point.
Mordecai Mini Park
1122 N. Blount St.
Raleigh, NC 27601
Despite its name, Mordecai Mini Park's playground is actually of decent size. It features sand and mulch surfaces as well as lots of tree shade, and is separated into two sections: an upper and lower half. Between the two areas are platforms with picnic tables in the shade.
The lower half houses a pretend fire truck, bucket swings and ride-on animals. The upper half includes equipment for older toddlers and school-age children. The playground has a mostly sand surface, so if your little ones love the sand, they will enjoy this playground.
Parking is free and located on the street. The biggest issue is there are no bathrooms. None. Not even a porta-potty. And the closest gas station or restaurant is about a mile away. So if you go to this playground, plan a potty stop ahead of time!
Rachel Blackwood reviews local playgrounds, classes and children’s activities at her blog, raleightotspots.com.