Summer may be winding down but kids still love playing outside. With the promise of cooler days just around the corner it is the perfect time to check out some Albany, NY area playgrounds. Preschoolers will be especially happy for some play time once older siblings are in school, too.
Here are some great Albany area places for kids to play, courtesy of Katie Beltramo in Albany Kids Out & About. Best of all- they are free.
The Crossings at Colonie might be the area’s favorite and with good reason. There’s a variety of equipment that’s all still fairly new, that squishy surface that moms love, and a huge sandbox. Beyond the playground itself, the park has bike paths, a fun maze, bathrooms, vending machines, tables with pavilions, and a duck pond. For some, this playground is simply too huge: if you have multiple kids, it can be difficult to keep track of them. Competition for the relatively few baby swings is keen, and the playground area is not fenced. It can be breezy on cold days and blistering hot during the summer. On a beautiful day the Crossings is jam-packed with people, but even then, it’s hard to resist.
Central Park in Schenectady is another great park destination. The “Tiny Tot Land” portion was recently renovated, so there’s plenty of brand-new equipment designed for the toddler-preschool including several baby swings, and a soft surface (it was replaced last year after installation issues). This area is fenced in, and beyond it, you’ll find biking and hiking trails, a zero-entry pool, bathrooms, a lake, and at peak times, paddle boats and an ice cream stand. Across the parking lot, there’s still plenty of “old school” metal equipment that’s a favorite with older kids, along with a small creek. Central Park has plenty shade, making it a great hot-weather choice. Children love exploring the rose garden (great for photos!) and playing on the Music Haven stage as well.
Kids’ Creekside Village Playground at Kelley Park in Ballston Spa is a wonderful playground that looks like a village out of a fairy tale. The entire playground is enclosed by fencing, it’s got a squishy surface, and there’s a separate enclosed area for toddlers as well as plenty of baby swings. It’s set in a field, and there’s a lovely little nature path that you can follow to get to a creek that’s always a hit with the kids.
Butler Park in Averill Park is only a couple of years old, and it was created with a futuristic theme. There’s plenty for younger kids to do along with baby swings, but the play structure for older kids also has unique pieces that you won’t see at other playgrounds. The surface is wood chips and there’s a bathroom and fields for running with abandon. It’s a bit close to the street, so be careful if your child’s a “flight risk,” especially around school dismissal time, since it’s close to Averill Park High School.
Indian Meadows in Glenville is a fairly new playground set in a great wild space. There’s equipment appropriate for younger kids, but the big attraction is the three-story structure with two enormous, scary slides. There are baby swings, a wood chip surface, and fairly convenient bathrooms. There are also picnic tables and a pavilion, nearby tennis courts and fields, and trails to explore. Kids love taking a hike on the nature trails toward the nearby Y, where they’re always delighted to discover the surprises there, including a small stage and some team-building equipment that they love to explore.
Clifton Commons in Clifton Park is one of those classic wood-and-tire playground creations. Kids love winding their way through the equipment, although parents who want to keep an eye on them might find it challenging to do so. There are baby swings and the surface is wood chips, and the entire playground area is fenced in, with a small raised area for picnics. There are fields and a performance space nearby, and bathrooms are a bit of a walk, but still accessible. The best part of the playground for many kids is that during the summer you can often find an enormous mountain of snow in the parking lot, dumped there by the zamboni from the adjacent ice arena.
Washington Park in Albany has a blend of newer equipment as well as “old school” metal equipment, like the once-popular, now-endangered merry-go-round. The newer portion is all set together on a wood-chip surface, and other pieces are spread out over a fairly wide expanse of grass, which can make it difficult to keep track of kids. Bathrooms are located a walk away at the Park Playhouse amphitheatre, which can be a destination in itself among stairs-loving kids or to see their summer kids’ musical. The rest of the park is a lovely walk, especially around tulip season.
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