Morgan Pellowski Playground
156 Mettlers Rd., Somerset
If you haven’t been to this playground in a while, it’s definitely time go back—thanks to a massive remodel. The centerpiece here is a huge, interconnected web structure, featuring wobbly discs on ropes for kids to walk across, a twisting jungle gym, monkey bars and a bunch of giant rings that they can crawl through caterpillar-style. There are also springy toadstools to leap off and a stand-up seesaw perfect for older kids. Pre-K adventurers will appreciate the just-for-them smaller jungle gym with a slide, musical features like drums, a sensory wall and a neat, dome-shaped hideout. Bathrooms, benches and a shady pavilion line the edge of the playground, and the whole thing is sits atop squishy turf for nice soft landings.
Take a ride on Sway Fun, the park’s twist on a traditional seesaw: Two big benches that look like couches rock back and forth on either side of a platform. It feels like you’re on a boat (minus the water!).
More to Do
The playground sits inside massive Colonial Park, which includes a mini-golf course (specially designed to accommodate all physical disabilities) and paddleboats available for rent from mid-May through October. (Minigolf is $8 for adults, $5 for kids and $2 for children under five, and paddleboats are $10 per half-hour, or do both for $10 a person.) Head to the park for a picnic in one of the two areas with benches (available for large groups with a reservation), or hit the fitness course that surrounds a 1.4-mile-long paved path and see how many pull-ups you can do while the kids ride their bikes.
If you own a canoe or kayak, you can launch from the park’s access point and float down the Delaware and Raritan Canal. There are also plenty of fishing holes (NJ permit laws apply), and the Lois Howe Nature Trail is lovely for spring hikes. You can also stop and smell the roses while your kids nap in their strollers in the arboretum, rose garden or Fragrance and Sensory Garden (there’s a big rose festival annually in June), or bring the pups along for a run in the leash-free doggie park.