There’s no shortage of playgrounds in New Jersey, but you won’t find imaginative wooden structures in every town. If that’s what you’re looking for, though, here are some great spots you can take your kids and let them run wild.
Field of Dreams, Annandale, NJ
A great pit stop when you’re driving on Rt. 78 W toward Pennsylvania. Near Clinton, this hidden gem is close to Immaculate Conception Church and School on Old Allerton Rd. Built in 1997, it conforms to requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and is a fenced shady area with slides, swings, and a sandbox.
Community Playground, Montville, NJ
If you’re looking for lots of wooden structures and one of the largest playground slides in New Jersey, put this play area, on Changebridge Road, on your checklist. Warning: because it has two separate sections and the big slide is off to one side, it may be a challenge to keep track of multiple kids. So enlist a friend or spouse to help. Montville also boasts a gazebo, a great small wooden structure area for toddlers, a wheelchair swing, and a bigger area for 5-to-12-year-olds.
Watchung Reservation, Mountainside, NJ
Home to Watchung Stables and picturesque hiking trails, Watchung Reservation has picnic benches and grills near its great wooden play structures at the Loop Playground—so the entire family can have fun. Rainy day? No need to fret, the Trailside Nature Center is located close by for kids to enjoy for free. The Loop is located at W.R. Tracy Avenue, in Mountainside, but for more details, check out the Union County website’s map.
Fairmount Playground, Hackensack, NJ
Built by the community at the school at 105 Grand Avenue, Fairmount playground has a great castle look, as well as some good ADA-approved equipment. Check this playground out after school hours, when it’s open to the public. It’s a great close-by alternative to Van Saun Park, Paramus, which often is packed on weekends.
Haworth Memorial Park, Haworth, NJ
A classic wooden playground, this one is on the corner of Whitman St. and Hoover Way (off Madison Ave.). Wear shoes (not sandals) for this pebble-covered play area. It’s a really great shady spot when summer sun is shining.
Kidstreet, Bridgewater, NJ
Located at 700 Garretson Rd., by the municipal building, this sprawling attraction almost always is frequented by families. Attractions include a big pirate ship, ziplines, a giant sandbox with seating, a group swing, and equipment that’s up to ADA standards. Maintenance is taking place for various sections at a time. Picnic areas are located right outside the entrance.
Where the Playground Fun Is in NJ
If you’re tired of the same old swings and slides, these resources can help you expand your playground horizons.
- njplaygrounds.com, researched and written by Sheila Sayah, features info on indoor and outdoor playgrounds around the state, places for birthday parties, and more.
- The Playground Guide by Amy Lamperti is published in three editions: The Best of Bergen County, NJ ($14.95), The Best of Morris County, NJ ($14.95), and The Best of Sussex & Warren Counties, NJ ($12.95). They’re available at theplaygroundguide.com.
Sheila Sayah is the mom of three kids who love New Jersey playgrounds; her family lives in Springfield, NJ.