Just Opened: Two (Yes, 2!) New Re-Invented Parks in the SFV

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Parks can be tricky when it comes to battling with the heat of the valley, but there are two new spots that not only manage to keep you cool, they also provide plenty of awesome entertainment that will keep you coming back again and again. Both Chatsworth Park South and Woodland Hills Park were closed for years due to renovations and have just reopened with amazing new looks. Read on to find out which park you’ll want to visit first.

Chatsworth Park South

Get Your Climb On
The rocky peaks of Chatsworth make the perfect backdrop, and clearly serve as the inspiration for this amazing new playground unlike anything we’ve ever seen. In keeping with the rock-filled terrain that surrounds the area, the massive playground is all about climbing. From rock walls to a giant web, and tree stumps to a man-made boulder, if you can climb it, this playground has got it. There are so many different ways to scale this structure, your mini-explorers may not even have time to discover them all, but that’s okay because this park is destined for repeat visits.

It’s All In the Details
What ultimately ties this place together are the ever present themes of nature and exploration. Every nook and corner has something new to discover, from a steel drum to a game that teaches kids about weather cycles. The coolest find by far, are the sound panels that make noise when you tap on specific buttons. One features a piano scale, while the other is like a modernized See ‘N Say, with animal sounds.

The Extras
The main play structure, which also features swings and a zipline, is only half of it. The new park also has a pint-sized playground, tucked away from the boisterous big kids behind the recreation center. It’s so secluded you might overlook it if you don’t go snooping around the rec center where you’ll find the park’s bathrooms and an indoor basketball court.

Like the main structure, the smaller playground is also all about exploring, with built-in games, musical instruments and more sound touch-panels. There are swings, a roller slide and one super springy teeter-totter. All of which are well-covered in shade.

The sprawling park also features looping walking trails, easy enough for even wobbly walkers to navigate, and equestrian trails. One of the best details, which was likely not intentional, but will pique your tot’s curiosity nonetheless, is the proximity to the train track. You can easily hear the whistle blow as you climb and swing on the playground and if you look up to the rocky peaks at just the right moment, you’ll see the train pass briefly before it disappears into a tunnel.

Chatsworth Park South
22360 Devonshire St.
Online: laparks.org/park/chatsworth-park-south

Woodland Hills Recreation Center

A Little Something For Everyone
While the shaded playground itself isn’t quite as expansive at this newly reopened spot, there is plenty to do here for kids of all ages and interests. Like Chatsworth Park South, the emphasis is definitely on climbing. Your little monkeys will love exploring all the different ways to scale the larger play structure, while the smaller one offers plenty to keep little adventurers engaged, too. With six different slides, swings, and all kinds of exploratory spots, this playground is small in size, but big on fun.

Beyond the playground, there are wide, looping walkways perfect for kids who want to practice their scooter skills. Grass patches are inviting for crawling tots or kicking a ball around. Though the grass is not very shaded now, it’s only a matter of time before all the drought-tolerant landscaping at this very eco-friendly park sprouts up and provides coverage.

Last, but certainly not least, the Woodland Hills Park features a brand new swimming pool, a perfect way to cool off on a sweltering valley day. As of this writing the pool is currently open for the season for swimming and lessons. While the closing date is yet to be announced, it will close for the winter at some point, just like all the other swimming pools run by LA Parks and Recreation.

Plenty Of Extras
The new park also features a snazzy new recreation center, with a basketball court and classrooms where recreational classes for kids and adults, as well as preschool, are available. Be warned that there is also a small fenced-in playground that is closed during morning weekday hours for use by the preschool, which might mean a few pouty looks from little park visitors who want to investigate. The grass field is still getting its finishing touches, but when it’s completed shortly, it will feature spaces for both baseball and soccer, and will serve as home to the city rec leagues for kids and adults.

The Details
For more information on all the classes and programs available check out the Woodland Hills Recreation Center website. Pool hours are currently Monday-Friday 2-6 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday noon-5 p.m. Entrance is cash only and $3.50 for adults and $1 for kids. There’s a locker room with showers available as well as, plenty of parking, bathrooms, and shaded picnic tables.

Woodland Hills Recreation Center
5858 Shoup Ave.
Woodland Hills
Online: laparks.org/reccenter/woodland-hills

Got a favorite park when the weather is hot?  Let us know in the comments below!

—written and photos by Shahrzad Warkentin

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