Play On! Best Eastside Parks for Preschoolers

Even though we just officially hit winter (come on Groundhog Day), that doesn’t mean you can’t venture outside with your minis in tow, to burn off some steam and let imaginations soar. If you’re ready to explore beyond your ‘hood, we’ve complied the best destination-worthy, play-inspiring, preschool-friendly parks the Eastside has to offer. So, bundle up your tykes and read on to find out where you can swing, slide, climb and jump out the winter crazies.

photo: Jennifer B. Davis

You may have attended a concert here, but Marymoor also features an amazing park for the munchkins on the north side of the sprawling grounds, nestled between the play fields. Complete with a three-kid wide teeter-totter, a special 2-5 year old section, a rockin’ dinosaur, a few unique whirl-i-gigs and a large-scale climbing piece, this park really delivers. Adults can even perfect their sit ups and burn some calories on the cardio machines adjacent to the play equipment. Bring your bikes and ride the loop, or cruise over to the woof-tastic dog park filled with great trails and open space for Junior to run free along with Fido. There’s also a huge climbing wall (for bigger kids), remote control airplane field and acres and acres of play fields. A second kid’s play area is also tucked within the Willowmoor Farm area.

Good to Know: There’s a $1 parking fee, but it covers anywhere in the park (ticket machines are easy to find, near the bathrooms next to the play area in section K), and for a buck we’d say Marymoor is more than worth it.

6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E.
Redmond, Wa 98052

 photo: Jennifer B. Davis

No Eastside adventure is complete without a trip to the sprawling Grasslawn Park in Redmond. With two distinct “sides” to this behemoth, there’s fun for any age group – especially in the warmer months when the east side water feature is on and it’s sunny enough to splash. The west side of the park features a multitude of climbing gyms, a merry-go-round/spinning tree, large sand area for castles or a game of pretend store in the “Happy Clam Club.” Swings, a HUGE slide and many other unique elements, make Grasslawn a true Eastside destination. Psst! This park is popular and often gets crowded on sunny days, so come prepared.

Good to Know: There’s a large-scale climbing piece tucked behind the trees in the northwest corner, if your adventurer needs more space to roam and climb.

7031 148th Ave. N.E.
Redmond, Wa 98052

photo: Jennifer B. Davis

The Park at Bothell Landing
Set sail on this newly built pirate ship, with more peep holes and climbing terrain than even Captain Hook would get tired of. Four different slides keep hearts racing, and the four-seater swing has two designated seats for the Littles. Older siblings will enjoy the fancy pulley, and everyone will enjoy the large, flat lawn to run free. Complete with an amphitheater and access to the Sammamish Trail, this park provides more than enough opportunities to dream up the perfect adventure.

9919 N.E. 180th St.
Bothell, Wa 98011

 photo: Jennifer B. Davis

North Rose Hill Woodlands Park – aka “Castle Park”
Dubbed “Castle Park” for good reason, this magical land boasts turrets, bridges and towers – oh my! Tire swings are a fun change of pace and the variety of climbing areas keeps all ages occupied. Built by community members, this grandiose medieval-style play structure is unlike anything else on the Eastside. With paths through the wooded area and a large grassy spot, free play is delightfully easy for little princes and princesses.

9930 124th Ave. N.E.
Kirkland, Wa 98033

photo: Danielle Fernandez

IssaquahGrand View Park
What better way to get your tot’s imagination revved up, than with an amazing “roof top” view. Situated on Issaquah’s Sammamish plateau, this new park features stunning views of the mountains, the city skyline and even the Space Needle. Of course, it’s the sweet play structure with four slides, swings, tons of grassy free space and monkey bars that are the true showstoppers at this park.

Good to Know: There’s a restroom and drinking fountain near the play equipment, but they’re closed for the winter, so plan accordingly and make your pit stops before arriving.

29th Ave. N.E.
Issaquah, Wa 98029

 photo: Jennifer B. Davis

132nd Square Park
Tucked behind the baseball and soccer fields, the play area at this boringly-named park is anything but blah. In addition to multiple swings (including smaller buckets and a special needs-friendly swing) and a large climbing toy with excitingly steep slides, there’s a smaller climbing unit with a tot-sized slide for the less daring. Psst! If it’s not raining, take off your shoes and walk the stone pebble reflexology circle – or just run free within the huge fenced-in area.

13159 132nd Ave. N.E.
Kirkland, Wa 98034

 photo: Rebecca F. via Yelp

Kelsey Creek Park
This popular park in the heart of Bellevue is known for its menagerie of animals, but there’s also a small play structure within the huge park great for a variety of imaginative scenarios. Two small house-like structures allow for climbing through rounded doorways, sitting on “couches” and scooting out a window. A large-scale teeter totter is a fun addition, as is the obvious draw of the historic barns and farm animals just up the path.

Good to Know: Visiting hours are from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and the animals are out in the yard 365 days a year. The park is open from dawn ’til dusk.

410 130th Place S.E.
Bellevue, Wa 98005

 photo: Jennifer B. Davis

Bellevue Downtown Park
Located a few blocks south of Bellevue Square is the expansive Bellevue Park known for its huge pond, ice skating rink in the winter and outdoor movies in the summer. But this ginormous park also hosts a fun play area for the wild ones, which in summer 2015 is set to be expanded.   Currently, the park provides a smaller castle structure to get imaginative juices flowing, along with a slide, swings and a rope climbing apparatus. Psst! A dragon guards the route to the restrooms, so bring your fearlessness.

10201 N.E. 4th St.
Bellevue, Wa 98005

 photo: Jennifer B. Davis

Does your tot have a favorite park on the Eastside? Tell us about it in a comment below. 

—Jennifer B. Davis


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