It is a common misconception that playgrounds are a tool for preschool and elementary age children but throughout our adventures we have discovered this is far from true. I've taken my daughter to playgrounds as soon as the weather was warm enough after she was born. Though she couldn't walk or crawl, she developed a deep love for playgrounds as time went on and built on milestones along the way. I've even brought teenagers to playgrounds with great success. Each playground around Rochester offers something unique. Below are some of our favorite playgrounds based on age-appropriateness
Playgrounds with a Baby Swings
Ginegaw Park has the best baby swing around! It also has stroller friendly hiking paths. This swing allows the caregiver and babe to swing together! This allows some face time with baby which helps the child to learn to match emotional expression and build on social cues (smile when you swing and baby will hopefully match that excitement!). Swings also help develop grip strength, core muscles as well as stimulating the brain! Our list of the other tandem swings (better for toddlers) can be found HERE
Playground/Splash Pad Combos
Playgrounds that have a Splashpad adjacent can be a great option for babies as their attention span can be limited. Most of the playgrounds with a splashpad near by also have a padded play surface. Between the water, various play surfaces and other play equipment, there is much to stimulate the senses. Sweden Town Park is a great example! This splashpad/playground Combo has a padded play surface, musical instruments, wide ramps and a roller slide! So much to touch and take in! Kids Canyon (Greece), Union Station (Chili), Camp Eastman (Irondequoit), and First Responder's Park are some of our favorite playgrounds with a splashpad. The full list can be found HERE.
Playgrounds with a Padded Play Surface
As your baby reaches the crawling stage and onto trying to walk, playgrounds with a padded play surface are the perfect place to practice these new skills! These playgrounds are also usually handicap accessible meaning there are plenty of ramps for safe and easy entry. Even if you baby isn't quite crawling, these playgrounds are a great place for you to sit on the play structures with your child, help her pull herself up on the bars and take in new and exciting sights and textures. Our favorite padded playground to bring baby is the new playground at Ridge Park (Webster), Sweden Town Park (Sweden/Brockport) and Joshua Park, (Irondequoit)!
What toddler doesn't love looking at animals and learning their sounds? Many farms around Rochester have play equipment if not an entire playground! A fan favorite is Egypt Park. The entire playground is farm themed with a trail to Lollypop's Farm Walk. Springdale Farm also has a playground. Other Farms, such as Long Acre, Burnap's Farm Market, and Partyka Farms all have play structures on the property to use for free! A list of farms to visit can be found HERE.
Some toddlers need more boundaries than others but we don't want to restrict their exploration and movement. Fenced in playgrounds are great for these kiddos. Some of these fenced in playgrounds are even gated so there is no need to worry about your little escape artist. Some of our favorite (and more secured) fenced in playgrounds are Bristol Tot Lot (Irondequoit) and the Perinton Community Center Playground. The whole list can be found HERE!
Around age 2, children start to engage in imaginative play. What better way to activate the imagination than with a themed playground! Egypt Park (Fairport) has a farm themed playground, and The Fingerlakes Welcome Center (Geneva) as well as Richard P Outhouse Park (Canandaigua) has a pirate ship them! Jack's Place in Rothfuss and Webster park has a beloved dinosaur theme playground!
Playgrounds near a Beach
Seneca Lake State Park, Hamlin Beach, Sandy Bottom Beach, and Onanda Beach Park all have playgrounds near a beach. Seneca Lake State Park in particular is vast and beautiful! Along with a beach, it also has a large splash pad and several different playgrounds.
Wooden & Natural Playgrounds
Wooden and Natural playgrounds often require a bit more coordination than your typical plastic playgrounds. Lilac Adventure Zone is a great playground for older kids that can balance and jump from one area to the next. There's a wooden playground in Hamlin only 10 minutes form the beach that also requires big steps and some climbing. Check out our list of Wooden Playgrounds and Natural Playgrounds for more!
Library Playgrounds & Story Walks
A couple Monroe County Libraries, including Brighton, Hamlin and Sully Branch have a playground next door. This makes for an easy way to extend an outing with school age kids (or any age for that matter!) Also, many playgrounds have story walks! Story walks are outdoor trails with pages from a children's book displayed throughout. Baker Park (Canandaigua) has a great story walk path!
Probably the most attractive playground for teens is the Parkour Playground at Cobb's Hill. Not only does this "playground" include an obstacle course but there is also a work-out station right next door! This work-out area is intended for adults and adolescents so your teen should feel comfortable using it! The Parkour area consists of a coarse map making it a fun challenge for teens to beat. There's even a smaller playground nearby to distract the younger siblings!
Bike and Skateboard Parks
Dryer Road Park is sure to amaze any bike enthusiast. Whether there to observe the experts or practice yourself, this is a place many teens enjoy. The pump station is a great spot for a variety of ages to practice their mountain biking skills, but there are also trails in the woods and a ramp course for the more skilled mountain biker. There's also a playground at Dryer Road! Parma Town Park (Hilton), Jefferson Park (Canandaigua), and Ridgecrest (Webster) are parks with a playground and skatepark.
Martin Luther King Park has a somewhat hidden playground that teens can secretly enjoy. The climbing structure and large slide is best suited for older kids. There's also the nearby playwalk and not to mention the Museum of play is right next door which is fun for all ages! There's a variety of playgrounds in Rochester which is great for a multiple stop outing with your teen. Consider Checking out Pop Roc, Record Archive or the variety of cafes and restaurants near by after playing in the city.