Some playgrounds are so impressive I feel like they should start charging for them!
Just kidding- But it is really amazing when you find a place that is FREE to play that the kids absolutely love. You can just see their eyes light up when you arrive to any of these beautifully designed and carefully planned out playgrounds. Happy exploring!
1. Emery Barnes Park
Location: 1170 Richards Street, Vancouver
You'll find Emery Barnes Park smack dab in the middle of the busy downtown streets of Vancouver. This park is a small urban oasis to the concrete jungles surrounding it. There's plenty of monkey bars, slides and places to have fun in within the playground. When your children are exhausted, there's lots of benches nearby for you both to sit down and enjoy a snack.
This is also the perfect place to bring your dog along for a walk, as there's an off-leash park beside the playground.
2. Central Park
Location: 3883 Imperial Street, Burnaby
Another one of our favourites is Central Park. This 86.4-hectare urban park beautifully features Vancouver's natural landscape. It's also the perfect place to bring your kids for an outdoor picnic or barbecue. Squirrels scamper around the entire park, and there's even a pond for fish and ducks. There are also several different playgrounds scattered everywhere, and numerous trails to explore. Douglas firs, western hemlocks, maple groves and cedar trees tower over the trails, and add to the stunning landscape.
The playgrounds are also close to many sports and recreational facilities. Take a dip in the swimming pool, play a round of tennis, try your hand at the horseshoe pitch or even play some golf! It's also a great place to bring the dogs along too.
3. Queenstone Park
Location: 3415 Queenstone Avenue, Coquitlam
Your kids will feel as if they've entered a wonderland when you take them to Queenstone Park. This fun, little playground is situated on a hill, which makes it the perfect place for slides! This playground is filled with fun colours like bright orange slides and neon green floors. There's a rock climbing area, a picnic area and a basketball court nearby.
Rather than having an actual outdoor washroom, there are only port-a-potties. There's also no water fountains. It's important to plan accordingly and pack appropriately.
4. Terra Nova Adventure Playground
Location: 2340 River Rd, Richmond
Photo Credit: John Chow
Would any playground list be complete without Terra Nova, Metro Vancouver's 1.5 million playground? I think not! On top of the impressive play equipment is the fact that you're surrounded by beautiful scenery and views of the Fraser River. Bigger kids will love the zipline and 10-metre tall tree house with a rope ladder and spiral slide but there's still lots to do for younger kids too- there's swings, smaller slides, and ponds.
Toilets are available and there's plenty of shaded areas.
5. John Hendry Park (aka Trout Lake Park)
Location: 3300 Victoria Drive, Vancouver
With two playgrounds on either side of the lake connected with a biking path and boardwalks to explore, you could easily spend a whole day in the area. The old playground has a concession stand and washrooms nearby, and the newer playground is closer to the community centre where you can access their washrooms. There's a huge grassy area around for packing a picnic, and a water feature in the summer months!
6. John Lawson Park & Playground
Location: 17th Street, West Vancouver
Much loved for it's big pirate ship and that VIEW. There's something so special about a playground right on the water, not only does it make it incredibly picturesque, but it immediately brings a sense of calmness to your adventure. Also at the park is a splash pad to cool down on the hot summer days.
7. Ceperley Park
Location: 8701 Stanley Park Drive, Vancouver
Nestled right in the middle of Stanley Park is one of our favourite playgrounds – Ceperley Park! This playground is not only right beside the seawall, but is also close to trails, picnic areas, beaches and gardens. You get to enjoy all the beauty that Stanley Park has to offer. If the slides and monkey bars are getting boring, there's even a large grass field for you and your kids to use. You can use the space to play soccer, fly a kite and more!
Getting to Ceperley Park will also be a piece of cake. There's plenty of parking nearby, so you won't face any headaches looking for a spot. Parking real estate is scarce in Vancouver nowadays!
8. Lions Park Playground
Location: 8701 Stanley Park Drive, Vancouver
Lions Park Playground was once voted as one of the best in the Lower Mainland, and it's no surprise once you visit. It's bursting with vibrant colours, including the iconic tractor tires from the old playground, and it has equipment catering to all ages and abilities. There's climbing structures, swings, slides, zipline, and a sandbox. The rubber surface is a great added touch, there's plenty of seating for you, and brand new washrooms on site.
There's also plenty of inclusive features for children with autism spectrum disorder which we love to see.
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