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12 Toddler-Friendly Parks on the Eastside

Playground at Grass Lawn in Redmond, WA

Allison Holm


Editor's note: Updated June 2017

Parks and playgrounds are major summertime lifesavers, perfect for letting your littles run, climb, swing and slide off some steam before nap time. Thankfully, there are hundreds of parks around the Seattle area. This list focuses on those with Eastside play areas geared especially towards the under-5 crowd. Be it a separate space for toddlers or an entire park created just for pint-sized players, here are 12 toddler-perfect playgrounds on the Eastside!



Photographer: Allison Holm

Tot Lot Park (better known as Turtle Park)

1. Tot Lot Park, better known as Turtle Park (namely for the large stone turtle that sits in the middle of the lawn), is a fully fenced, flat and fabulous mini park for toddlers. You’ve got a well-stocked sandbox, a small climbing structure with slides, ride-on toys, a few swings and lots of grass for snack time. The lone, metal slide that puts fear into the hearts of 2-year-olds (and their parents) is going away, soon to be replaced with a more doable blue plastic slide. Restrooms:There’s a porta-potty, so come prepared. Food: Head to downtown Kirkland for Jimmy John’s or DERU Market (about six blocks east) for artisan pizzas and organic salads (plus some to-die-for cake). 141 9th Ave, Kirkland


2.   Houghton’s Phyllis A. Needy Park is another great, fully fenced park for your minis. It’s also got a sandbox full of tractors, play equipment, ride-on toys, swings and lots of grass to run around on. Restrooms: There are bathrooms and a drinking fountain on-site. Food: Nearby snack stops include Metropolitan Market and Menchie’s.  10811 NE 47th Street, Kirkland


3. McAuliffe Park is actually on a homestead that’s owned by the city of Kirkland. It’s a cute little park that’s rarely crowded. One side has swings, play equipment and a huge grassy area; the homestead is located across the road. Wander the apple orchard, admire the huge windmill and stroll through the sweet community Pea Patch. Restrooms: None. Food: Head east on 116th for big portions at Brown Bag Cafe (Editor's note: As of March 2017, Brown Bag Cafe is closed temporarily due to a fire. Check ahead before visiting.)  10824 NE 116th Street, Kirkland, WA


Photographer: Allison Holm

North Kirkland Community Center Park

4. North Kirkland Community Center Park is another great bet for toddlers and preschoolers. There are two sections of the park and includes the regulars: Swings, sandbox, slides, climbing equipment. Your pint-sized park-goers will love exploring the small patch of bushes between the two play areas and rolling down the grassy hill. Head across the street for more lawn and picnic tables, and check out the community center for indoor fun. Restrooms: On-site. Food: Continue east on 124th for a post-park Menchie’s or a sandwich from QFC. 12421 103rd Avenue NE, Kirkland


5.  Rhododendron Park park is tucked away in Kenmore and blooming with rhodies in spring and early summer. Aside from flowers, the park features two play areas (one for big kids, one for littles) with a triple slide, swings and a sandbox, tons of green space plus paths for scootering. Restrooms: There’s a bathroom on-site with a diaper-changing station. Parking: There’s a medium-sized lot next to playground. Food: Head to nearby Bothell Way for Pagliacci Pizza.  6910 NE 170th St., Kenmore


6. North Rose Hill Woodlands Park, better known as “Castle Park” to the community members who helped build it, is a one-of-a-kind playground. It features -you guessed it- a castle full of climbing structures, secret passageways and slides. There’s a separate area for toddlers with smaller (but just as cool) equipment, and everyone will love the tire swing. There’s tons of grass for picnics, plus a few small nature trails and boardwalks. Restrooms: No restrooms, so come prepared. Parking: Parking can be tricky. Either park along the busy 124th Ave, or head to the small lot and side-street parking off of N.E. 100th Street. Food: Grab pizza and soft serve at the Kirkland Costco (down the street). 9930 124th Ave. NE, Kirkland


7 & 8. Two more must-play parks on the Eastside are Grass Lawn Park (Redmond) and Crossroads Park (Bellevue). They both made it into our round-up of favorite family picnic spots, and for good reason. Check out Crossroads Park for it’s fantastic spray park full of life-sized orcas, double play area (one structure for big kids, another for toddlers) and huge grass lawns. Full restrooms on-site. In Redmond, head to Grass Lawn for a cool splash pad, huge park (great for older kids) and toddler-friendly play space complete with sand area and play house. Restrooms on-site. Parking lots at both parks. Crossroads Park: 999 164th Avenue NE, Bellevue. Grass Lawn Park: 7031 148 Ave NE, Redmond


9. Lewis Creek Park is a 55-acre park brimming with preserved wetlands, forests and lots of opportunity for adventure! Get some wiggles out at the wetland-themed playground, take a mini hike through grassland along a half-mile loop or check out a pair of binoculars from the Visitors Center for some wildlife viewing (open Wed-Sun 10am-4pm). Restrooms: Yes. Parking: Yes. Food: There aren’t many lunch spots nearby, so pack a picnic! 5808 Lakemont Blvd. SE, Bellevue


10. If you’re in Bothell, swing by the Park at Bothell Landing, a cute pirate ship-themed park perfect for little buccaneers. Play equipment includes a ship-shaped climbing structure, slides, a pulley and swings. Visit the ducks at the edge of the Sammamish River, picnic in the amphitheater or explore the historical buildings on the grounds. Restrooms: Yes. Food: Head to Alexa’s Cafe for a kid-friendly atmosphere and great eats. 9919 NE 180th St., Bothell


11. St. Edward State Park boasts a huge castle-themed wooden playground that’s perfect for big kids, but there’s also an awesome, fully-fenced toddler area that features tunnels, slides, bridges, swings and a great sandbox. If your kiddos still have energy to burn, have them sprint around the large expanse of grass or take a mini hike on some of the nature trails. Restrooms: Yes. Parking: Requires a Discover Pass (there are pay stations where you can purchase a day pass). Lunch: Head to Bothell or Kirkland for lots of options. There’s also a nearby QFC for snacks or picnic supplies. 14445 Juanita Dr NE, Kenmore


12. Set in Mercer Island, Luther Burbank Park is home to nature trails, Lake Washington beachfront and a great play area for toddlers with swings, climbing structures and a zip line (perfect for older siblings!). There are restrooms, drinking fountains and picnic tables in the area. Parking: The lot nearest the playground can fill up on nice days, but there’s more parking at the Mercer View Community Center--just be prepared to walk to the play area. Lunch: There aren’t many convenient lunch places nearby, so pack a picnic. 2040 84th Avenue SE, Mercer Island



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