I have an almost-five-year-old, so we spend a lot of time at playgrounds. I wasn’t really up on the playground scene in the western Lakes Region before moving back here a few years ago. I have to say that the abundance of really awesome playgrounds is one of the best surprises we’ve experienced. Given that this is a pretty rural area, I wouldn’t have expected there to be so many. Here are our favorites, in case you’re looking to for something fun to do in this part of the state.
1. Imagination Station at Gilford Elementary School
So you obviously can’t go to this one when school is in session, but I dare say we spend several hours here every month on the weekends and even more during the summer. This is one of those awesome, massive wooden structures built back in the 80s that you saw from time to time. You can pretend to be in a castle, or on a ship, or on top of a skyscraper. The possibilities are endless. Here is Julius hiding in one of the tunnels while my husband Jon pretended to be an ogre chasing him. Sadly, this most awesome of playgrounds is slated to be torn down sometime in the near future. So you should check it out while you still can! Also, there are really great nature trails behind the playground that are perfect for young children, with streams and bridges and all sorts of fun things to explore in the forest.
2. Leavitt Park, Elm Street in Lakeport (a section of Laconia)
This is our favorite city park right now. It has a tire swing and two spinning poles, which are these really solid medal posts with a platform to stand on and handles to hold onto. You climb onto the platform, push off the ground with your foot and then spin around and get insanely dizzy. Great physics lesson. I had never seen these at a playground before, but wow, what a hit with the kiddo. And now he knows what centrifugal force is! This park also has a huge playing field and walking/running track around the outside so it’s great if you need somewhere to run around and blow off some steam. Chestnut and oak trees abound here, so in the fall there are lots of interesting things to collect and in the summer there is a good deal of shade.
3. Child’s Park, Meredith Center Rd, Meredith
This is a brand spanking new playground. Julius’ favorite thing here is a slide that is a long series of rollers that jostle you all around as you go down. Must be what it feels like to be a product moving down an assembly line. This is one of the only parks around here where I’ve seen a swing for children with disabilities who can’t sit up without support. I wish there were more of these around the area. It’s great that they have one at this park. This one also has really nice public restrooms that are actually open, which is a rarity. And there is a general store right across the street, which is handy.
Would love to hear about your favorite playgrounds so please share!