Riding the White Center Bike playground. Credit: Natasha Dillinger
Tots on wheels
Some city bike paths are intimidating for toddlers on scooters or balance bikes, but we’ve found a couple of parks that offer paved spaces without speeding big kids or adults.
The White Center Bike playground is truly one of a kind. A former tennis court (read: smooth, flat surfacing!) has been painted with realistic lane markings and signs. It’s great for big kids to practice the rules of the road, but tots can wobble across the space to their hearts’ content while older siblings are at school. The play area is fenced on three sides with a sidewalk ramp to the parking lot, so you’ll have plenty of warning if your little one attempts a quick getaway.
At Puyallup’s Van Lierop Park, you’ll find a smooth path covered in bright yellow painted flowers — motivation for a tot on a balance bike is as easy as coaxing them to the next blossom (or the treats at Farm 12 next door). Visit on a clear day for views of Mount Rainier, and return in late May or early June to spy fields of beautiful purple lupines.
For roller-coaster fun for tots on two wheels, try a pump track. Little kids on balance bikes can even navigate some pump track areas.