Updated, July 2013
Looking for the newest places to swing, slide, and scramble? Here are Seattle-area playgrounds that have been recently renovated for safety, structure and plenty of outdoor fun. See also our related stories: 7 Parks to Discover in Seattle, and Super Spray Parks.
South Seattle/West Seattle
Seattle Children’s PlayGarden
1740 23rd Ave. S.
This welcoming park focuses on serving children with special needs and recently installed artist Trimpin’s Bongobenny Quintet, a musical fence. The musical fence is an interactive way for kids to make and listen to musical sounds. Plus, a new shade structure from the Washington State Dermatology Association helps keep kids safe in the sun, and the PlayGarden also has beautiful gardens with chickens, bunnies and more. Note: This play area is open varied hours; check the calendar.
Roxhill Play Area and Skatespot
2850 S.W. Roxbury St.
With the participation of the West Seattle community, the new skatespot and play area improvements debuted in April, 2013. The new castle play area and explorer dome are safe, accessible, and sure to inspire endless ways to play.
Judkins Park and Playfield
2150 S. Norman St.
Earlier this year, a new skatespot was unveiled at Judkins Park and it’s already getting lots of play. Kids can work up a sweat and cool down in the spraypark.
Highland Park Playground and Spraypark
1100 S.W. Cloverdale St.
A brand-new spraypark is now open, replacing the old wading pool. Look out for a community celebration later in the summer when new artwork is installed. Designs incorporated community input to maximize enjoyment for Highland Park families at this beloved park.
Jefferson Park - Beacon Mountain
3801 Beacon Ave. S.
Beacon Mountain at Jefferson Park, opened in the summer of 2012, is a new ecologically oriented playscape, with a new state-of-the-art water feature, just a few of the wonderful things about this park in Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood.
Maple Leaf Play Area
1020 N.E. 82nd St.
A butterfly garden and adventurous play equipment enhance the new Maple Leaf play area. Kids can try the zip line or practice bouldering! Continuing improvements to the reservoir will be completed this fall.
Bitter Lake Reservoir Park
Linden Ave. N. and N. 143rd St.
The Seattle Conservation Corps has built a new community P-patch next to a new children’s play area. The new playground is safe and ADA accessible, with plantings and exciting new play equipment.
Kirke Park (formerly 9th Ave. N.W. Park)
7028 9th Ave. N.W.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony in August 2012 celebrated Kirke Park’s reopening with a community garden and play improvements. Based on community input, the new play designs include a “sledding hill,” a trail for unstructured play, and a small play area. Fun fact: The new name, Kirke, recognizes the neighborhood’s Norwegian heritage and the site’s past use as a church for more than 90 years.
Laurelhurst Park Playground
4544 N.E. 41st St.
The new playground is almost ready to go! A formal opening party is being planned for late July or early August.
Central District, downtown, Capitol Hill
Volunteer Park Play Area
1247 15th Ave. E.
If the old play area was looked a little outdated, the new space is sleek and ultramodern. New play equipment includes a climbing wall, new sand box, musical components and more! Accessible pathways connect the area to restrooms, wading pool, and parking lot. Don’t worry; old favorites like the “bone” sculpture were preserved.
401 Pine St.
In the heart of downtown, this new park is sure to be enjoyed by families from the greater Seattle area and beyond. Visitors can take a break from shopping and sightseeing to play and relax by the decorative fountain. In summer, the park will also be a venue for street performers and free concerts.
Doris Cooper Houghton Beach Park (formerly Houghton Beach Park)
5811 Lake Washington Blvd., Kirkland
With the assistance of local students, a new playground with a boating theme was added in 2011. Renamed last year to honor a former Kirkland mayor who was dedicated to supporting parks, the park also pays homage to Kirkland’s history on Lake Washington.
6500 151st Ave. N.E., Redmond
Just last summer, the community celebrated a new playground and other improvements. Neighbors gave input that transformed the outdated park into a more usable, enjoyable space.
Si View Park
400 S.E. Orchard Dr.
In summer 2013, the ribbon was cut on two new play areas at Si View Park. Kids lined up to use the new zip line, scrambled over the large climbing rock, and tried out the other fun play equipment. There is also a pool and community center at the park.
Meadow Crest Playground
1800 Index Ave. N.E., Renton
A new accessible playground is being built in Renton next to the Meadow Crest Early Learning Center, to be completed by fall 2013. The impressive plans include age-appropriate play areas, a picnic shelter, and a nature play area.
23312 100th Ave. S.E., Kent
Community members, staff, and volunteers worked with corporate sponsor Disney though a program called KaBOOM! to revitalize the play area. A dedication is planned for July 19 at 4 p.m. to celebrate playground construction.
13028 S.E. 251st St., Kent
The playfields feature an interactive electronic playground game station, where players move rapidly from one area to another to hit flashing lights on monitors.
8425 6th Ave., Tacoma
Re-opened in July of 2013, this beach park's impressive renovations include new play features and new sprayground, along with habitat restoration. The park is popular for bird watchers, walkers, picknickers, summer camp goers, scuba divers and other recreational users. Other site amenities include tennis and basketball courts, playfields, trails, playgrounds and picnic areas.
S. Puget Sound Ave., Tacoma
Renovations were completed the summer of 2013 on Franklin Park, including a new playground and sprayground, community garden improvements, trails and walkways, plaza space and picnic shelter.
900 S. Martin Luther King Jr Way, Tacoma
Renovations include improvements to support outdoor performing arts and small-scale community festivals.
Old Town Park
2350 N. 30th St. Tacoma
Home to the historic Job Carr cabin, Old Town Park has a new performance stage, provided by the Old Town Business District to support concerts in the park and coming this fall.
21800 Meridian, South Graham
Last summer, the Graham community celebrated an accessible playground with rubberized surfaces in Frontier Park. A climbing wall, crow’s nest, and talk tubes add to the fun.
Zina Linnik Project at McCarver Park
2301 S. J St., Tacoma
Over the last six years, students at McCarver Elementary School have transformed tragedy into community pride. To honor a classmate who was murdered, the students earned grants to bring art installations, a new playground with electronic equipment, a reading circle and new community gardens to the park. At Wright Park, a new playground with outdoor musical equipment and a new spraypark were all added through the students’ efforts.
at the Tacoma Nature Center, 1919 S. Tyler, Tacoma
The Tacoma Nature Center’s unconventional outdoor play space, opened in 2011, features a boulder scramble, a slide that runs through a hollow log, a snag climb, a pond with waterfalls and a log crossing, walking trails and rain gardens, and a tree house with multiple entries, including one accessible by wheelchair.
4818 Nassau Ave. N.E., Tacoma
The entire park received a $1.7 million makeover and reopened on June 4, 2011 with a spruced-up playground, a brand-new sprayground, a skate park, hiking trails and eco-turf.
501 S. I St., Tacoma
Wright now includes a new sprayground water feature and two new play areas that serve 2- to 5-year-olds and 5- to 12-year-olds, plus a rain garden and a concrete plaza area.
6500 S. Sheridan Ave., Tacoma
Wapato Park, which reopened in July 2012 after a renovation, includes a new dog park there that has had amazing use already, and a nearly one -mile loop around Wapato Lake.
This article was originally written in August 2011, and updated in July 2013.