Kids play on the new play structures at Seattle’s renovated Fairmount Playground. Credit: Natasha Dillinger
We recently experienced a week of the season called “faux spring” around Seattle. If you’re unfamiliar with this brief-but-delightful concept, it’s when the sun breaks through our otherwise gray Pacific Northwest winter skies for a few days and everyone heads outside for a much-needed dose of Vitamin D.
Any dry day is a great day for the playground, so our family took advantage of the sunny weather and went to check out the fresh new play structures at West Seattle’s just-updated Fairmount Playground.
Make new (playgrounds), but keep the old
The legacy play equipment on the north side of the park was left intact during the renovation so we made it our first stop. My kids loved sending each other high into the sky on the see-saw — the older model doesn’t have the wimpy range of new-fangled equipment, so they really soared.
The cute and fun ferry-themed structure is showing its age (watch out for chipping paint), but the cushy poured rubber surface below made it a great spot to practice jumps from the steps. (Pro tip: For the Grandmommy of all ferry play structures, don’t miss this epic play destination.)
Room for everyone
Normally, our early morning play outings deliver empty playgrounds. With other West Seattle playgrounds like Lincoln Park sitting in construction purgatory, however, the sunny weekend brought lots of other families out to enjoy the new space.
Since it’s located adjacent to Fairmount Park Elementary School, I imagine it likely fills with wiggly kids the minute the dismissal bell rings. Luckily, the structure seemed well-suited to spread kids out by interest and ability.
New play structures
Fairmount’s new play equipment centers around towers that are connected with ramps, bridges and rope climbers. My 2-year-old stuck with a circuit that focused on crossing the jungle gyms and slipping down the slides.
The dual spiral slides were popular, but kids waited relatively patiently for their turn to race down the slopes. The interconnected structures also provided lots of covered areas underneath where we saw older kids playing tag. The multiple levels made the space feel twice as big.
My monkey-bar-loving 5-year-old asked me no fewer than five times on the drive over whether there would be any bars to swing on. She was ecstatic to find a bank of bright green rings and practiced skipping across them for almost our entire visit. Morning dew made most of the metal ladders and rings slippery, so I would bring sturdy shoes for safety on a rainy day visit.
A toddler tower offered a great variety of shorter climbers for the littlest visitors complete with good sightlines to the rest of the play area for parents of multiples. My favorite unique feature was a trio of African gourd-inspired drums that made rain-like noises when swung, but my kids were sadly already a bit too old to show any interest.
Bring a ball, balance bike or scooter
An asphalt surface adjacent to the playground offers space to practice dribbling, while the large field can play host to softball and soccer practice. There were some drainage issues from recent rain on our visit, so make sure you bring clothes and boots that can get muddy if you decide to explore the grass.
We saw several smart families arrive with balance bikes and scooters, using the long stretch of pavement alongside the ball field as the perfect place to practice wheel skills.
The park doesn’t have a dedicated parking lot, but you’ll find street parking along Fauntleroy Way and an access point at 38th Avenue S.W. Like many city-run restroom facilities, the small restroom building here is closed seasonally, so our visit was limited to just under an hour.
With structures to entice kids of all ages and plenty of room to spread out, the newly renovated Fairmount Playground is the perfect spot to spend a sunny morning or meet for a multi-age play date.
If you go…
Open hours: Seattle parks are open daily, 4 a.m.–11:30 p.m.
Parking and facilities: Free street parking is available. The restroom building is closed seasonally (no opening date was listed on the sign).
Snack time: Fairmount is located less than a mile from the West Seattle Junction — the intersection of California Avenue S.W. and S.W. Alaska Street — considered the downtown of West Seattle. You’ll find lots of treats and shopping there. We tried the eponymous blue pea flower-tinted tea latte at Sound & Fog. For a treat try the pastries Bakery Nouveau. Coastline Burgers will whip up a great lunch and family-friendly Elliott Bay Brewery is popular with West Seattle families. Pick up sandwiches, ice cream or specialty candy at kid-favorite Husky Deli.
More parks and playgrounds to explore: