New play area at High Point. Credit: JiaYing Grygiel
Seattle's new High Point Play Area gets its name from — imagine this — its position as the highest point in the city. This West Seattle neighborhood sits 70 feet higher than Queen Anne or Capitol Hill, and the primo location just got a brand new playground.
Next to the High Point Community Center and Walt Hundley Playfield, the new play area includes a big climbing tower, monkey bars, a tent feature with rock-climbing grips, swings and a net climber. At 5,260 square feet, it's more than four times bigger than the playground it replaced. Construction began last August and wrapped up earlier this month. The park is already filled with neighborhood families more than ready to play while soaking up the warmth of spring.
On our recent visit to test drive the playground — West Seattle's newest — my kids were most excited about the purple slide. Slide fans take note: There are four slides altogether. One slide is built right into a slope, and some kids improvised by just rolling down the turf. The new turf was perfect for babies lolling in the sun, and for lounging on when the kids got worn out from all that climbing and running.
My kids discovered a scavenger hunt at the top of the climbing fort and threw themselves into tracking down all the hidden pictures. We meant to just swing by and check out the park, but we ended up blowing right through lunchtime and staying for most of the afternoon. The new picnic tables next to the play area were perfect for a refueling snack break.
On a perfect sunny day, we parents lazily watched the kids tearing through the brand new play structures — until suddenly it got very quiet. A little girl tumbled out from the top of the biggest slide and crumpled on the ground. Grownups ran to help. Seeing a playground accident like that will make your heart stop.
The top of the big slide, the twisty one off the fort, is fairly open, so a kid tilting one way or another could topple out. My mom instinct also worried about the two small steps along the bridge up to the tower. I wish they’d been painted a bright color so kids would be sure to notice them. I could just see someone racing along, missing those steps and face-planting onto the metal grill. If you have a risk-taker or an accident-prone tot, perhaps point out these potential trouble spots on arrival.
But look, the play area is cheerful and new and fun for kids. While I’m a perpetual worry-wart, my kids are already asking when we can go back. It’s a great new playground and neighborhood well worth checking out.
The High Point area is 520 feet above sea level, but it’s on a gentle slope so there’s not much of a view. Looking to the west, you’ll see two soccer fields against a backdrop of so much new construction. For a good view, you’ll get a much better vantage point from High Point Pond Park (6920 31st Ave. S.W.), less than a mile away. Also nearby is Camp Long (where you can rent a cabin right in the city!) and the wonderful West Seattle Bee Garden (3108 S.W. Graham St.), where kids can come by anytime to see real bee hives and learn about pollinators.
For a super-fun snack stop in West Seattle, head to legendary Husky Deli, two miles from the new play area.
If you go...
Getting there: There's a small parking lot next to the community center or plenty of street parking. Metro route 21 stops on 35th Avenue S.W. a block away.
Restrooms: Find restrooms inside the adjacent community center