Shhh … we have a secret. A unique new playground called Hawks Landing opened a few months ago and it’s still a hidden gem!
This new play spot is fabulous, and definitely worth navigating the labyrinthine streets of Tehaleh to find. Tehaleh is a planned community in the city of Bonney Lake, about an hour south of Seattle.
My preschooler and I headed out to test drive the playground and explore the neighborhood, and we loved what we found.
Not quite “nothing but net”
The eye-catching centerpiece of the new park is a bright green net climber that you can spot from a few blocks away — which is helpful when you’re navigating unfamiliar neighborhood streets.
This net climber is unlike any we’ve encountered on all of our playground missions. It’s a long, elevated, tube-like pathway, enclosed by netting. Decorated with faux trees, it’s perhaps supposed to feel like a canopy walk atop the forest. Or could it be a huge green snake, resting among the treetops?
For the most part, net climbers tend to cater to older kids who have the right combination of coordination and fearlessness. This one, on the other hand, suits younger kids as well. It did not give me visions of my three-year-old plummeting 15 feet to the ground. (Whew!) The enclosed pathway provides a challenge — without the risk of a big fall. Humpty Dumpty should have come here.
Finding the route
The climber has multiple entrance and exit points. It also includes two tube slides so kids can choose their own adventure. I could imagine some young kids inside feeling stuck, so it’s worth exploring the structure together with little ones until they get the hang of it. My son is a bit of a daredevil, so he “kid-splained” the route to me instead.
Very few other families cycled through the park during our visit, perhaps because of its newness and out-of-the-way location. The netted tube pathway isn’t quite wide enough to accommodate two-way traffic, so if it gets too crowded on a busy day there are cozy spinners and lower climbing obstacles to enjoy.
Swings and more
In keeping with the net theme, the two swings are baskets that can accommodate younger children, kids with disabilities or just a few friends who want to swing together. My son and his playdate buddy happily played peek-a-boo as they swung beside each other.
For kids who aren’t quite ready for the net maze, a smaller structure is nearby with no sight-line obstacles for caregivers of multiple kids. It’s oddly labeled for ages 5–12, but for sure meant to be the toddler area.
There are various net ladders (seriously — these playground designers kept with the theme!) and stairs to enjoy along with a metal tube slide.
This playground is clearly geared towards Tehaleh residents who live within walking distance, though non-residents are welcome and the playground is open to the public. (It’s free marketing for the housing development, after all!) There are nice wide sidewalks, a trail that abuts the back of the park and a picnic structure for playdate snacks.
What you won’t find, as presumably most playground visitors live within a short distance, is a restroom. This was a major constraint on our playground fun, but just a three-minute drive away we found The Post.
The Post is Tehaleh’s sales center, but also welcomes neighbors and visitors with a coffee shop (which has a restroom!), free Wifi, and comfortable seating for meet-ups or community events. The front patio features a grill and outdoor furniture, while its patio twin out back has a covered gas firepit and Adirondack chairs.
Speaking of the community, Tehaleh gave me a little bit of an outdoorsy “Stepford Wives” vibe. We needed a GPS to navigate the many winding tree-lined streets, all with similar-looking houses. Caregivers pushed strollers down pristine bike paths. I can see the appeal of living so close to the community’s multiple parks, though — 40% of the development’s 4,700 acres are devoted to trails and parks!
While I can’t say I’m ready to call my realtor (or pay the hefty HOA dues), both my son and I are definitely eager to return for coffee and playtime at this one-of-a-kind new playground.
If you go…
Find it: Hawks Landing playground is located at 18810 Eagle Ridge Dr. E. in Bonney Lake (roughly an hour south of Seattle or Bellevue, and 35 minutes from Tacoma). It’s part of the Tehaleh planned community and nestled in the Brookstone sub-development.
Hours: The park is open from 8 a.m. till dusk.
Parking and facilities: Street parking is available. There are no restrooms at the park, but The Post (Tehaleh’s information center) is a three-minute drive and has a restroom for customers.
Nearby: The Post features a Caffe D’arte outpost with snacks and coffee. You’ll find a cute gathering space with indoor and outdoor seating, plus a gas firepit out back. This is also where you’ll stop for directions if you want to try out one of the many trails and other parks in the community.
Other fun on the way
More new playgrounds: