New play structure at West Seattle's renovated E.C. Hughes Playground. Credit: JiaYing Grygiel
Like all Seattle-native children, when there’s a pause in the rain — or even if it slows to a light drizzle, we make a break for the playground. Two terrific new playgrounds opened in West Seattle in December, following complete renovations: E.C Hughes Playground and Puget Ridge Playground. My kids and I went went to check them out.
Find it: 2805 S.W. Holden St., Seattle
At the new E.C. Hughes Playground, a little girl pushed my kids so high on the double swing that they couldn’t stop laughing. She told me it was her fifth visit to the new playground in just the five days since the fences came down. We’d stop by this park every day, too, if we lived around the corner. It is enormous and so good.
The play structures come with lots of adaptations for kids who might need help climbing up or who need to stay at ground level. Look for little surprises, such as a convex mirror and a raindrop sound-maker. There’s a built-in landing on the rope climber. Bumps shaped like giant rubber balls make a fun obstacle course.
My kids’ favorite thing at E.C. Hughes was the double swing. It’s the only one of its kind that I’ve seen in the Seattle area, and it is very popular.
The new merry-go-around is set low to the ground, but kids looking for a challenge can climb up high on the rope ladders. Depending on your kid's level of ability and guts, this playground is as risky or as safe as you want it to be.
The playground is adjacent to a huge field, where soccer, baseball and plain ol’ running around take place. Parents of small children should note that the park restrooms are closed for the season. We popped by the Home Depot on Delridge Way to use the facilities.
Find it: 6029 21st Ave. S.W., Seattle
Just up the hill behind Louisa Boren K–8 School is a newly renovated pocket park on the tiny triangle where 21st Ave. S.W. and Croft Place S.W. converge. The Puget Ridge play area renovation cost $300,000.
This playground packs a lot of punch into its postage-stamp-sized lot. A bigger metal fort replaced the old wooden play structure. The seesaw got a lot smaller (it is now a two-seater), but the park added lots of cool musical instruments.
The new playhouse didn’t impress my 4-year-old — he peeked inside and announced, “There’s nothing in here!” But my kids loved the xylophones and the swinging bench. Along the west fence is a dirt trail, where a group of neighborhood girls raced each other, laughing. They played card games and colored at the new picnic tables, dashing home when a parent called. We heard chickens clucking next door. Imagine living next to this park!
Parents of runners will love that the park is fully fenced, with a pretty gate adorned with flowers at the entrance.
As far as I could tell, there’s just one parking spot for this neighborhood park, on the gravel outside the park’s entrance. There isn’t even really street parking, as you’d be parking on the shoulder in someone’s front lawn.
The nearest public restroom is two blocks away at the Delridge Library. Park in the spots facing the fence in the building’s lot. This Seattle Public Library branch is small, the staff is super nice, and my kids walked out beaming with their new reads. A playground and library outing — in my book (ha), always makes for a perfect day.
If you go...
Find the parks:
Open hours: Seattle parks are generally open 4 a.m.–11:30 p.m.
Facilities: E.C. Hughes' restrooms are closed for the season; Puget Ridge does not have restrooms.
Snack time: Westwood Village, with a Target and a QFC, is less than a mile from E.C. Hughes. Find West Seattle's own Youngstown Coffee Company a half-mile north of Puget Ridge Playground, and tons of eating and shopping options around the Junction, about three miles away.
More playgrounds to try!