Summer’s here, which means kids and the parents/caregivers who love them will be looking for ways to fill the long hours of daylight. Is there any activity more tried, more true or more fun than heading to a playground for the day? Playgrounds are free, they’re fun and they’re free. And, in Long Beach, they’re all over the place–on the beach, under shady trees, overrun by dinosaurs. And, in a bit of good fortune, many have recently been redone, remodeled or reimagined. Here’s just a few ways to play all over the city.
This sprawling play site recently reopened after a significant upgrade that now features a dinosaur theme complete with “Dino Excavating Zone” and T-Rex climbing structure. Recreation Park playground (4900 E. Seventh St.) is suitable for kids 5-12 and was remade to increase ADA accessibility, including American Sign Language to help those who are visually-impaired. Activities include spinning swings, merry-go-rounds and plenty of climbing features. The playground is surrounded by a wide plot of grass and trees, making it easy for families to relax and/or picnic while keeping an eye on their kids and those dinos.
This recently opened, beachside playground features two high, rope web climbing structures that look like something out of Swiss Family Robinson–ask your parents–as well as tube slides and swings on rubberized mats. If your kids like sand, well, there’s a whole beach of it one step off the mat. If you like food, well, the playground is connected to the recently opened Saltwater Deck eatery. The playground sits underneath the Long Beach Museum of Art and Bluff Park and is just across from basketball and pickleball courts, while being bordered by the pedestrian/cycle path. So, there’s a lot going on there.
Livingston Drive Playground
Recently reopened, Lincoln Park (101 Pacific Ave.)–yep, the one with the giant penny out front–features a playground that sits in the middle of a host of activity zones: skate and dog parks, turf sports field, disc golf, basketball court, while offering plenty of climbing equipment, bumpy slides, swings and seesaws on a rubberized mat. There’s also fitness equipment, because it’s never too early to start training the next great Long Beach athletes. Located downtown at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Pacific Avenue, the park is bordered by the Billie Jean King Main Library, providing a great place for kids to cool down with a great book.
Los Cerritos Park
One of the most popular places for young families—hence the name—Mother’s Beach (5839 Appian Way) is perfect for kids who get easily distracted. If they tire of splashing or swimming in the safe, waveless ocean water, they can head to the beach's north end and play in the new playground featuring climbing, sliding, swinging and jumping equipment. If they get bored or overheated, the water is just steps away, as is the cool calming effect of bordering grass/shade tree areas where they can enjoy a snack, a sip or a nap. FYI, there’s usually an ice cream truck parked in the parking lot. Just sayin’.