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Unique NJ Playgrounds to Visit this Spring

The latest update for Unique NJ Playgrounds to Visit this Spring is written by Lindsay Podolak.

What better way to get fresh air and admission-free fun than a trip to the playground? While the traditional playground on the corner may be suitable for a quick stopover, New Jersey is also home to some imaginative and day trip-worthy places that break the mold from garden-variety swings and slides.

These stand-out play areas offer innovative features such as water play, zip lines and even animals. The best part of all is that these playgrounds are all free. If you haven’t been to the following extraordinary spots, add them to your family to-do list now.

More From Best of NJ

Van Saun County Park


Where: 216 Forest Avenue, Paramus
Unique Features: Splash pad, carousel, train, zoo, dog park
Details: You’ll never run out of things to do when visiting this theme park-like recreation area, which houses the Bergen County Zoological Park. Multiple playgrounds, which include a splash pad and sand pit, provide oodles of fun for various age groups. When you’re ready for some ride action, climb aboard the carousel or train, which actually circles the zoo. While the playground and splash pad are free, please note that there is a fee for the zoo and rides.
Why I like it: For the animal lovers, the park also offers pony rides for a small fee.
More info: Visit the website or click here to call.

Dorbrook Recreation Area


Where: 353 County Route 537, Colts Neck
Unique Features: Two multi-faceted spray areas for younger and older visitors
Details: New Jersey’s original water playground is still the biggest and best, in my humble opinion. The fenced-in Sprayground features overhead buckets, shooting water spouts and a water activity table. Adults can relax at shaded tables within the water park. When you’re ready for some dry fun, check out the Challenger Place playground for all abilities which includes three large play structures, a sand box and wheelchair-accessible soft surfaces. Please note that the Sprayground is open daily from mid-May through early September.
Why I like it: No child is left out at Challenger Place. Besides being wheelchair accessible, the signs are written in Braille for the visually-impaired.
More info: Visit the website or click here to call.

Merrill Park


Where: Intersection of Fairview Avenue and Middlesex Essex Turnpike, Woodbridge Township
Unique Features: Animal haven, progressive playground
Details: It’s a playground and (free) zoo all rolled into one fun park. The main playground consists of imaginative climbing structures, including a rope bridge and bucket swings, made from wood and tires, while smaller, traditional playgrounds exist throughout the property. Stroll over the pedestrian bridge, and visit horses, goats, pigs and chickens in the animal haven. In addition, the park also includes a track and pretzel vendors.
Why I like it: This park truly is a community venture. The town, schools, community groups and local businesses fund and maintain the playground.
More info: Visit the website or click here to call.

Kidstreet Playground


Where: 700 Garretson Road, Bridgewater
Unique Features: Zip line, pirate ship, giant slide, rope swings
Details: This enormous playground, completely comprised of wood and tires, is hands-down one of the most unique and creative play areas around. The kids will love flying through the air on the zip line and rope swings, as well as swinging on a giant multi-tire swing. Little ones can play pretend on the wooden car, airplane, train and ship. My personal favorite part of the park is the giant and super-fast slippery slide. More Kidstreet adventures include a rubber obstacle course, sandbox and swinging gazebo.
Why I like it: No food or drink allowed in the park means it’s safe for children with food allergies, plus it stays clean without any litter.
More info: Give them a call.

Tony’s Place at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park


Where: 221 Ocean Avenue North, Long Branch
Unique Features: Proximity to beach, inclusive
Details: Catch ocean views and breezes at Tony’s Place playground. The wheelchair-accessible, beach-themed play area features slides, a swinging boat, a saucer swing, climbing rocks, tunnels, a pirate ship, musical instruments and even a piece of the beach for sand play. Make a day of your visit to Tony’s by stopping at Seven Presidents beach, plus the shops and restaurants at Pier Village. Please note that there is a parking fee post-Memorial Day.
Why I like it: Older kids can check out the nearby Skateplex for skateboarding and inline-skating. A new concrete street course features floating ramps, stairs, planters and stainless steel grind rails, plus the bowl.
More info: Visit the website or click here to call.

Regatta Playground

Where: Cherry Lane, West Orange
Unique Features: Waterfront, paddle boats, near Turtle Back Zoo
PlaygroundsDetails: This nautical-themed property is part of the fun-filled South Mountain Recreation Complex. The enclosed playground lies on a soft foam ground and features climbing rocks, spinners, obstacle courses, swings, seesaws, and a giant pirate ship in the middle. If you need a little break, kick back in the park’s comfy Adirondack chairs. Directly next to the playground is a scenic, waterfront walking path with swan boats available for rent. Follow the path to check out all South Mountain Recreation has to offer, including Turtle Back Zoo, Safari Mini Golf, and Codey Arena.
Why I like it: Make a day of it by packing a lunch or dining at McLoone’s Boathouse. This restaurant has a wide variety of delicious selections, including a traditional children’s menu.
More info: Visit the website or click here to call.

Holmdel Park


Where: 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel
Unique Features: Farm with animals, duck pond, hiking paths
Details: A trip to Holmdel Park is always a treat with its playground and farmhouse all in one sprawling park. In fact, the park continues to delight young visitors with its modern, renovated play areas; plus Historic Longstreet Farm, a working 19th century farmhouse, with pigs, chickens, horses, cows and other farm friends. The grand park also features a duck pond and hiking trails.
Why I like it: This park is perfect for winter fun, too. Sledding and ice-skating are permitted in safe conditions.
More info: Visit the website or click here to call.

Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Sergey Novikov / Adobe Stock
Additional Images (in Order) Courtesy:
Bergen County Zoo / Facebook
Laurie Rein / Best of NJ
Middlesex County / Website
Laurie Rein / Best of NJ
Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park / Facebook
Monmouth County / Website
Jennifer Battista / Best of NJ
Jennifer Battista / Best of NJ

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