A Selection of Hamden and New Haven Playgrounds
There are many playgrounds in the area, and we're discovering more regularly. (And we've recently discovered that playgrounds are still usable in the winter -- just watch out for how fast snow-pants make the slides!)
Here is a subset of what is available.
The Biggest and the Best
- Larry's Playground at Bassett Park is the summer, fair-weather home of the Round the World Women playgroup. It is at the corner of Waite and Ridge Road in Hamden, on the
M bus line (J is good, too). The park is extensive, featuring several softball fields, basketball hoops, and bathrooms. The playground itself has several areas, including a sandbox (with donated toys already there), a gazebo used for evening concerts over the summer, and a few different play structures, including one for younger kids. Note that the playground is not fully fenced.
- DeNicola Park is on
Treadwell Street in southern Hamden, just over the city line north of New Haven. It is right on the O bus line and near the
J bus line up Whitney Avenue. The playground was renovated in 2001 and is in great shape. It features several different play structures, including one for younger kids. The centerpiece of the playground is a wooden train engine. The playground area is fully fenced, but the several gates tend to be open, particularly when the Good Humor truck rolls around. The park also has basketball hoops and a cinder walking track. There is a portable toilet in warmer months. Some people prefer DeNicola Park to Larry's Playground, at least on hot days, because DeNicola is nestled in pine trees and is much shadier.
- Hannah's Dream is a huge playground in the huge East Shore Park, not to be confused with East Rock Park. Both are in New Haven, but Hannahs' Dream is in the eastern part of New Haven, across a bit of water. It feels like a different city and far away, but the access is by the highway, so it takes no time to get there; take 95N to exit 50 (the second exit across the bridge), immediately onto Woodward Avenue for 1 mile south. The entrance is at the corner of Hervey Street. The park can also be reached by the G bus line that goes down Townsend Avenue to Lighthouse Park. East Shore Park has an ice rink, tennis courts, access to the water, and several playing fields. Hannah's Dream includes a sandbox (bring your own toys), several swing stations, and several play structures, including half a dozen slides. One section is for younger kids. There is a portable toilet in warmer months. Note that the park is not fully fenced and that Woodward Avenue is busy.
- Edgewood Park is another extensive park with all sorts of features, including walking trails and a skate park. The playground is
just north of Chapel Street along Ella T. Grasso Boulevard, on the F bus line. There are several play structures and swing installations. Most of the structures are geared toward older kids, but there is a separate toddler "room". There is a also a separate water park that kids can splash in during warm weather.
- Mill Rock Park in Hamden features a playground. It's near the Middle School, at the
intersection of Mill Rock Road and Winchester and on the O bus line. The playground is fairly large, with several separate installations. The structures are in good shape, but they've been sprayed with graffiti, and I have spotted some broken glass around. There are also several large running-around-like-maniacs fields.
- East Rock Park actually offers two playgrounds. The better-known one is in the large field bounded by Orange, Livingston, and Cold Spring Street, near the M bus line. It has separate swing-sets and a fully-fenced playground. There is a bathroom building. This playground was renovated in the Fall of 2002 to the new, happy-plastic standards. The lesser-known playground is next to the softball fields along English Drive and near the access trail to the top of East Park. It is smaller and was updated somewhat earlier.
Lighthouse Park is famous for its beach and its old-style carousel. There's an extensive new playground that replaces the old, wooden structures that I hadn't paid much attention to. With the new structures and a fabulous new water park, Lighthouse Park becomes a real destination (there's a $10/car entry sometimes for non-residents). There are bathrooms, with the level of cleanliness one usually associates with beach facilities.
Several local schools in
have good playgrounds which can be used when school is not in session -- which means most of the time, when weekends, evenings, holidays, and summers are added up. Note that most lack the toddler swings with bucket seats.
- The Hooker School playground is tucked behind the school, a small brick building at the corner of Canner and Livingston, near the J bus line. There's not much to this playground, but it is one of the few in the East Rock area and attracts a cluster of families in the late afternoon.
- St. Rita's is in the Spring Glen part of Hamden and has a large playground. It's behind the school, off Whitney on Gilles, near the J bus line. There is a separate "tot lot" on the Whitney side of the building, not visible from the parking lot. Note: no swings at all.
Some Hidden Playgrounds
- Wooster Square Park has a great expanse of green space and lots of squirrels, but no playground. There is one on the next street, though, on Wooster Street near Olive (use the Chapel Street bus lines). It's small but well-designed, and it was just completed in 2001.
- A playground at the corner of Humphrey and East was updated in June 2002. This playground is very close to the dense East Rock neighborhood, but it is hidden by the I-91 overpass. It offers a small toddler structure and a separate, general structure. The two together have six slides, including two of the steepest ones anywhere. There are no swings.
St. Ann's playground is not hidden at all. It is in plain view, but in that far-off, western, nebulous area forming the border between Hamden and New Haven. Despite its name, it's not a private playground for a religious school but one of the sites of the Hamden Parks and Recreation department. The playground is on Pine Rock Avenue, near Arch. It is small, but clean and well-organized. The area also offers baseball fields. There are warm-weather portable toilets.
- New Haven has its own web site for parks, but it doesn't list playgrounds.
- Hamden similarly has a web site listing parks and recreational resources. Kids will certainly be interested in some of the activities, but the page is missing playgrounds.
Last updated: 06 June 2005
Related pages on this site:
Some Good Events Coming Up,
Where to Find Events and Activities.