The sun is out! Time to get out and play at a Mercer Island playground near you!
Did you know that there are over 10 playgrounds on the island? And that’s not even counting playgrounds at our local schools. It’s no wonder that Mercer Island has been recognized for 10 consecutive years as a “Playful City USA” by children’s non-profit KaBOOM! Here’s the scoop on our most popular as well as our best-kept-secret playgrounds on Mercer Island:
1. Luther Burbank Park Playground
Find Mercer Island’s largest playground at Luther Burbank Park, an expansive north-end park with trails, tennis courts, public boating dock, fishing pier, and an off-leash dog park. In 2013, this playground was completely rebuilt with modern new equipment, safety surfacing, a zip line, merry-go-round, climbing web, and more. The Mercer Island Preschool Association contributed $97,000 toward the playground project in partnership with the Mercer Island Parks & Recreation Department. There is also a fire-truck play structure near the swimming beach and south parking lot. 2040 84th Ave SE
2. Playground at Mercerdale Park, aka “Train Park”
The playground at Mercerdale Park, also known as “Train Park,” is one of the island’s most popular. It’s an easy walk from Town Center. Many families stop to play after the Mercer Island Farmers Market or other community events, such as Summer Celebration, MIHS Homecoming Parade, or concerts in the park. Bring bikes, trikes, scooters, and wagons to ride around the paved walking path that circles Mercerdale Park. 77th Ave SE & SE 32nd St
3. First Hill Park Playground
The playground on First Hill is one of Mercer Island’s best kept secrets. Nestled among soaring Evergreens, this playground is aptly named “First Hill Tree House.” The highlight of this playground is a long slide down a slope on the park’s south side. It will delight kids big and small, especially during the fall when they can land in a big pile of leaves. SE 32nd St & 72nd Ave SE
4. Playgrounds at Aubrey Davis Park (“The Lid”)
Aubrey Davis Park, also known as “Park on the Lid,” is an expansive park built on top of I-90 to protect the neighborhood from freeway disturbances. It is also home to two playgrounds, an “East” and a “West” playground. The “East” playground is located next to Feroglia baseball fields and a picnic shelter. The “West” playground is located next to basketball courts and a large grassy lawn and is a big larger with a Safari theme. Both feature new, interactive equipment and are just a 5-10 minute walk from each other by a well-maintained paved walking path that extends through the park. 72nd Ave SE & SE 22nd St
5. Deane’s Children’s Park, aka “Dragon Park”
The playground and sculptural dragon in Deane’s Children’s Park are among the most beloved play spaces on Mercer Island. Generations of children who grew up on the island fondly remember playing at Dragon Park. In 2013, the dragon was replaced by a new, larger sculpture by the original artist, Kenton Pies. There is a slide off the dragon’s tail, and children can climb across its back and into its belly through its mouth or side openings. Kids will also have fun playing on the castle playground as well as on swings and a climbing rock nearby. This is a great park to play at during hot summer days since the park’s forest setting is cool and shady. 5500 Island Crest Way
6. Playground at Homestead Park
This is another newer playground on Mercer Island and is a fun stop for families who may be visiting Homestead field for soccer and baseball practices and games. This playground features a “tree-house” theme, a scavenger hunt, and play houses for fun, imaginative play. 82nd Ave SE & SE 40th St
7. Playground at South Mercer Playfields, aka “Rainbow Park”
The playground at South Mercer Playfields, known as “Rainbow Park,” is a popular south-end playground. It is an older structure (swings have recently been removed), but still attracts lots of kids and families, especially during baseball season. Kids love the long tunnel rainbow slide and the purple dinosaur rocking toy. In the summer, pick blackberries from the brambles that create a massive hedge next to the playground. SE 78th St & 84th Ave SE
8. Playground at Groveland Beach Park
This playground can be found halfway down the path to the beach at Groveland Park. It’s a great feature of this beach park and is another fun diversion when kids want a break from the sun and swimming. The playground offers an advantage for visiting this westside beach park over Clarke Beach Park, located on the east side, which does not have a playground. SE 58th St & 80th Ave SE
9. Playground at Roanoke Park
Yo-ho, let’s go! Little sailors and pirates will love this nautical-themed playground located in Roanoke Park on the north end of Mercer Island. This is a small but fun playground for imaginative play. 70th Ave SE & West Mercer Way
10. Secret Park Playground
Shhh, don’t tell anyone. Secret Park is a great little playground tucked away in Mercer Island’s East Seattle neighborhood. The playground has a slide and climbing wall, spinning seats for dizzy play, swings, and various interactive features. SE 27th St & West Mercer Way
For a map and more park & playground details, download this handy Parks Guide (large PDF file), created by Mercer Island Parks & Recreation Department.
What is your favorite playground on Mercer Island? Please share in the comments.