Wednesday are normally our nature study, at least during the summer. But it is summer so that means it is time for fun too! Instead of a hike, or hanging at the beach, we hit Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach instead. Cost of admission is $3/child, adults are free.
If you haven’t heard of adventure playground, your missing out. This isn’t your traditional playground. When I was little I lovingly referred to this as the mud park. I really do love being able to share my fond childhood places with my own children. This park is only open during the summer and you’ll see in a minute while I called it the mud park.
Adventure Playground is recommended for ages 5-12 and it’s pretty right on for the ages. I did bring Green Bubbles last year but I wouldn’t do much younger then 4. Little Miss stayed home and although Megatron got to come along, he stayed in the ergo the entire time. There’s a lot of things that toddlers can get hurt with that older children wouldn’t have a problem with. And if you go, make sure your prepared to get wet and dirty. Bring an extra set of clothes for your kids, including shoes. Oh, and speaking of shoes, everyone is required to wear tennis shoes here. No sandals, flip flops, water shoes, etc.
The first area is the fort building area. They have 4 different tree forts built for the kids to climb up into, one specifically just for older kids! Kids are allowed to check out a hammer and are given 3 nails. There’s no fee for this. If they want more then 3 nails they have to earn them! Pick up 4 pieces of trash, or two bent nails to earn another nail. What a brilliant rule! It keeps the park clean, and discarded nails are less likely to be stepped on. For older kids they are able to check out a saw as well. While Green Bubbles isn’t old enough for that, he did enjoy hammering things. The picture above was him making a ramp on the side of the tree house.
And here he is building his cross, plus sign, ‘T’ and, a car. At one point he named it all of these things. He’s still to small to actually hammer the nails himself. I nailed them most of the way in for him, as carefully as I could with a baby strapped to me, and let him do the rest. He did hit his thumb once but shook it off. He’s gotten really sensitive to things like that lately so I was very proud of him for not letting it stop him from doing something he really liked.
There’s also a rope bridge the kids can cross over the water. If they fall it isn’t a big deal. The water is really shallow and, at the deepest sections, only goes to Green Bubbles’ hips. This one was out of order last year so it was his first time crossing it. He can be overly cautious about things so I was surprised that he not only tried it, but really enjoyed it and did it multiple times this day.
Green Bubbles favorite activity is the mud slide though! The kids line up and climb some stairs built into a steep hill. Employees of the park stand at the top with a garden hose and just run water down this tarp slide. At the bottom is a little muddy water pit that kids dive into. Some kids make giant splashes and actually go under the water but, as mentioned above, Green Bubbles is pretty cautious. He goes pretty slowly down this slide and just drops gently into the pool at the bottom. The slide opens and closes throughout the day and every time they announced it’s opening Green Bubbles was one of the first in line.
My favorite is the rafts! I love watching the kids on the rafts. It reminds me of Huckleberry Finn. The kids line up (or adults, but if you put to much weight on a raft it will sink!), and when it’s their turn they get to walk into the water to their awaiting raft. They use those long poles to push themselves around on the pond. Although Green Bubbles really likes to ‘lose’ his pole in the water and pretend he is stranded and awaits one of his friends to rescue him.
Some general tips I’ve learned:
1) They are serious about the tennis shoes. I’ve seen them turn people away!
2) Don’t forget clean underwear, and socks if your changing them into another pair of tennis shoes.
3) It opens at 10am and we always get there right at opening. It gets crowded around lunch time with various summer day camps coming to visit. A lot of kids without a lot of adult supervision is our que to check out.
4) If you have littles, keep them at home. There were some 3 year olds here from a day camp that I saw, but they didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves at all. One of them cried the entire time on the raft, they were to afraid to go down the slide, and the building area just wasn’t very safe for them. Give it a year or two. This park has been here since I was a kid in the 80’s at least, it’s not going anywhere yet.