Ziplines, dragons, and more: Unusual toys at Eastside playgrounds

The Eastside is filled with great public spaces, from trails to beaches to forests. Whereever you may be on the Eastside, there is most likely a park or playground very close by. But what if you are looking for something just a little bit different? How about a zip line or a dragon? If you want to find a place for your kids to play that is not just the typical slide-swings-climber playground, there are some wonderfully fun alternatives. Here are a few.

“Dragon” Park on Mercer Island

On Mercer Island, one of the most popular parks is known as “Dragon” Park, although it’s actual name is the Deane Children’s Park. Nestled into a large wooded area next to the Island Crest Park, this park features three play areas, plus its namesake, the dragon. The dragon is a cement creature about 15 feet long that kids can crawl through and on. The nearby play structure is a castle, to go along with the medieval theme, but the giant green dragon is really the main attraction.

          Deane’s Children Park
5600 Island Crest Way, Mercer Island, WA


Hillaire Park in Bellevue

If you have a kid that likes to spin, then the toys at Hillaire Park in Bellevue could be right up her alley. This park has a play area with lots of toys that rotate. There is a cup to sit in that spins (beware- grownups have been caught spinning in this kid-sized cup, unable to save themselves!); a spinning set of metal bars to stand on; and an unusual spinning disk, about the size of a kitchen table- think of an Aerobee-style frisbee with kids sitting on it. All these toys will set your head… spinning.

          Hillaire Park
15803 NE 6th Street, Bellevue, WA

“Castle” Park in Kirkland

North Rose Hill Woodlands Park is a kid favorite in Kirkland, for good reason, although most people know it simply as the “Castle” Park. Designed by the community, it features a beautiful play structure shaped like a giant castle. It has a full-sized tire swing, lots of places to hide, and it is nestled next to an amazing nature park. All of that makes this park worth the trip. But what little kids often love the most are the bouncy bridges. Made of a rubber instead of the traditional wooden slats on most playgrounds, these bridges are great fun to just jump up and down on. Of course, the rest of the park is fantastic, too, so no matter what kind of kid you have, there will be something to do.

          North Rose Hill Woodlands Park
9930 124th Ave NE, Kirkland, WA

Wilburton Hill Park in Bellevue
Wilburton Hill Park is part of the beautiful Lake to Lake Trail system in Bellevue, just a few minutes walk away from the Botanical Gardens. This park, tucked away into the forested area of the trails, has playfieds, swings, and climbing structures. What makes this park unique is the zipline. Kids can climb onto a swing, give themselves a push, and away they go, down about 30 feet of wire, as fast as they can. It doesn’t get high off the ground- all it takes to stop is a simple foot to the dirt. But with a little speed, this can really feel like flying. And the great part? Adults can do it, too!

          Wilburton Hill Park
12400 Main Street, Bellevue, WA

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