Playgrounds have taken on new heights in Ontario County, and it’s time for everyone to get out there and check them all out. Kids – ages – well – whatever age are sure to find a playground or two suited for them in the heart of the Finger Lakes.
Recently, my grandchildren have been visiting from out of state, and they have given our playgrounds some rave reviews! And, I’m proud to say, so can I. This blog features seven playgrounds, but it’s really meant to just tease you into coming to Ontario County in the Finger Lakes with your family. Sure, we’re known for our great lake vacations, but there’s so much more to really keep you busy. Quite honestly, these parks and playgrounds are just a couple more reasons that this is such a great place to live, work, and play.
Here is my summary of playground hopping with my grandchildren. I encourage you to share your experiences on these playgrounds or others that may be your favorites. Visit the Parks & Playgrounds page on our website to see a list of playground choices – and, of course, we always welcome your pictures and thoughts on your favorites.
It’s rare that we rank anything, but we have to give this brand-new playground the number one ranking! Besides looking at these quick pictures, just Google it or check out Facebook, and you’ll find rave reviews. Motion Junction is at Outhouse Park West. It’s an inclusive playground where everyone has a voice and a choice. It opened in June of 2022, and it’s “amazing.” There are no steps, no wood chips, no obstacles, just a lot of fun according to one Facebook post.
Check out these pictures, and you’ll see all the smiles. From the zipline to the multi-sensory map, to a little girl making sure her baby doll gets a special ride, this is truly a park with a heart. I especially like the buddy bench concept, and this sign says it all about the intent of this park – Inclusion!
This playground is really the opportunity for a total experience. From walking along the lake to taking the helm on the replica steamboat next to the vineyards, the Welcome Center has first-class facilities. The pluses are NY Market, an adjacent park, wonderful restrooms, and an easy walking/biking path along the lakefront. Keep walking to the west and in front of the 41 Lakefront Hotel, and then to Long Pier Ice Cream and then to the Geneva Community Lakefront Park & Playground.
I loved seeing this little pink bike and watching the girl swing freely through the “spider web.”
For the toddlers, you may be wondering where to go. Well, the schools are always a safe bet – in more ways than one. For my less than two-year-old granddaughter, her favorite is the neighborhood – West Street School Playground. What kid doesn’t like a turning wheel and a pretend to drive, or a quick and easy slide?
Sometimes it's good to go back to the basics. This small community park offers lakefront, trees, and a simple swinging and climbing device. When I was here, it was early in the morning, so I didn’t see any kids yet, but everything was ready to go. This is a good, simple – “run-their-energy-out” kind of playground.
My grandchildren give each of the playgrounds I take them to their own name, so this one they call the “climbing playground.” The play elements are incorporated into a hillside at the elementary school playground. This means lots of sliding down or climbing up and across. Here, you can see the kids getting a little boost of energy and courage from their parents as they master the ropes, the heights, and the speed!
Canandaigua’s school playground has been nicknamed “the slides” playground. Here, you’ll see an overview and some big smiles on the kids' faces. There’s also an exercise course next to these, and if they get weary of sliding (which is rare), they can explore the exercise course!
A perennial favorite of all of my grandchildren remains what they call the "Pirate Park." This is also located at Outhouse Park in Canandaigua. Another ship or two have been added to this recently – and they have fun “walking the plank” and jumping (of course), bouncing, and using the call-out system from one area to another. Various ages can enjoy the different ships – and parents (and grandparents) have plenty of seating around this area and turn it into a social gathering spot. Sometimes, it’s location, location, location, and this is the case for the Pirate Playground, which is in the overhead path of the planes leaving Canandaigua’s small airport. The kids' eyes turn to the sky to look at the planes passing overhead, and that’s an added bonus of entertainment from Outhouse Park.
Oh, I know there are more and more and more, and just like our lakes, each playground has its own personality and its own fan club. We’d love it if you will submit your own pics or videos of your favorite little ones at their favorite playground or park in Ontario County. Tag them #flxperience and #visitFLX so that we notice them!
P.S. Don’t forget if it’s raining or a bit too cold – head inside to Dick’s House of Sports at Eastview. This is a great place to shoot some hoops, lace up the skates, and climb the wall – literally. You don’t have to just sit on the couch when it’s not ideal weather, get inside and explore, too!
For some more good old-fashioned fun – don’t forget Roseland Family Fun Center. It’s more than bowling, it’s laser tag, and it’s bumper cars, and it’s wall tag. Roseland is guaranteed fun – no matter the weather outside!