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Parks & Playgrounds heading

Below are some favorite parks and playgrounds. For photos and a mom's commentary about many more, visit New Jersey Playgrounds. If you have a park or playground to recommend, please email kids@kidsguidenj.com.

For universal parks and playgrounds, see additional listings under Special Needs Playgrounds.

Bergen County, NJ Playgrounds Monmouth County, NJ Playgrounds
Essex County, NJ Playgrounds Morris County, NJ Playgrounds
Hunterdon County, NJ Playgrounds Somerset County, NJ Playgrounds
Mercer County, NJ Playgrounds Union County, NJ Playgrounds

BERGEN COUNTY, NJ PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS

Lyndhurst Town Park
367 Valley Brook Ave., Lyndhurst, 201-804-2482. Spray park, swings, plastic playground structure on soft surface and site for summer "Music under the Stars" concert series.

Van Saun Park
216 Forest Ave. (Rt. 4E to Forest Ave., turn right at exit), Paramus, 201-262-3771. Playground with multiple-age play areas, sprinkler, picnic areas, zoo, train ride and carousel. See listing for Bergen County Zoo.

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ESSEX COUNTY, NJ PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS

Kip’s Castle Park-Essex County Park
22 Crestmont Rd., Montclair, 973-268-3500. Estate grounds open dawn to dusk. April-Oct.: Castle open for first floor self-guided tours Mon.-Thurs. 12-4. The former estate of Frederic Ellsworth Kip is Essex County's newest park encompassing a 9,000 square foot mansion that replicates a medieval Norman castle and 11 acres on the ridge of First Mountain with spectacular views of New York City. The park will become the County's premiere cultural resource center as county offices, public meeting space, museum space and educational programs are developed.

Littell People’s Park
Memorial Park, Wahler Rd., Livingston. Ramps, rings, ladders and slides on woodchip surface within fenced area; sandbox.

Meadowland Park
N. Ridgewood Rd., South Orange, 973-378-7754. Large park with vast fields, tennis courts, platform tennis, playground, duck pond and the Baird Center housing the South Orange art gallery and recreation department. Site of summer outdoor jazz concerts and community events.

Regatta Playground
South Mountain Reservation, Cherry Lane, West Orange, 973-731-5800. Nautical-themed playground next to Orange Reservoir (fenced) includes slides, swings, bouncy bridges, climbing areas, spiderwebs, seesaws and a spiral spinner atop a soft, rubber surface and Astroturf. Two- and four person swan paddle boats, walking paths and picnic pavilion are all part of the complex. Parking is available across the street or by McLoone's on Northfield Ave. and walk to the park along the paved pathway. Call 973-735-6229 to reserve picnic pavilion.

Taylor Park
Main St., Millburn. Fenced in playground, ballfields, walking/strolling trails, duck pond, tennis courts, teen center, basketball courts, site for summer concerts.

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HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS

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MERCER COUNTY, NJ PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS

Marquandt Park
Parking lot on Lovers Lane (between Mercer Rd. & Rt. 206), Princeton. 17-acre park-arboretum features mostly paved walking trails through woodlands, forest glades and open park land. Playground, picnic area, ballfield and large sandpit with toys.

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MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS

Dorbrook Recreation Area Sprayground-Monmouth County Park
209 Rt. 537E (GSP exit 109), Colts Neck, 732-460-1167 ext. 22. Open from 11am Mon.-Fri. and 10am weekends and holidays mid-May-early Sept. Closes 7:30pm May-July and 7pm Aug.-Sept. Large fenced water playground, umbrellas provide shaded seating. Camps and groups serving individuals with disabilities can visit 9-11am with reservations.

Holmdel Park–Monmouth County Park
44 Longstreet Rd. (GSP exit 114), Holmdel, 732-946-9562. 565-acre site features two playgrounds, 10 miles of trails including a half-mile paved loop, picnic areas, fishing pond, cross country course, four tennis courts, arboretum and Historic Longstreet Farm (see listing under Historic Sites).

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MORRIS COUNTY, NJ PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS

Community Playground of Montville
130 Changebridge Rd., Montville, 973-331-3305. Large fenced, farm-themed playground with separate play areas, six athletic fields, bocce courts, horseshoe pits, basketball courts, picnic pavilion with barbecue grills, community garden plots and restrooms available.

Hedden County Park-Morris County Park
Reservoir Rd., Dover, Randolph & Mine Hill, 973-829-8257. Six-acre lake, ballfields, hiking and biking trails, picnic sites and shelter, Indian Falls and playground.

Lewis Morris Park-Morris County Park
Rt. 24 West, Mendham, Morris and Harding Twp., 973-326-7600. Daily 8am-dusk. 1,154 acres, adjacent to Jockey Hollow. Saturn Kids Kingdom in Doe Meadow features a wood and plastic climbing structure with slides, rings, rope ladder on woodchip surface. Picnic areas nearby along with miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, parcourse fitness circuit, ballfields and Sunrise Lake.

Loantaka Brook Reservation-Morris County Park
Morris Township, 973-326-7600. Dawn to dusk. Access trail from Loantaka Way, Kitchell Road, Green Village Road or South St. Five mile paved recreation/bicycle trail from Green Village Rd. in Chatham Township to Seaton Hackney Stables in Morristown. Duck pond at Kitchell Rd. with picnic areas, small playground, ballfields. Playground at South St., also with picnic area and ballfields.

Lurker Park

East Hanover. Tot lot features handicapped-accessible swings and two jungle gyms, one for smaller children.

Riverside Park
Valley Rd., Gillette, 908-647-8000. 24-acre site includes three tennis courts, basketball, bocci and horsesehoe courts, children's playground designed for ages 2-5, two soccer/lacrosse fields, walking paths, canoe launch and picnic grove at the Passaic River. Restrooms available.

Roxbury Imagination Station
Horseshoe Lake, 78 Eyeland Ave., Succasunna. Fenced-in fortress of wood includes an ocean vessel, towering rocket ship, climbing nets, bridges, stairways and monkey bars and two rock-climbing walls appropriate for younger and older age groups. Separate preschool area includes a doll house, locomotive train slide, rocking horses, swings and four-seat seesaw. Tire swing, music elements, seating and picnic tables available. Also baseball, softball, soccer fields, volleyball courts, basketball courts and paved walkway around the lake.

Schooley’s Mountain Park-Morris County Park
Camp Washington Rd., Long Valley, 908-829-8257. Lake, ballfield, picnic areas, hiking trails, mountain biking and fishing.

Shunpike Park

Shunpike Rd., Chatham Twp. Soccer, baseball fields and basketball court. Castle climbing and play structure, swings, slide and rope climb.

Tourne Park-Morris County Park
40 McCaffrey Ln. or Old Denville Rd., Boonton Twp. & Denville, 973-326-7600. 500 acre-park includes a bird sanctuary, wildflower trail, ballfield, family picnic areas, group picnic shelter, playground and trail system with picturesque overlook.

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SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS

Colonial Park-Somerset County Park
Off of Amwell Rd., Franklin. 651-acre park with picnic areas, softball, tennis center, putting course, paddle boats, gardens, and leash-free dog area. Playground features barrier-free equipment.

Duke Island Park–Somerset County Park
Old York Rd., Bridgewater. 339-acre park along the North Branch of the Raritan River features picnic areas, prime fishing, softball, bandshell, walking trails, and visitor center. Playground features barrier free equipment.

KidStreet
Claude Dr. at Garretson Rd. & Commons Way, Bridgewater. Large wooden play and climbing structure.

Lepp Park
21 Park Ave., Somerville, 908-704-6985. Splash pad and spray park, covered picnic tables, softball field, basketball court, playground, and green space next to the Peters Brook Greenway Bike Path extension. Wading pool is open to residents only.

North Branch Park-Somerset County Park
Milltown Rd., Bridgewater. 185-acre park along the North Branch of the Raritan River is home to the Somerset County Park Commission administrative offices. Picnic areas, prime fishing, large fields provide space for soccer, softball, flying model aircraft and launching model rockets. Playground features swings, slides, suspension bridge, bars and rings.

Pleasant Valley Park

Valley Rd., Bernards Township. Large, pretty park features wood playground with open climbing structure, pond, picnic shelter, walking/bicycle trails, tennis and paddle tennis courts, fitness trail, athletic fields, amphitheater and community pool.

White Oak Park
Baird Rd., Branchburg, 908-526-1300. 127-acre park features soccer/lacrosse fields, baseball/softball fields, batting cages, tennis courts, practice wall, basektball court, sand volleyball courts, 1.5 mile walking/jogging path, nature trails, playgrounds, wooden tot lot, pavilion, picnic tables, campfire ring, pond, restrooms and concession stand.

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UNION COUNTY, NJ PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS

Brookside Park
Hetfield Ave., Scotch Plains. Baseball field, basketball court, preschool playground, picnic area, field house, roller hockey, pond with trail.

Columbia Park
Plainfield Ave., Berkeley Heights. Ballfields, basketball courts, shuffleboard court, ice rink, practice handball-tennis board, 6 tennis courts, skate park. Children's playground and separate toddler playground. Picnic tables.

Echo Lake Park-Union County Park

Springfield Ave., Mountainside, 908-527-4900. Playground, picnic area, large field provides space for soccer and softball, fitness trail, fishing, seasonal paddleboat rentals, paved walkway along the linear lake, fenced in Dog Park and amphitheater, site of summer concert series.

Esposito Park–Union County Park
659 Madison Hill Rd., Clark, 908-527-4900. 13-acre space includes large playground on soft surface, skate park, walking path, fitness stations, two tennis courts, softball/soccer field, shady picnic areas, park benches and restrooms.

Mabie Playground
26 Elm St., Summit, 908-277-2932. Preschool playground with mulch, basketball courts, bocce ball courts, horseshoe pits and game tables across from the train station, a short walk from downtown Summit.

Memorial Field
Ashland Ave., Summit. Climbing structure with slides, swings, benches, paved walks for bike riding and rollerblading, tennis courts and backboard, basketball, ballfields, kite flying, picnic tables.

Mindowaskin Park
Downtown Westfield. Scenic park with walking/strolling trail around duck pond, playground and bandstand.

Nomahegan Park-Union County Park
Springfield Ave., Cranford, 908-527-4900. Paved bike/jogging/walking path, fitness circuit, playground, ballfields, pond, picnic area and rest rooms.

Ponderosa Farm Park–Union County Park
1600 Cooper Rd., Scotch Plains, 908-527-4900. 22-acre former farmland features plastic farm-themed playground on soft rubber surface, swings, spray fountains, walking trails, two athletic fields, shady picnic area and restrooms.

Snyder Avenue Park
Snyder Ave., Berkeley Heights. Lighted multi-purpose turf field, baseball fields, fenced playground features new equipment on soft, rubber surface and sprinkler play area.

Watchung Reservation-Union County Park
The Loop, Watchung Reservation, Mountainside, 908-527-4900. Play and climbing structure with slides, misting devices, soft-impact rubber surfacing and wheelchair-­accessible equipment. Open fields, picnic sites (with grills), trails nearby including a trail to Trailside Nature & Science Center and Museum.

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