by Chris Sekirnjak
As you probably know, the Denver metro area is blessed with over 600 public playgrounds, big and small, old and new, exciting and mundane. Here are five of my favorite underused, largely unknown play areas. Chances are you have never heard of these parks, but they are all well worth a visit even if you live miles away. Happy exploring!
1. Ralston-Central Park
Built in 2014, this playground resembles a deep forest. Logs, trees, mushrooms, and boulders are everywhere, and the color dark green dominates. The huge colorful sprayground makes summer days so much more fun; the park also offers an adjacent creek, a memorial garden, and a spacious picnic area.
Location: Garrison St & Ralston Rd, Arvada.
2. Arvada Volunteer Fire Fighters Park
Fire engine red is the only color at this 2012 playground, from slides and swings to picnic benches and trash cans. A super-tall tube slide, spinners, a play fire truck, and lots of climbing ladders round out the fireman theme here. Come and have a firefighting experience!
Location: 8990 W 84th Ave, Arvada
3. Carpenter Park
This superb playground was constructed in 2013 and truly offers something for everyone. In addition to the 10 swings, 8 slides, and 6 spinners, the play area includes a merry-go-round, a rocking boat, and sliding bars. The sprayground features spouts and fountains and lights up at night. On summer weekends, there are pedal boat rentals on the adjacent lake, as well as a full-sized carousel. Come play!
Location: Madison St & 112th Ave, Thornton
4. Westlands Park
Westlands has undergone several rounds of updates, most recently in 2000. Its three spacious play areas feature a village of play houses, unique sculptures, a hanging seesaw, and a slide built into the hillside. There is a tall observation tower, a nearby pond and splash area, and a flower garden. This is a great example of an older yet top-notch playground in a beautiful park.
Location: 5701 S Quebec St, Greenwood Village
5. Westminster Center Park
Built in 2010, this park surprises with a London theme, complete with the River Thames, Tower Bridge, and Big Ben. Artificial trees, boulders, and log tunnels add climbing challenges, and the many water features in this park are great for cooling down in the summer.
Location: W 93rd Ave & Xavier St, Westminster