Updated March, 2017
Fort Steilacoom Park is home to a popular playground that probably doesn’t need a review, but since I managed to tote my camera on our most recent visit, I thought I’d do one anyway.
Most area families know this place as, “Castle Park,” and it’s the playground’s unique turrets and towers that make it a hit with big and little kids. It lends itself to all kind of imaginative play and some pretty epic games of tag for the tween set.
In addition to the main structure, there is a smaller version for the toddler set (you can see that area in the background of the pic right above), two sets of swings, and two climbing rocks. There are also ballfields, walking trails, a lake, historical signs, and picnic tables.
Now, the one downside of this playground-and it will be a big one for some of you-is that you will immediately lose sight of your kiddo in the bigger play structure. There are two ways to deal with this. The first option is to plant yourself on the bench to the left of the structure and next to the parking lot. Since you can see the parking lot, you’re probably safe assuming that your kid is somewhere in there. The second option is to tape one of those bicycle flags to the back of your kids, so you can track their movements. They may not go for this.
My basic thought is to stick to the toddler section and supervise a smaller child, and trust your bigger kids to go off in the other area. If you have a kid at that kind of awkward, in-between stage-not wanting to stay right with you but not old/tall/brave enough to mix it up with bigger kids on his own, you may just want to wait on this one.
Hopefully, you can tell enough from the pics to make the call for your family.
Crowd wise, this place is a real mix. In the morning it seems to attract quite a lot of playgroups. When we went last, there were only three or four other groups, but by the time we’d left at least a dozen more kids had showed up. It’s not the kind of melee you get at, let’s say, Bradley Lake, but it’s not a place for solitude either.
If you like your playgrounds on the quieter side, you’ll want to check out my post on dealing with playground crowds. The boys and I went to Wildwood in Puyallup yesterday, and there were only two other children there.
There is a similar play structure called “Kids’ Gig,” in Gig Harbor just behind Discovery Elementary School. I believe it’s still open to the public, though I confess we haven’t been to this one in a couple of years. If you know, leave a comment! If you’re up for a road trip, there is also a castle like play structure at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore (it’s a state park, so you need a Discover WA pass). If you know of another great one, let me know!
If you’re one of my newer readers, you might also enjoy one of these related posts:
Playground Report: Les Gove in Auburn (Be sure to read the update on the sprayground surface)
If you’re a regular at Castle Park, or you’ve got an even better idea, please don’t be shy-share away!