Best Full-Service Playground

Kennedy Park

As far as playgrounds go, Hayward’s Kennedy Park can proudly claim to
be one of the best. Teeming with an abundance of activities, Kennedy
will certainly enchant your tot. Besides its central feature, a large
play structure complete with several slides connected by human-scale
Habitrails, Kennedy’s attractions also include a bouncy house (an
inflatable lodge where kids can release a month’s worth of stored
energy by jumping for five minutes), a carousel that plays Glenn
Miller’s “American Patrol,” and a small train that drowsily chugs
around the park perimeter. Kennedy also features Triple Pines Ranch, a
petting zoo of assorted farm animals (mainly fairly docile goats
— but watch your little ones’ hands if you want to feed them) and
a pony ride. Since tickets run $1.50-$1.75 per attraction, it is one of
the cheaper alternatives for family excursions. On sunnier days, stake
your claim at one of Kennedy’s many barbecues and enjoy an hour or so
of horseshoe-tossing. Kennedy is an ideal locale for adrenaline-fueled
kids that have spent one too many hours shopping with their parents,
and a boon for parents wanting to eschew the seizure-inducing lights
and cacophony (as well as the insipid pizza) of a local Chuck E.
Cheese.

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