alexander kemp playground (cambridge)

If you happen to be in the Boston area, and want to visit one of the most unique (and awesome!) playgrounds around, head on over to the Alexander Kemp playground on Cambridge Common. Easily accessible from the red line (Harvard stop), take a quick stroll through the park to see:

  • where Washington gathered his men
  • the golden horseshoes memorializing William Dawes’ ride
  • a memorial to Irish famine victims

Next you’ll probably pass by several patches of students hanging out, playing games etc., and then finally you’ll make it to the playground.

Even before entering the gate, you’ll notice from the outside that this playground looks a little different from the ubiquitous primary-colored plastic slides and swings you see in most modern playgrounds.

These things inside here seem to be made of wood and ropes and – almost too crazy to believe – real trees.

There’s a wooden boat climbing structure that actually feels like a boat, woven swings and a circular merry-go-round that can accommodate a wheelchair. Best of all for the tiny tots, there is a series of metal troughs where you can regulate the flow of water from pumps above to spouts below, along with a huge sandy area with buckets and pulleys, and there are large wooden blocks and a conveyor belt to move them.

I’ve read some articles about the dangers of this park – sure, someone could get hurt (clocked in the head with a block, or falling off the top of the boat they scaled), so it definitely makes you stay close to your little one(s), which – the other downside – can be hard to do when it is teeeeming with people on a beautiful summer day. But it is so beautiful and rewarding that it is totally worth it.

Ah, and a tip: bathing suits for the little ones so they don’t get their clothes soaked/filthy when they sit in a trough and then in the sand. Not that something like that happened to one of my children! Er, um, yeah …

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