This is like a playground designed by five-year-olds. It has all the things little boys want to do but are rarely allowed; such as playing with nails, swimming in the mud, building a tree fort, or splashing in the fountain. It’s low-budget, get-messy fun.
Our Review of Adventure Playground
Adventure Playground is run by the City of Huntington Beach and is open in the summer only. With the amount of paranoia instilled into this parenting age, at first sight the Adventure Playground looks like a trip to the emergency room just waiting to happen. But in reality, the kids had a great time and everyone came away with bones intact and fingers attached.
There are three main events at the Adventure Playground: water rafts, tree-fort construction zone, and mudslide. (There are also some tires to climb on and a rope bridge, but those are incidental).
My youngest took to the rafts. Once kids realize they WILL get wet…but that it is OK, they start to really enjoy the freedom of rafting out on the 12inch deep water basin. They have large sticks to maneuver their pallet-like rafts about, they construct battle scenarios, fall off on occasion; it’s hard to get them to come back to shore.
My older son spent most of his time in the construction yard. Rudimentary platforms have been constructed around three trees; they serve as the foundation for tree forts. Lumber is found in the massive scrap pile. The kids are allotted 3 nails ONLY, but can earn more by returning a bent nail or picking up trash from around the complex. These nails, along with a checked-out hammer or saw, gives kids free reign to create whatever they want. My son and his friend constructed a wooden flag and turrets to guard their tree-fort base. They learned quickly that hammer and nails is hard work. The plywood was solid, but there wasn’t firm ground to nail on, so it was really difficult to hammer anything together. The saws were dull and completely worthless. And because the boys lacked experience, they did things in the wrong order. They didn’t have the operation knowledge or foresight to understand what needed to be hammered on first. It was a really challenging, and in the end they were just trying to finish what they started more than actually enjoy it.
The mudslide is opened for small windows of time. It is a large mound of dirt with a black tarp over a bumpy rut that ends in a big pool of muddy water. An employee stands at the top with a hose, and kids slide down as best they can to end with a big, soggy splash. With practice some kids figured out how to get some speed, but most kids just slowly scoot themselves down to the end.
The park is staffed by teenagers who are completely immune to tears, fits, and pouting…which kind of makes them perfect for this job as it keeps things running by the book. It is also probably the reason accidents don’t happen nearly as frequently as one might expect…these teenagers make sure the rules are followed without exception. But it can also be frustrating when the no-exception policy is applied to adults. For example, once the boys had finished their wood construct, it was pretty rickety and could quite easily tip over and smashing someone on the head. I figured it only needed one more nail to secure it down. I told the girls at the nail station I was worried about safety and asked for a nail so I could go quickly remedy the situation. But I had already been given three nails and had to go pick up four pieces of trash to get another one.
So I have mixed feelings about his place. On one hand it’s a good experience for boys that want to get dirty and have the satisfaction of hard labor. On the other, it’s not like a high-budget facility that has the kinks worked out. So kids are initially enthralled with the idea of building a tree fort or riding a mud slide, but they quickly loose enthusiasm as the actual experience requires way more effort than the experience inspires.
You absolutely MUST have close-toed shoes. No exceptions.
Your kids will absolutely get wet and dirty. Dress them accordingly.