If you have been tuned in to any of the parent websites in this area, then you know that Pullen Park reopening is THE big news. And since we are just excited as you all, some of our Mommy’s Group gang gave this place a trial run before the Thanksgiving holiday for you and I am here to report: it really is great.
–>First, let’s chat playground facilities. The playground area is huge, and it is divided into various sections. There is a section devoted entirely to swings (including special needs swings, toddler swings, tire swings, and regular swings). There is a playground for older kids that includes some pretty amazing climbing apparatus. In a wonderful stroke of genius, there is also a toddler playground that is located on the other side of the area from the older kids playground, so it stays pretty restricted to tots. That toddler playground includes ride-on toys, slides, and a mini sandbox. There is even a water and sand play area for kids. For the most part, the areas are fenced off to keep kids fairly contained. The ground cover is a mixture of sand and synthetic material. There are some shade structures provided and nice benches around the area.
–>Second, let’s talk rides. These are, afterall, what makes Pullen Park so unique. Here’s what they’ve got:
– a beautiful old 1920s carousel, located inside a pavilion
– kiddie boats
– a kiddie train
– paddle boats
All rides cost money, but they are cheap. You get tickets in advance at the booth. 1 ticket = $1. Everything but the paddle boats (which is 6 tickets) is 1 ticket to ride. Parents have to pay to ride, too, unless your child is under 12 mos.
The rides don’t open and start running until 10 am (which is also the first time you can buy tickets), although the park opens at dawn. Rides stop at 6 pm, the playground is open until dusk.
Note that while all the rides are totally fun and safe (and newly renovated) none of them have safety belts or harnesses. Which meant that the kiddie boat ended up being mass chaos when 1 boat of toddlers stood up mid-ride and the ride had to stop and also that us mommies ended up making sure we were riding with our kids on the other rides.
–>Third, let’s talk cafe. Katie over at Discovering the Southern Part of Heaven goes into great detail about this spot here. But for our purposes now know that this is different dining than you usually see at a park. It is seasonal, local, and a good variety. Granted, the veggie burger I got was bright pink (hmm) C loved his hummus and carrots.
Keep in mind, too, that this is a park with picnic benches and such so you can always pack your food and picnic out.
–>Fourth, let’s talk facilities. This park can get PACKED. We are all excited it’s open and this is fantastically, surprisingly good weather right now. Some folks I know had issues parking and lines for tickets and rides can get long. My advice is to go early or go late. Or go on a weekday. The playground and facilities certainly have enough space to hold everyone who wants to be there, but if you want to make it easiest on yourself, go early. And get your tickets as soon as you can, too, so you don’t have to wait in a long line.
The restrooms (of which there are TWO) are brand new, heated, and well-kept with, of course, changing tables.
Pullen Park really is a wonderful place for a family outing. I see why GoAskMom was so excited it was reopening and all of us bloggers had to get there, too. Downtown Raleigh is much benefited by this gorgeous park. (PS, this is right down the street from the WRAL Azalea Gardens, too.)
By the way, Pullen Park is having a Holiday Express event integrating it’s kiddie train and some Santa visits. It runs Dec 8 – 11, 2011 and you can see that information here: http://www.raleighnc.gov/arts/content/PRecRecreation/Articles/HolidayExpress.html. It is easier to get on board here than at the Life + Sciences’ popular Santa train and is cheaper, too. Nice little option.
Playground open dawn to dusk; rides open 10 am – 6 pm (check website for any holiday changes)
520 Ashe Ave