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Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach Central Park

Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach Central Park

Adventure Playground (AP) inside Huntington Beach Central Park is one of 3 true adventure playgrounds in California. The others are in Berkeley and Irvine. How lucky are we?

This Adventure Playground is ONLY open during summer months. Unfortunately, the notice on their website says: “Due to the State’s drought State of Emergency, Adventure Playground will not open this year.”  

[If you are looking for the AMAZING new playground with the neon green rope climber that opened in January 2022, then you’ll want to go to this post: “Huntington Beach Central Park for Kids and Families” to see the map and the entire playground coverage.]

Directions to Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach Central Park: The easiest way to find the playground is to find the Central Library and park there.  From Interstate 405, I exited at Beach Blvd and turned right on Talbert which dead-ended into the library parking lot.  Stay to the right side of the lot near an open space with picnic tables.  Follow the path near the Youth Shelter and Amphitheater and it will wind around to the entrance of the park. I put the marker right in the middle of the pond inside the playground. If you come from the coast, you can take PCH to Goldenwest and turn right into the Library parking lot at Talbert. MAP TO ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND IN HUNTINGTON BEACH CENTRAL PARK

adventure playground huntington beach - mud slide

Highlights:

  • The Adventure Playground location is really nice within Huntington Beach Central Park — the beauty of which always astounds me. It’s so vast and there’s lots to see.  It’s also close to the library which can provide for another facet to a day trip here.
  • It’s a relatively small play space enclosed by a fence all the way around, except the gate near the entrance.
  • There are adult monitors/helpers in each area, but you are responsible for remaining with your child.  Safety rules were explained to the kids as you enter and pay your $4.
  • Fort-building: There’s an open field with 3 trees prepped for fort building. One of the trees is taller and only for kids over age 8.  There is a whole system for checking out tools and earning nails. And there is a wood pile for supplies. They are always looking for donations.
adventure playground huntington beach - fort
  • Mud slide (my favorite): One of the most intriguing features is a tall hill with a ditch dug into and plastic tarp laid over to make a water slide. When the slide is open (on and off throughout the day), a monitor runs water down the slide to make it nice and slippery. Kids sit and slide down the hill into a muddy pit of water.  For my daughter, it went over her head!  Moms with little ones stepped in to catch their kids.
  • Rafting: Rafting across the pond is like beginning stand up paddle boarding (with a pole that you push across the bottom of the pond instead of a paddle). The kids wait in the Raft Line for their turn and then walk out into the water to pick a raft and pole.
  • Rope Bridge: This bridge runs over the water.
  • Sandbox and Picnic Area: There’s a small sandbox which has a shade cover with a few places to sit nearby.
  • According to one of the staff members, the best days to visit are Mondays and Saturdays. I’d also suggest getting there right when it opens at 10am.
adventure playground huntington beach - fort hill

Be Aware:

  • This is not your normal playground.  There are no swings or traditional play equipment.  If you are not prepared for your kids to get completely dirty and wet (including soaking wet shoes!) this may not be a good choice for you.
  • Wear shoes and clothes for YOU (the parents or caregivers) that you don’t mind getting wet or dirty.
  • There is an age range listed on the website of 5 years old to 12 years old.  I would agree with that range.
  • ONLY open mid-June through mid-August (dates change every year – opens June 20th for Summer 2022). Closed Sundays and July 4th.
  • $4 per kid (adults over 16 are free)
  • When you get there, you will probably think “This is it? That’s all?” — but the kids will be having a grand time building and moving between the slide to the rafts to the rope bridge. Some kids will be occupied for an hour, some will want all day to build forts with friends.
hammer and nails

Checklist:

  • Dedicated parking lot outside the Huntington Beach Central Library
  • Play surface is uneven ground, tree forts, and sandy/muddy areas near the water
  • Bring a towel and change of clothes (including dry shoes!)
  • The restrooms are portable toilets – so we just used the library restroom before going to play
  • There is an outdoor shower located near the sandbox
  • They run a little snack bar which reminded me of my childhood with candy and other snacky items
  • Entrance fee of $4 per kid (adults are free). You’ll need to bring CASH and they appreciate $1, $5, $10 bills. No credit cards.
  • There isn’t a ton of space for picnics inside the fence. We chose to leave our food in the car and dine at the picnic tables near the parking lot.
  • Official AP website on the City of Huntington Beach website
adventure playground huntington beach - rafts

Read more:

sandbox

Originally posted in July 2012.

Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach Central Park gives kids space to build forts and a pond to float on small rafts. Opens June 20, 2022.

Doug

Saturday 28th of June 2014

I grew up hiking through the hills, swimming in ponds, following the railroad tracks and fishing in the river. My kids grew up in a real park setting as I was a park ranger. They, my wife and myself always remember the wonderful environment we were lucky enough to share. Looks like you have done a great job duplicating this feeling and I look forward to visiting the park on my next journey to Southern California!

Michele Whiteaker

Monday 30th of June 2014

It won't be as expansive as the park where you were a ranger - and I don't know if it's worth a special trip (but Huntington Beach Central Park and Shipley Nature Center is DEFINITELY worth the trip. {I don't run the Adventure Playground - just reporting on all things outdoors in Orange County for families on my blog.}

Madelyn

Friday 13th of September 2013

This is awesome!

Carrie

Thursday 20th of June 2013

Thanks Michelle! Taking Séb there tomorrow,great info :)

Danielle

Sunday 29th of July 2012

Thanks so much for the fantastic information in this blog!! Going there with my boys and you answered all my questions! Can hardly wait to see them get muddy and be BOYS!

Heather

Saturday 28th of July 2012

They're trying to open the one in Irvine again, maybe next summer. I hope it happens! Here's an article about it: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/city-365821-playground-alex.html

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