Grovelands Park in Winchmore Hill, London

Grovelands Park Winchmore Hill

Grovelands Park Winchmore HillWe headed out one chilly, wet Sunday morning to Grovelands Park.  While visiting the London area we always seek out parks.  I think parks (other than tea) are one of the things that the British do best!

Grovelands has the required cute cafe, with snacks, cold drinks and of course good coffee and tea!  The patio overlooks the kids playground and the lake.  It is a lovely place to enjoy a few quiet moments.  The patio also has a few plastic houses for the toddlers to play with while their parents catch their breath!

This park has two playgrounds, the one near the cafe is for younger kids and has all the Grovelands Park Winchmore Hillstandards plus it is wheelchair accessible.  The second playground is a natural climbing area for bigger kids.  I love this area, it is in the wooded area of the park and is a perfect place to practice those climbing skills.

We walked through the wooded area and climbed trees, crossed a dry creek bed, and enjoyed nature to the hilt!

Grovelands Park Winchmore HillThis park has a lovely wide path that parents and kids were busy running, biking and walking around the large lake.  There is huge field that seemed to be the best destination for dogs to run, kids to play ball and even picnics.  Don’t forget the outdoor workout station for the parents to use! Oh, I almost forgot there were kids fishing in the pond too!

We could easily spend an entire day here playing and picnicking and biking!

Click Here for the location and directions to Woodlands Grove Park.

Grovelands Park Winchmore Hill
Loved this sign, asking that you not feed birds bread, but cut up grapes and frozen peas instead.

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Trent County Park in London, UK

Trent Park

Trent ParkWe always have to visit Trent County Park whenever we are visiting London!  I love the country feel, the natural walkways and my daughter loves the playgrounds!  This park has over 400 acres of land.  We hike the area (at a very, very, very slow pace) in about an hour, and I love the views of rolling meadows, hay fields, small ponds, open fields for football (soccer) and large woodlands.

Younger Playground at Trent Park
There are 2 playgrounds, the one for kids under 8 is right by the Cafe.  I love this playground and it is clearly well thought out!  It is built with natural materials that blend into the wooded area around it.  It offers some great “ropes course” type challenges that are just right for younger kids.  It also has a climbing area perfect for toddlers and tiny tots.

Cafe at Trent Park
The younger playground is right next to the cafe!  This is one of the best things about parks in the UK!  You are almost always guaranteed a cup of tea at least!  The Cafe at Trent County Park did not let us down!  We got burgers and sandwiches that were fabulous!  The staff was great and there was even indoor seating that was very comfortable!

The older playground is much the same as the younger one, but much, much more 8 & up  Playground at Trent Parkchallenging!  Ropes courses, and high climbs built with wood and natural materials are aimed at kids 8 and up.

There is also a really neat ropes & zip line course on the property.  We didn’t get to try it because the minimum age is too old for my child yet.  It is called Go Ape and it looked really fun!  I can’t wait to try it on our next Trent Park Go Ape Entrancetrip when my daughter is old enough.  The views of Trent Park from the ground are stunning, so I can only imagine that from the tree tops they will be spectacular! I chatted with one Dad and his son who had just completed the course and he said that it was “challenging, but doable”.

According to signs in the area the park is part of Walk the Look Trent Parka Green Belt and you can hike 150 miles around London from this point.  .

Trent County Park is located near the Cockfusters & Oakwood Stations.  For more information and Directions Click Here.

Battelle Darby Creek Park Nature Center and Bison in Galloway Ohio

Battelle Darby Nature Center Water Table
Battelle Darby Nature Center Viewing Deck
Looking at the Bison at the Battelle Darby Nature Center Viewing Deck

I grew up going to Battelle Darby Creek Park (aka Big Darby), we thought it was great.  Compared to now, though?  Wow.  This park has come along way.  On our last trip to Ohio, we headed over to Battelle Darby Creek Park to see the Bison and the Nature Center.  This park spans 20 miles of riparian forests along the Big and Little Darby Creeks.  It includes 7,000 acres of prairies and forests.  As kid I felt this park had the best canoeing, hiking and the absolute best sledding hill around!  These are all still there and of course, there are picnic areas, pet trails and playground equipment

Battelle Darby Park Bison
The Bison are way back in the right hand corner.

everywhere, not to mention the Environmental Study Sites and Nature Programs.

The Bison can be seen in winter from the Battelle Darby Creek Nature Center.  The Bison can be viewed from the deck of the center, and it serves as their winter paddock.  The Nature Center can be found at 1415 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway OH 43119.

We were able to see them only with the telescope on the deck of the center, but it was still pretty neat.

Battelle Darby Nature Center Water Table
Battelle Darby Nature Center Water Table

The Nature Center itself is really amazing!  There are many hands on areas for the kids to learn about the nature.  A giant wall that allows kids to place pictures of animals in their habitats on the wall.

There is a pelt room, full of the pelts of all the native animals that you might find in the Ohio Valley.  Be prepared for this room, as a former zoological educator I used confiscated animal pelts to teach audiences about important animals for years, but I still find it difficult to see.  The educators and volunteers around the room will gladly explain to you where they came from.

Battelle Darby Park Nature Center
Peering into the creek bed table

The Riverbed Water Table is the highlight of the exhibit.  The table stretches the length of the room and show the different levels of the creek.  There are some really neat places where the kids can stick their heads into a plexiglass box from under the table so they can see right into the creek.

If you have a chance, this is a fabulous (free) way to spend a fun, education afternoon.

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Best Playground Spanish River Sports Complex, Boca Raton

Spanish River Sports Complex in Boca Raton Boulevard
Spanish River Sports Complex Playground in Boca Raton
Spanish River Sports Complex and Playground in Boca Raton is beautiful!  We went out early last Sunday morning before the heat became too much.  This is a great little playground and my only complaint would be that there could be more shade if you ask me. There was a little shade around the benches.  No worries about your little runners at this playground, because it is completely fenced in!
Spanish River Sports Complex in Boca Raton
If you do have little runners then you need to hit the path.  I think the whole thing is over 2 miles, but we did just the portion around the lake.  Next time we are going to go to the other side in front of the library.There are picnic tables along the path so you can stop and have a break.
Spanish River Sports Complex in Boca Raton
The path goes under the road so you don’t have to cross Spanish River Boulevard.  It is great for biking, running, skating, or razoring. (Wait, is razoring a word?) Anyway, the point is, it is beautiful and fun!
Spanish River Sports Complex in Boca Raton
There are loads of picnic tables under a shelter with nice clean bathrooms and cold water fountains.  Yes, I said cold!
Spanish River Sports Complex
1000 NW Spanish River Boulevard
Boca Raton, FL 33431

Princess Diana Memorial Playground at Kensington Gardens

Captain Hook's Ship Playground at Princess Diana Memorial Playground
Princess Diana Memorial Playground

This was probably my daughters favorite playground.  Please don’t make the mistake that we made and get there in the evening right before they close.  You and your child will want plenty of time to play here.  I have no way of knowing, but I can only image that Princess Diana would have been very proud to have her name to this absolute fantasy land of a playground that is free to all kids. There are many memorials to her name in London, but I can’t think of any that are more fitting and appropriate.

 Princess Diana Memorial Playground
Princess Diana Memorial Playground

The playground is in Kensington Gardens and if you are there in the summer you will see amazing flowers, gardens and of course roses on your walk through Kensington Gardens to the Playground.  The Playground has attendants available for first aid, bathrooms, is accessible to those with disabilities, and also a gate attendant.  One thing I really liked is that adults are not allowed in without a child, except for an hour in the morning before the Playground officially opens.

Lost Boys Cabins at  Princess Diana Memorial Playground
Princess Diana Memorial Playground

The Playground is really big and there are lots of beautiful oasis areas tucked away around the playground, so if you have very young children do not expect to be able to sit and let them run free while you drink your coffee, as you can’t see them everywhere they go.  The good news is, you will want to explore as much as they do so you can enjoy it right along with them.  There are plenty of benches and picnic tables available in each section as well.

Princess Diana Memorial Playground
Princess Diana Memorial Playground

The Playground itself has been developed with natural materials and lends itself to imaginative play in nature.  One section offers kids and their parents a chance to make music with chimes and different materials.  One area has a square metal pads laid into the ground and when you jump on them they sound beautiful chiming tones.  These are not sounds that parents are going to feel they want to get away from, but sounds that ring in the beauty of nature in the serene garden setting.

Teepee Play area at Princess Diana Memorial Playground
Princess Diana Memorial Playground

I find myself failing for words to describe this place.  I could have stayed there all day! Climbing structures, rocking boats, Teepees, carved animals, swings, a full sized pirate ship to climb in, green spaces to run and so much more all in a garden setting that lives up to the British ability to create gardens that will impress even those with the least interest in floral life.  I am sure this is what Never Never Land is really like. I found myself keeping an eye out the entire time in case Peter, Tink and the Lost Boys showed up.

Snack area at Princess Diana Memorial Playground
Princess Diana Memorial Playground

I also have to give a thumbs up to the British and their dedication to tea!  Many of the parks we visited had cafes open right on the playgrounds and this one is no exception.  Check out the pictures and video to get an idea.  I don’t think I can do it justice with words.

Princess Diana Memorial Playground
Princess Diana Memorial Playground

As far as I can tell the nearest Tube Station is Knightsbridge.  Opening times change throughout the year so be sure to check before you go.

We saw many wonderful places and had an amazing summer. We had the chance to see The Harry Potter Studio Tour ( we loved it) and The Princess Diana Memorial Playground which was the most amazing playground I have ever seen  We found the The Doctor’s Tardis and even visited Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station!  (Yes, we really did, you can read about it in my blog What Geek Families Must See in London!)  The Hedge Maze at Caple Manors Gardens and College in Enfield was one of our favorites!

DuBois Park in Jupiter is the best place to float in South Florida.

Dubois Park in Jupiter


A friend of mine convinced me to take a ride up to Jupiter to DuBois Park to have a float in the inlet.  It is located at 19075 DuBois Road, Jupiter, Dubois Park in JupiterFlorida 33477.  It is an area surrounded by mangroves off the inlet so there are very little waves and it’s generally pretty shallow.The day I went the tide was unusually high and the deepest place was up to my chest.  I am only 5’2″ so that’s  not too deep.  My friend who has been going here for years said she had never seen it so deep. You can wade from one shore to the other easily and down the inlet about 1/4 of a mile.  There is also a little “island” in the middle where the kids can catch hermit crabs and snails.  We had such a great day there, we intend to go back very soon.So get your floats and hang out in the water, cause you won’t find a better place to swim with the family in this Life Guarded little cove.  DuBois Park has a playground, picnic tables and bathrooms.  There is also an historic house on the property, but I couldn’t get my kid out the water long enough to investigate it!Oh, and the park has free entry and free parking. 

FYI – Check on the Dubois Website before you go as they do sometimes close without much warning

DuBois Park
DuBois Park
DuBois Park
DuBois Park
DuBois Park
DuBois Park
DuBois Park
DuBois Park
DuBois Park
DuBois Park
DuBois Park

Best local playground: Flamingo Gardens

Flamingo Gardens in Davie brings together a lush tropical
garden with a historic plantation and a wildlife sanctuary.  It is an easy drive of about 25 minutes from
Fort Lauderdale, and is well worth the trip.
The courtyard area is chock full of shopping things to do.  What is even better is that this area is
outside the actual park so it is free and could easily be a great morning trip
for families.
As guests enter the courtyard the eyes are drawn immediately
to the large aviary exhibits in the center.  Children and their parents will love to watch the Military Macaws, Cockatoos, and Blue and Gold Macaws play, some of them even talk a little.
The courtyard area has a great playground with mulch flooring a large climbing structure with a bridge and lots of slides.  This quiet playground is rarely busy allowing the kids to play while parents watch on from nearby benches.  The playground is fairly well shaded and located conveniently next to the restrooms.
When the children are good and tired from playing on the
playground head on over to the Tropical Marketplace snack bar for a cold drink,
a fruit smoothie or a hotdog.  There is lots of outdoor shaded seating next to the snack bar where guests can enjoy a fresh cold cup of  juice while listening to the
parrots.  Watch out though you may have to walk around one of the beautiful wild peacocks who like to hang out in the area.  Guests can also shop for gourmet
gifts and have fruit shipped to friends and family. The next shopping opportunity is the Garden Shop and Secret Garden, where guests can shop for fantastic garden items and browse through tropical plants that will perk up any South Florida back yard.
Flamingo Gardens is a great local destination inside and out
and is a must see Special Events and Exhibits for any family with kids.