A few months ago when we were spotlighting Park Slope, we mentioned how much we were looking forward to the reopening of J.J. Byrne Playground. After a year of work and many millions of dollars, the revamped play spot debuted last Friday and my four-year-old daughter and I went to check it out.
Due to its location in Washington Park next to the historic Old Stone House, the playground has a Colonial theme. My kid had a blast exploring this marvelous playground and so did I. As you can see from our slide show, a lot of the equipment is just as much fun to look at as play on.
J.J. Byrne Playground has distinct play areas for kids of different ages. It's got a nice design flow with bucket swings, animal picture boards, little kid equipment and a gated toddler area on the 3rd Street side and more challenging apparatus on the 4th Street side, with water features separating the two. When we were there, toddlers got wet in the two sprinkler areas while school-age kids took turns manually pumping water to fill the mill stream (also known as a runnel). The tweens battled it out with the aim-and-shoot spray cannons.
The toddler area has lots of offbeat attractions, like a submarine periscope, fun house mirrors and interactive panels designed by Brooklyn artist Julie Peppito. These panels reflect the playground's Colonial theme, with lots of farm animals and a map depicting the famous Battle of Brooklyn, which took place right here. The equipment on the big kid side includes lots of ways to climb, spin and balance, as well as sectioned off big kid swings.
There are lots of benches under shady trees in the playground, and the Old Stone House lawn is a great place to sprawl out.There are also stone chess tables and lawn chairs, and a well-kept little garden. Public bathrooms are accessible via the side doors of the Old Stone House.
Even if you don't live nearby, the J.J. Byrne Playground is worth the trek, especially since it's close to so many other Park Slope attractions. Step into the adjacent Old Stone House to learn about the site's significance during the Revolutionary War, head to Puppetworks a block away to see a puppet show or hit Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. to gawk at masks, capes and other superhero accessories. And most of our favorite kid-friendly Park Slope restaurants are within walking distance.
J.J. Byrne Playground is located in Washington Park on Fifth Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets in Park Slope.
Read about other awesome New York City parks and playgrounds.