Kensico Dam Plaza's Renovated Playground Offers Plenty of Playtime Fun

Enjoy a ride on one of the many swing sets.
Enjoy a ride on one of the many swing sets.

We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: There are plenty of wonderful playgrounds in Westchester County for kids.

And it looks as if the variety is getting even better: We’ve noticed an uptick in renovated playgrounds in the area lately, including one of the newest: the playground at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla.

We visited recently and came away impressed. Read on, and for even more outdoor fun check out our guide to playgrounds and parks in Westchester, and be sure to sign up for our newsletters.

The playground has attractions to satisfy just about every child. 

A Visit to the Renovated Kensico Dam Plaza Playground 

The Kensico Dam has always been a hotspot for Westchester families, whether you visit for a movie night; Fourth of July fireworks;  Westchester’s Winter Wonderland in the winter; or to just walk around the well-trafficked foot and bike path at any time of year. And the playground has always been a magnet for kids, thanks to the assortment of equipment. This fall the playground was given a major face lift, with all new equipment, picnic tables, and more. 

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There are plenty of climbing attractions. 

There’s only one entrance into the Kensico Dam Plaza, and parking is free. We visited early on a Friday afternoon, and there were plenty of parking spots. And even though it was a beautiful early October day, it was busy, but not packed. However, I know from experience that isn’t always the case, especially on weekends.

The playground is near the parking lot, and you’ll notice right away that post-renovation it's is an explosion of bright and cheerful colors. It’s split into three sections: An area for older kids, an area for younger kids, and an area with swings, with a set of three picnic tables separating the older kids area from the space for the little ones and swings.

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And there are slides aplenty, too.

Right when we got there, my 4-year-old daughter and her best friend bolted for the older kids’ playground, and they loved it. There is ample equipment to enjoy—from spots to spin to places to make music. This section offered a few shorter slides, along with one longer, half-covered slide, which might be challenging (and possibly scary) for younger siblings following after older ones. There’s a low-key garden and nature theme to the entire space—including the other sections—with a cute butterfly to climb and steps shaped like logs and leaves to use, along with other touches throughout.

From that area, the girls headed to the younger kids section, which was equally entertaining, offering a mini-rock climbing wall and other climbing spots as well as slides. Fun fact: When it’s sunny, the multicolored shade structures on this part of the playground make fun colorful patterns on the floor, which the girls gravitated toward. (It’s the little things, right?)

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The parent-and-baby swings offer safe and exciting adventures.

In the swing section, you’ll find both accessible and parent-and-baby swings. I had seen parent-and-baby swings in other cities, but this is the first I’ve found in the area—and I wish it had been around when my kids were babies. You place the child in the baby seat and the parent can sit facing them, so you swing together. So much more fun than simply pushing them!

The playground is a multicolored amusement area.

Along with the three picnic tables in the actual playground space, there are plenty of others in the area as well, so setting up for lunch or a snack is super easy. There’s usually a food truck nearby as well. Also good to know: There are bathrooms, including a changing table.

One of the best aspects of this playground is that once the kids (or you) have had enough swinging and sliding, you can check out what the rest of the plaza has to offer—and it’s plenty. Kids can bring their bikes or scooters and ride around the path, play in the large grassy area in the center, walk along the bottom of the dam, or climb the stairs to the top. There’s also the chance to visit Westchester’s 9/11 memorials: The Rising and The Eternal Light, the first-responders memorial, both located in the plaza.

And if you didn’t pack lunch or a snack, you can head to Valhalla for a sandwich at The Sandwich Spot (or a Nutella crepe) or a treat at The Twisted Branch’s coffee bar.

Overall, the renovated playground looks great—and the kids had a blast, with plenty to keep them busy the whole time we were there.

What Know Before You Go

  • Parking is free.
  • There are bathrooms and a changing table on site.
  • There are picnic tables, along with a food truck stationed at the park as well.
  • Events are held at the plaza throughout the year.

Photos by the author

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