Jamaica Plain is a playground paradise, with at least 14 public facilities for all ages and activity levels.
Some are well-known community gems. Others are hidden treasures that separate, clunky lists of City- and state-run playgrounds make hard to find. One example is Pondside’s Brewer/Burroughs Tot Lot tucked away on a side street. It was named JP’s best playground this year by Gazette readers, but known mostly by word of mouth.
The following is a Gazette tour of JP’s playground offerings—and where to find them. In addition to this list, many Boston Public Schools playgrounds are open to the public after school hours.
The Flaherty Playground at 40 Cornwall St. is tucked away from the street next to a large green space. It has swings and two play structures–for older and younger kids.
The Johnson Playground, on Green Street across from the MBTA station, has been voted the “best playground in JP” more than once in the Gazette’s yearly poll. It has play structures for kids ages 2 to 12, as well as the largest splash park in JP, which is crowded with kids of every age during the warmer months.
Two playgrounds are less than a minute’s walk from the Stony Brook MBTA station: the Lawndale Terrace park, just south of New Minton Street, is best suited for kids ages 6 and over. It has large play and climbing structures too challenging for little ones.
The Lamartine/Hubbard Streets Garden park has play structures appropriate for all kids ages 2 and up, as well as a small splash park that operates during the summer.
The Parkman Playground at 58 Wachusett St. is, like many of JP’s playgrounds, located on a quiet, residential street. Aside from the two play structures and two swings sets—for older and younger kids—it also has two ball fields, a basketball court and a picnic area.
The Jefferson Playground at 10 Grotto Glen Road is comprised of a large rope climbing structure, basketball courts and a ballfield with batting cages. It is also across the street from Nira Rock Urban Wild. It is best suited to older kids who can climb safely.
The playground in Mozart Park at 10 Mozart St. has two play structures, one aimed at kids ages 2 to 6, and the other aimed at bigger kids ages 6 to 12. There are also a swing set and basketball courts available.
The Forbes Street playground at 60 Forbes St. is easily missed. Tucked into a small lot in a very residential street, it nevertheless includes two play structures—one for older kids, one for younger kids—and boasts plenty of donated toys.
The playground behind the Jackson Square MBTA station shares its Southwest Corridor Park home with basketball courts. Its centerpiece structure is a 16-feet-tall, Finnish-designed “Wall-holla”—a climbing structure similar to an ant farm, but kid-sized. The playground also includes many other balance-based toys and structures, including a zipline, that allow children with limited mobility as well as able-bodied children to enjoy the playground.
The Brewer/Burroughs Tot Lot on Brewer Street is toddler paradise. Its play structures are geared to younger kids ages 2 to 6—though they’re still usable by older kids. Parents also bring older toys to be enjoyed by the whole community. During a recent visit, the Gazette lost count of the number of play kitchens available at the lot, for example.
Tucked in the Southwest Corridor Park behind Spalding Street is another small playground ideal for kids 6 to 12. It has a play structure and small roller rink next to a community garden.
El Parquesito de Hermandad, at 450 Walnut Ave., is the largest playground in JP and sits just next to White Stadium in Franklin Park. It has two large play structures for older and younger kids, tiny bridges, play equipment for kids with limited mobility, and water features for warmer weather.
The Rossmore/Stedman Playground, sited in a residential area at 40 Rossmore Road, is cozy and full of donated toys. It also has two play structures to accommodate kids ages 2 to 12.
The playground in the Southwest Corridor Park at Williams and Everett streets has two play structures for both older and younger kids.