The newly redesigned Downtown Bellevue Park just opened this summer, and it got a whole lot cooler. Inclusivity and activity reign (and rain!) at the Inspiration Playground, where all ages and abilities can play and explore at their own pace. But that’s not all. The newly redesigned park also features a play area for older kids, a splash pad (perfect for hot summer days), a rockin’ music area and much more. So round up your kid crew and read on for the deets on Bellevue’s hottest, err, coolest place to play this summer.
A Play Area Built for All
Built in collaboration between the City of Bellevue and Rotary Club of Bellevue, the playground features new interactive elements that “engage the senses, create inclusiveness and accommodate children of all abilities and their caregivers.” The new playground’s design was meant to retain the popularity of its previous playground while considerably expanding its size as well as providing activities that “support the physical, educational and social development of an individual” and engage the senses (think: sight, sound, smell and touch).
Designed for ages 2 to 12 (but all are welcome to play), the rubberized ground cover makes for safer running and playing. At the center of the play area sits the iconic Wisdom Tree sculpture, beckoning park-goers and outlining benches (that swing!) make for comfy viewing spots for adults.
Aimed at munchkins ages 2-5, little ones hitting up this station will delight in the smaller scale (yet still impressive) play structure. This section of the park comes complete with a toddler and mom-and-me swing, as well as a four-person we-saw and spinner bowl—which we noticed delighted older kids as well. Plus, there’s a variety of sensory and movement equipment to keep active tykes engaged.
Whimsey Play Area
Built for larger hands and feet, this area of the playground is designed for kids ages 5-12 and features a climbing wall, beautifully designed climbing vine, large-scale play structure, swings (of the large, round platform variety) and an in-ground trampoline!
Beyond park basics like swings and slides, Bellevue’s new Downtown Park delights visitors (especially during warm weather) with a fun splash pad, “waterfall cave” and water sensory table. Ground vents, a small little river with a bridge and a peek-or-run-through rock waterfall make for giggles and grins all around.
Important Deets About the Park
If you’re wondering if parking is going to be an issue, don’t fret. Parking is free and ample with a new lot created off 100th street. (Psst… don’t be alarmed if you see a park ranger. They’re on site making sure you’re not a construction worker looking for a sweet spot.) There are clean, new bathroom facilities and a water fountain on site, and better yet—a huge grassy area and stunning pond (with its own waterfall) for your viewing and lounging pleasure.
Psst! With the park’s recent debut, ample parking and prime downtown Bellevue location, don’t expect this to be a “park to yourself” kind of place. The park is often quite crowded, but with so much going on, you should be able to enjoy every section of sprawling space.
Explore Beyond the Playground
If your munchkins simply need to blow off steam and run there’s more than enough space for even the fastest of kids—yet the huge surrounding park is quite idyllic and calming with its huge circular pond and expansive grassy area (hard to believe you are only steps away from Bellevue Square). And because of this proximity, you can pop over to the Whole Foods 365 market (aka the old J.C. Penney’s space) or step it up with a venture onto Bellevue’s Main Street, where swanky eateries, bakeries and bars abound.
All in all – it’s worth a trip to Bellevue – neither you nor your kids will leave disappointed!
Downtown Bellevue Park and Inspiration Playground
10201 N.E. 4th St.
Bellevue, Wa 98004
Hours: Dawn to dusk
Have you visited the newly redesigned Bellevue Downtown Park? What’s your favorite part? Tell us in the comments below!
— Jennifer B. Davis (all photos courtesy of the writer)