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Mud Park, also known as Adventure Playground located in Huntington Beach, California truly is a child’s play place. I had heard about this place for years before finally taking the plunge and going. However, the way I heard it described sounded more like a reenactment of The Lord of the Flies rather than the amazing place it really is.
First things first, this place is a little hard to find. Its located in Huntington Beach’s Huntington Central Park, behind the library and a short walk up a hill. The entrance is not clearly marked, so just drive to the Central Library and walk towards the back. Listen for all the yelling kids, you’ll find it.
When you first arrive you’ll see the PILES and PILES of shoes! If your kid doesn’t have closed toe shoes with them, they’ll make you take a pair from their pile, so make sure to bring your own. Open toe or flip-flops are NOT allowed. I also suggest a change of clothes, towels (the old stained one, you know what I’m talking about here, the ones you hide from company), there are outdoor changing rooms for them to get changed in.
There are 3 main areas. This is MY opinion, the park does not label these or call them lands or anything. There is the building area, the swamp and the Hen House.
Building Area: This is the Lord of the Rings area I’m talking about. Who though that giving young children saws, hammers, nails and tons of wood would be a good thing? Well big surprise… it is! I was shocked seeing the “house” my then 9-year-old constructed. I would not suggest this area to the smaller children, but if your child is 8-9 and up, they will have a blast. They have work gloves for the kids, I had to force my son to put them on, but after watching another child cry doe to a sliver of wood in his hand, I was glad I made the fuss.
The Swamp: Probably my son’s favorite area of the park is the swamp. They have Tom Sawyer style rafts for the kids to cruise around on. The control the rafts with the huge sticks they push on the swamps bottom floor. Don’t worry though. the water is probably a whopping 7 inches deep. They also have a mudslide, its really more like a slip and slide ending in a pool of dirty, muddy water, but the kids love it. There is also a tire swing to the right of the swamp. That thing gets going pretty fast.
Hen House: I call it the Hen House because this is where all the moms hangout. There are some lunch tables located here, benches and some shelter. The small snack shop is about 10 steps from the Hen House making it convenient for that Diet Coke fix.
My tips for a great trip to Mud Park is to go a little later in the day. There are lots of schools and day care centers that go early in the morning. I find that if you go just after lunch, all the school groups go home and its much more pleasant. Bring water and a hat, there is very little shelter and I can’t even remember if there’s a water fountain.
The Facts: Adventure Playground runs mid-June through mid-August. This experience is suitable for kids six to twelve years old. It is only open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Adult supervision is provided and a small fee is charged. For information and group reservations, phone (714) 842-7442. Location: Huntington Central Park, 7111 Talbert Avenue , Huntington Beach, California. (The playground is located up the hill near the Youth Shelter. Park at the Library parking lot and follow the paved path beyond the Youth Shelter.)
Gen X Moms be forewarned… your kids will get dirty, downright filthy, all in the name of good “clean” fun!
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