Dennis the Menace Playground in Monterey
Alright, this place is off the hinges. It is wild! It is loud! it is the wild west of children’s imagination! Slides, ropes, sand, swings, swirly ride, and did I mention lots of SAND! This playground is the first where we realized how big are the teenagers! They are adults compared to tiny toddlers!
Seriously though, there are so many play areas that even if you spend 10-15 min at each you might have to come back the next day. This is one of the largest outdoor play grounds near the Bay area and ultimately the best playground in Monetary bay.
Kids run wild at the park with many parents browsing next important purchase on Amazon with their faces in the phones. You will definitely want to keep an eye on your little ones, especially toddlers.
Monterey itinerary with kids
Dennis the Menace Playground is an absolute must stop if you are planning to spend a weekend with the kids in Monterey. Open sunrise to sunset you can wedge it into the busiest schedule. Located off of Del Monte Blvd its right next to the Hwy 1 – the Pacific Coast Highway.
Side Note: from Big Sur and going up north PCH is called the Cabrillo Hwy.
You can easily add it to your itinerary if you are going to the Monterey Bay aquarium, Old Fisherman’s Wharf or the Pacific Grove. The playground is located only within 10-15 minute drive. If your kid is tired or simply feels grumpy this play area will definitely put a smile on their face!
History on Dennis the Menace Playground
The playground was created as part of the El Estero Park complex in 1956. It was established with the help of Hank Ketcham, creator of the Dennis the Menace comic strip, who was a resident of nearby Carmel, and clear proponent of childish antics and play.
What to expect from Dennis the Menace Playground
Our boy took off immediately as we unstrapped him from the car seat. I think he could sense the excitement in the air. The loud laughter of children, screeching of the swings and the marry-go. There are so many play areas.
We had to keep an eye out for our buccaneer as he boarded a ship, I meant a conductor, or better a mountaineer! You see what I mean, kid’s eyes and feet will run in opposite directions once they see the unimaginable variety of things to play with.
The playground was recently remodeled and features some of the best slides and monkey bars. Climbing wall, suspended bridge, tubes of all sorts to crawl through, etc. There’s also a wheel of death in the farthest corner of the park. A spinning centrifuge that kids (and adults) can hop on and off while it’s rotating. Propelled by hand it goes faster than you would imagine. It’s really nauseating and of course fun. Got to admit I did get on it for a second.
Dennis the Menace Playground is adjacent to El Estero Park – with the baseball field and play areas for older kids. The whole playground is surrounded by water – El Estero (translation from Spanish “the estuary”). You can go on a “swan ride” – the pedal catamaran; or simply enjoy all the unusual birds that home at the pond.
There’s also a hedge maze that you can lose your kids at. Although it is very hard to loose children at this park – so might be great for dads. There’s only one entrance and exit – giving you a peace of mind that your kid won’t run off onto a street. A big plus – the equipment is geared to kids of all ages so it’s fun and enjoyable for everyone.
This place is just as great as the San Francisco’s Elinor Friend Playground. Perfect for energetic toddlers and lazy teenagers. A great playground to blow off that extra energy and be Denise the Menace. We went there following a day at the Monterey Bay aquarium, right after the nap. We could see our little dude’s eyes light up with excitement once he stepped into the play area.
Because of the chaotic movement of all the kids at the playground we’d highly advise staying closer to your little one since. Larger kids are pretty berserk when it comes to getting to a slide or the swirly thing first. Avoid some of the taller slides (if you have a toddler) since they are specifically designed for older kids. & Enjoy!
Henry King Ketcham’s book inspired playground is a definite must stop if you’re visiting Monterey Bay with kids. Dennis the menace playground & of course the Monterey bay aquarium.
Check out other places with kids while in Monterey from our California Perspective itinerary.