A few weeks ago, right before we started the dreaded potty training, I made sure my boy had the most spectacular and fun week. I knew we’d be trapped inside for at least a week, if not longer (more like ten days); so I decided we would go to a playground that I had been dying to cross off our list. It was a bit of a drive, but like I said, we were living it up!
I had heard about Adam’s Adventure in Tolland from a few different moms. I knew it was a newer playground and that it was fully fenced in. I also heard it was completely accessible to all children, and it was great for little ones. It sounded like the perfect place to check out!
We drove down from Enfield through the back roads, despite the GPS insisting that I hop on the highway. It was a good drive, over 35 minutes actually. I never really looked at the map before we headed out, so I was expecting the playground to be located near the center of Tolland but it was actually on the other side of the highway, which threw me off. If you are familiar with the drive to UCONN, right after the BIG Y on Route 195, there is a fork in the road (there’s a Key Bank on the fork), instead of heading straight to UCONN, you’ll take a left down Rhodes Road.
(from Google Maps)
Adam’s Adventure playground is located just under a mile down the road on the left in the Cross Farms Recreation Complex.
You’ll follow down the entrance of the park past a ballfield.
From there, you’ll see a huge parking lot with plenty of spaces. Most of the spots right in front of the playground are handicapped spaces. We parked in the second row.
Right before the playground there is a covered pavilion with picnic tables and restrooms.
Right next to the pavilion, you’ll find the very awesome and very colorful Adam’s Adventure!
Adam’s Adventure was inspired by a little boy named Adam. He was stricken with bacterial meningitis at the age of 7. While he survived the ordeal, he was left completely blind with cognitive impairments and a seizure disorder. Despite his challenges, Adam was still a child that enjoyed having fun! After his mother pointed out that so many families in their community had children with special needs, but no playground that met their needs, the idea for Adam’s Adventure was born! This would become a playground for everyone, designed to accommodate mobility impairments, auditory disabilities, Autism Spectrum disorders, cognitive impairments, visual disabilities and more.
The entrance to the playground is located in the center, next to the parking lot. You’ll see a big sign right above the gate.
And yes, I said gate. This is a fully fenced, gated playground. Those little ones are not going anywhere!
The rules of the Adam’s Adventure are listed near the side facing the pavilion. They ask that parents stay with their children. No food or drink is allowed (and you can tell that rule is followed because the playground is super clean). You may want to rethink the first rule though… not sure how much fun you’d have in the dark.
Adam’s Adventure is designed for ages 5 to 12 but there were a lot of toddlers here during the morning we visited. School was still in session, so this was the time when the little ones ruled the place. Some of the climbing structures were challenging for my boy, and a few slides were pretty intense, but that did not deter him in any way!
The layout of the main playscape was interesting. It was basically one long ramp, with different features shooting off of it (stairs, ladders, rockwalls, slides, monkey bars). The intensity of each thing gradually increased as you went up the ramp. The slides at the beginning were tamer, shorter; and there were easier stairs and ladders to climb at the beginning. Then as you went up further, the slides got steeper, more windy. The ladders were taller and harder to climb. It culminated at a huge tower, with a tall ladder that led up to two crazy, windy slides!
The ramp was fun and easy to move along. We spent a lot of time running back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…. and I’m tired again.
Throughout the path, there were many different activities along the railings that kept him busy! Wheels, spinners, and sensory tubes; they gave him reasons to stop along his way and play for a few minutes.
There are many ways to enter the playscape, besides the main entrance. Some are easier to climb.
Others, not so much… These would be the climbing structures better suited for the older kids. My guy didn’t even attempt to climb one of these.
The play structure has several slides, a couple that are tamer and easier for the little kids to go down.
This slide was on the milder side; but since it was metal, we did not attempt to try it since it was pretty hot under that bright sun!
The end point of this huge playscape is this giant tower, with tons of ladders and climbing structures set off of it, and two awesome slides!
To get to the top, you have to go up a ladder, which my child had NO fear in climbing up it. I, on the other hand, was having a mini-stroke every time he did it. And while he was doing pretty amazing at it, I still was panicking every time. My rotors were definitely in full force that morning!
The top of the tower was fully enclosed so it was completely safe. Of course, there was a hole for the ladder but I noticed the kids up there were all super careful around it. There was a little bench up there and different areas to look out over the edge at the ground below.
The only way off this platform was either going back down the ladder, or sliding down one of the slides. One slide was completely open, but twisted around to the bottom. For some reason, my child had no interest in this one.
Oh no, he was way more interested in this insanity: a fully enclosed twisting, turning tube slide.
Let me tell you all something, if your child convinces you do climb up to the top of this tower and go down that slide, just say no. NO. Uh-uh. Nope. Nada. No way. My mother in law looked at me like I was completely crazy for going down that madness. And I have to agree. My neck still hurts.
Around the main playscape, you’ll find tons more to do including lots of things to climb on, swing from or hide under. Some were definitely designed for the older kids; but there was plenty to keep my toddler entertained!
He especially liked this thing. I still am not sure what it is or how it was intended to work. But he liked rolling on it and it kept him occupied for a while!
One thing you probably have noticed about Adam’s Adventure is that it is in full sun. It was hot. There isn’t a ton of shade cover, so you need to plan ahead with sunblock and hats. Also, bring lots of water. Technically no food or drink is allowed in the play area but honestly, we had our bottle of water on hand because it was necessary that day!
Another thing you have probably noticed is that the ground is completely covered with soft materials. There is no mulch or sand or dirt, it’s either foam or AstroTurf. It made any falls or tumbles a little softer, and it also allows for full accessibility with wheelchairs and strollers.
A special feature in Adam’s Adventure was this huge sensory play area. You’ll also notice it provides shade. So this made for a nice escape from the intense sun.
We enjoyed this area with the different musical instruments, including drums, bells, a xylophone, and other music players.
Of course, no playground is complete without swings. There are regular swings, two baby swings, and two accessible swings available.
The one thing I did not see in this playground were benches. However, a quick peek on the Facebook page for Adam’s Adventure shows that they will be installing benches in July, complete with shading. That will be a welcome addition since it was hot on this playground, and it was exhausting chasing this child around. Plus, I could have used a place to pass out after my bad decision to slide down that tube.
Overall though, this was a phenomenal playground! It’s the kind of playground that you look at and say, how do I get one of these in my neighborhood? It really is great for all ages, despite the recommendations on the equipment. Some things were definitely more geared towards older kids, but my 3-year-old had a great time using what he could. If he couldn’t climb one thing, he moved on and found something else he could manage. I wish this wasn’t such a drive from our house; otherwise, we would be here every day. If you live in the area, you are super lucky. I still would recommend checking Adam’s Adventure out at least once this summer! It’s a really great playground!
This about sums it up…
Cross Farms Recreation Area – 167 Rhodes Road – Tolland, Connecticut
Hours: Open Daily – Dawn to Dusk
- Foam padded ground cover, AstroTurf
- Stroller and wheelchair accessible
- Open Design with a large playscape, slides, swings, climbing structures, and more
- Sensory Area with musical instruments
- No food or beverages allowed in play area
- Benches to be installed in July 2017
- Picnic area located outside of the play area under a covered pavilion
- Large parking lot with plenty of available spaces
- Sunny Playground (not much shade in the play area)
- Bathrooms located at pavilion
- Fully fenced in playground