Charter Oak Park & Playground

I had never been to Charter Oak Park before, but I heard news that a brand new playground had recently been installed. This downtown Manchester playground  just re-opened at the end of July and everyone was raving about how awesome it was. Of course, we just had to go check this place out! 

Charter Oak Park is located right near the downtown Manchester exit on I-384.  It’s also just down the street from the Lutz Children’s Museum.  

(from Google Maps) 

The entrance for Charter Oak Park is just after the 384 ramp, and you’ll spot the sign for it pretty easily. 

When you enter the park, you’ll see parking on both the left and ride sides. The playground is in the center (slightly towards the right side of the parking lot). 

Now, when I say that Charter Oak Park’s playground is brand-new, I mean brand-spanking new. In fact, they were still installing the benches and pouring concrete in a few areas. There were orange cones in certain areas, and caution tape surrounding the construction areas.  The play structures were open for use and very safe. There just was no where to sit today. 

The playground has an open design. While there is a split rail fence surrounding most of the playground, it is not fully enclosed .So, it can be easy for a small child to run off into the parking lot. Just make sure you keep a close eye on any runners. We seemed to have gotten past that phase thankfully; but I’m still mindful of this kid in any playground that is not fully fenced. 

There are two playscapes geared towards different ages. A smaller playscape with gentle slides and easy to climb stairs is located towards the left. 

This area is for ages 2 to 5.  

There was a rock wall attached to this play area and a tree stump staircase! 

The two slides were located on opposite sides of the structure, one was a single slide and the other was a double slide. 

Right by this smaller playscape, there was this fun ride. This was definitely the place to be for the kids. At one point I think there may have been seven kids in this thing! They all loved sitting in it while the designated parent pushed; or sometimes the bigger kids would get out and run around in circles pushing the smaller kids! I don’t know how these kids don’t get dizzy!! 

The larger play area at Charter Oak Park’s playground was towards the right. There really is no distance between the smaller playscape and the large one; and there are also no major blindspots. This is a great playground for multiple kids varying in age since it’s easy to see everyone no matter where they are.  

The larger playscape was for ages 5 to 12 years old. It definitely had more challenging climbing features and nerve-wrecking heights! Of course, these kids have no fear and they conquer these playscapes like they’re on an episode of American Ninja Warrior.   Thankfully, as you probably noticed, this playground has a rubber ground covering  that covers the whole play area.  A small paved trail winds throughout the playground but all playscapes, swings and other free standing toys are set on top of this rubber ground. 

Of course, there is the gentle, easy way to enter this playscape. Stairs are always good. 

And then there are the “let’s give mom a heart attack” ways to climb into this playscape. 

This playscape also features a huge rope wall. My child took one look at that and said: Challenge Accepted. He amazes me with his fearlessness, and his arm strength! 

Of course, what goes up, must come down and there are a few ways down by slide. He liked this double slide especially! 

There were additional things to climb through, hang off,  balance on and swing from. 

This huge spider web in the center of the large play area was amazing. And thankfully my child went nowhere near it! 

A free-standing slide stood separately, but was in the same area as the older kid play area. The ladder to climb up to it was pretty intimidating! 

Also in this area was a zipline. I tried to steer this child away, but he had to try it once. As I stood by with my helicopter propellers whirling… Why must he be a daredevil?? 

Of course, no playground is complete without swing, and two different sets could be found here. The baby swings were located over by the little kid playscape. That had two bucket seats. The larger swing set was behind the zipline; it had standard swings and an accessible swing. 

Down past the the playground at Charter Oak Park, there was a path that led to a small brook. Some kids were even playing down in the water catching frogs and splashing around. 

A huge field separated the playground from the water, so you could easily steer the kids away from the brook if you wanted them to stay dry! 

The last feature we checked out at Charter Oak Park’s new playground was the sensory garden.  This is a beautiful area full of plants, trees and shrubbery, benches, and tons of musical instruments. He had a great time playing in this area! And it was nice to finally have a little rest for myself! 

Of course, after all that play, and lots of water drinking, we were super grateful to find this bathroom available right across from the playground! And it was unlocked! 

We had a great time checking out the new playground at Charter Oak Park! They have built an awesome play area for kids of all ages! We loved the woodland theme. There were so many different things to do; the play structures were interesting with many things to climb up, slide down, hang from, hide under and play with!  I like how the ground cover was all rubber, so it was safe for everyone and also easy to move around if you had a stroller.  The open play design is great for families with many kids to watch after; but the fence is a little nerve-wrecking. Be mindful that there are many easy ways to escape to the parking lot! The playground is full sun, so that made it pretty hot but just come prepared with hats, sunblock and water!

I loved the sensory garden and the musical instruments. The stream was a fun, different area to check out. The entire park is beautiful with so many athletic courts and fields including basketball and tennis. Parking is great too.  And having a bathroom on site is super helpful! 

Overall, they did a phenomenal job building this new playground at Charter Oak Park. I had never seen the old playground but from talking with the other moms, it sounds like this was a MAJOR upgrade! 

If you live locally, make sure you check this place out. If not, this is a great playground to take a daytrip to. You could even add on a visit to Lutz Children’s Museum while in Manchester! 

This about sums it up…

Charter Oak Street- Manchester, CT

Hours: Open Daily  – Dawn to Dusk


  • FREE!
  • Stroller and wheelchair accessible
  • Boundless playground – open design including two play areas for the smaller crowd and the older crowd
  • Swings- including baby swings and accessible swing
  • Rubber Ground Cover in the Playground area
  • Not fully fenced in – low open fence 
  • Many benches throughout the playground 
  • Sensory Garden with Musical Instruments 
  • Large parking lot with plenty of available spaces
  • Bathroom facilities Available 
  • Walking paths, Streams and Open fields to play in 


2 thoughts on “Charter Oak Park & Playground

    1. I do recall a few picnic tables by the sensory garden. However, we visited last year right as they were finishing up their renovations so I am not sure if they added more or took any of those away. There is a large grassy area that would be great for picnics if you bring a blanket (just in case there are no tables available)!

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