The Regatta Playground opened in the summer of 2014 and is a stand alone feature of the South Mountain Recreation Complex. Signage was easy to find directing visitors towards parking which is available across the street (with picnic tables adjacent to the lot). The five minute walk from parking put us on a beautiful path which included a paddle awning, passing adirondack chairs overlooking the water, and meticulous landscaping. It was a pleasant walk. The nautical themed playground is certainly creative and has whimsical touches that should certainly be praised. From the foam ground to the Lion’s Pride, the ship that centers the large children’s playground, to the USS Essex First (which is the sailboat at the center of the small children’s playground) to the ample seating, this was well a thought out design.
The Regatta Playground is located at the South Mountain Recreation Complex at 9 Cherry Lane in West Orange. This West Orange playground is near Turtle Back Zoo. Free parking for the Regatta Playground and the South Mountain Recreation Complex is available across the street.
Get to know Regatta Playground at the South Mountain Recreation Complex through our details, pictures, and video below. We’ve taken our 2014 Regatta Playground review and updated it with new information, pictures, and a video.
What you need to know about the Regatta Playground at South Mountain Recreation Complex
The Regatta Playground also goes by these park names:
- South Mountain Recreation Complex playground
- Lion’s Pride playground
- Regatta Park
Regatta Playground hours
For the Regatta Playground hours visit the Essex County Parks website.
Regatta Playground bathroom
The Regatta Playground has bathrooms located at the South Mountain Recreation Complex, a short walk from the playground.
Regatta Playground tables and pavilions
Tables are available at the Regatta Playground. They look like mushrooms. In the South Mountain Recreation Complex, near the bathrooms, are a number of tables covered by a pavilion as well. Additional seating is available along the walkways.
Is shade available at the Regatta Playground?
The Regatta Playground offers limited shade under the pavillion and with trees along the perimeter of the playground.
Regatta Playground features
The Regatta Playground has 2 playgrounds.
Watch our video tour of Regatta Playground below.
The first playground features The Lion’s Pride, a large children’s playground with a soft foam-like, wave-like, rubberized safety ground surface.
- Top Level
- Telescopes on both sides of ship
- Large rock wall
- Four slides
- Several other climbing structures
- Lower Level
- Monkey bars
- Two large rock structures (literally shaped like rocks)
- Each structure contains two rock walls framing what looks like a spider web
- Balance beam
- The balance beam looks like a horizontal ladder with a rope overhanging for additional support
- Framing the balance beam are multiple mushrooms on one side and tree stumps on the other
- Musical Stand
- Multiple drums and rattles for children to explore
The second playground, a small toddler playground for ages 6-23 months also has a soft foam-like, wave-like rubberized safety ground surface.
- Main feature is sailboat called USS Essex First
- 4 slides
- Mini climbing structure
- Forest (go to our facebook page to check out photos of this structure)
- Drum stand (two sets of drums)
- Log for small children to practice walking
- Telephone in the shape of a flower
Other Regatta Playground equipment includes
- 2 large children swings
- 2 infant/toddler swings
- Dragonfly seesaw
- 3 spinning sticks
- Several balance beams
- Large spinner
- Adirondack chairs surrounding playground
Regatta Playground Trails
At the South Mountain Recreation Complex there is a 1.7 mile reservoir walking path to and from the Regatta Playground as well as around the lake.
Regatta Playground Fields
We did not see any fields during our visit to the Regatta Playground at the South Mountain Recreation Complex.
Our Regatta Playground review
We’re sharing three reasons why we love the Regatta Playground in West Orange, New Jersey.
- The Regatta Playground adds to the diverse options available at the South Mountain Recreation Complex. Located near the Essex County Paddle Boats, Safari Miniature Golf, and the Turtle Back Zoo, it offers families the option to couple the visit with another feature. I overheard a family that had already spent a sufficient amount of time at the playground, mention going to the Turtle Back Zoo. At the same time, it is such an outstanding playground that it is can be a stand alone trip.
- The diversity of features on a playground this size means there is plenty for everyone. We visited this West Orange playground on a busy afternoon with a packed parking lot and my children were not competing for any of the cool features available on the playground. The large ship, called the Lion’s Pride, is the focal point of the large children’s playground. It’s perimeter offers many climbing options as well as slides and stairs. The top level contains space to run while underneath there are beams and monkey bars. The small children’s playground features the sailboat playground, called the USS Essex First, which also includes slides and a mini rock wall. Surrounding and in between are balance beams, rock walls, spinners, a seesaw in the shape of a dragon fly, and seating.
- The design encourages visitors to stay. The seating options are wonderful. Brightly colored adirondack chairs surround the entire playground. If you want to bring a book and relax as the kids play, then you have someplace to sit comfortably. Tables and chairs in the shape of mushrooms are spread throughout the playground. If you brought a lunchbox, then you have someplace to enjoy a snack. On the path to the playground are more adirondack chairs in case you want to take a break overlooking the water. As well there was another area covered that had picnic tables. Lastly, there are picnic tables by the parking lot. It feels as though the designers of the Regatta Playground not only want people to visit but they want them to stay.
Make sure to bring your camera as Regatta Playground does make for an amazing background for pictures.
To see more pictures of Regatta Playground visit this photo album on Facebook.
For more information or to reserve the park visit the Essex County Parks website.
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