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Last weekend, we traveled to Monterey to help celebrate two very special birthdays in my family, plus the 25th anniversary of the world class Monterey Bay Aquarium. While it goes without saying that the aquarium is glorious and is a must-see for any family traveling to or through Monterey, CA, it’s the unexpected OTHER attraction that I’m even more excited to share. (And unlike the aquarium, it’s free!)

“Dennis the Menace Playground” is located in the heart of El Estero Park in Monterey, on a small peninsula surrounded by waters navigable by rented paddle boat. The sprawling play park was created by the author of the Dennis the Menace comic strip as a gift to the city, and has something for kids of all ages, with baby swings and a separate fenced toddler playground on up to a climbing wall and skate park for teens.

Its more unique features include the wide suspension bridge, a small shrub labyrinth with play structure in the center, and the fabulous red-roller slide popular with preschoolers and tweens alike. The retired Southern Pacific steam engine at the entrance is also a popular climbing structure.

More tips for your visit:
- Bring a picnic or buy burgers and refreshments at the booth on the parking lot.
- The playground is open daily from 10 a.m. to dusk, and is closed on non-holiday Tuesdays Sept. through May.
- The Monterey Municipal Beach is across Del Monte Ave. from the park and offers great late-day lighting for pictures with its rare (for the West Coast) northern orientation.
- Click here to see a Google map with Dennis the Menace Playground.

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This post is part of  Photo Friday at Head over there for more fun travel shots and ideas for your own travels.

Safe journey,

Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children 

Kid Friendly Travel Blog on Raveable

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11 Responses to The OTHER great place you’ve got to see in Monterey, California?

  1. Sarah V. says:

    That park looks awesome! Thanks so much for sharing. I'll definitely keep it in mind if we ever find ourselves in Monterey.

  2. Sharlene says:

    I have been wanting to check that park out for years! Next time we are in Monterey it goes to the top of the list!

  3. maria says:

    That park looks great! What an amazing place for kids.

  4. familyadventureguidebooks says:

    Last time we were in Monterey we went to this park twice! It's our favorite and of course great because its free.

  5. Glennia/The Silent I says:

    We love this park, too! Lots of fun, especially for younger kids.

  6. Debbie says:

    I was born in Pebble Beach and this was my favorite childhood playground. What a treat to see recent pictures! Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. Marina K. Villatoro says:

    My boy would love that place. It looks great for small kids.

  8. Rachael says:

    I literally grew up at this park! I have so many wonderful memories there! The train…hedge maze…lion water fountain…HUGE slides…the helicopter (no longer there for safety reasons)! We took our daughter last time we were there visiting family and of course she loved it too!

  9. Rachael says:

    have you been on the paddle boats?

  10. Shelly Rivoli says:

    Nope! We used up our last hours there (lingered much longer than we expected, naturally) and then of course had to hit the great beach across the street. Will have to go back–I love paddle boats!

  11. [...] you should save those entertaining options for when your tot is ready to take in the aquarium and Dennis the Mennis Park, or build sand castles and conquer the [...]

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