Looking for fun playgrounds, sports fields, and lots of green space to run and play? Check out Wardlow Park in Long Beach with your kids for a tiny taste of nature int he big city.
There are a lot of great parks in Long Beach, but outside of El Dorado Park, you’re not gonna find lots of uninterrupted green space. Wardlow Park, however, offers lots of wide open spaces for families.
It’s unique in that it offers not only a regular playground and sports fields, but it can also give kids a glimpse of what life is like outside of the city with the treeline located along the west side of the park. Adults will see it as a way to hide the aquaduct. But kids are likely to see it as magic.
Kids can climb trees, play with sticks, and create forest “houses” complete with fire pits, forage for “food” and play “lost in the woods” for hours, if you’ll let them.
There’s LOTS of reasons to love Wardlow Park in Long Beach- but here are ours.
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Planning a Visit
Wardlow Park is located in a quiet neighborhood in East Long Beach. It’s a large park, with the playgrounds located in the center of the block
Here’s the address for Googling purposes: 3457 Stanbridge Ave Long Beach, CA 90808
How is Parking at Wardlow Park?
Parking is free, and generally pretty easy at Wardlow Park. There are designated spots around the Monlaco and Stanbridge edges of the park. There is also additional street parking on both Stanbridge and Monlaco, and along Wardlow Road.
Be respectful when parking in front of homes, taking care not to block driveways or fire hydrants.
What Facilities are at Wardlow Park?
Wardlow has several great features, making it a common place for sporting events and parties.
Here’s some of the amenities:
- Two baseball diamonds with spectator stands
- Two basketball courts
- A tennis court (no net, generally used for skating or the like)
- A large “big kid” playground
- A gated “little kid” playground
- A community center
- Expansive, shady green space
- A tree line with great climbing trees
- Numerous picnic tables
Is Wardlow Park Gated?
There are two playgrounds here, located right next to each other. The Little Kid playground is gated.
The gated part of the playground features a play structure with four slides, three riding toys, and two teeter totters.
There’s also lots of room for the kids to run around and play in the sand within the gated section.
Be warned, however: there are two gates to this playground, both of which are somewhat easy for toddlers to figure out how to open. It can be a little harder to watch both exits.
Is Wardlow Park on a Busy Street?
Wardlow itself can be a busier street, but most of the facilities are on the slower streets, Stanbridge and Monlaco.
The playgrounds are definitely not near what I would call a busy street, so you should be okay there.
How are the Bathrooms at Wardlow Park?
The bathrooms at Wardlow Park are located inside of the community center, when open, and near the basketball courts. They are typical Long Beach Park bathrooms- not maintained particularly well, but usable. There are sinks with running water, but rarely soap.
If the community center bathrooms are open when you visit, we suggest using those as they are maintained more regularly.
There are also several port-a-potties located outside of each bathroom. These are largely because the bathrooms at Wardlow Park are not ADA compliant. Avoid using them when possible because, well, port-a-potties.
However, they do have portable sinks near the port-a-potties as well. You will find these are better maintained than the sinks in the restrooms, so I always send my kids to wash their hands there after using the restroom.
Does Wardlow Park have sand?
Wardlow Park has TONS of sand, and, in some seasons, ocassional issues with red ants in the large playground.
Have your kiddos keep your shoes on at this playground to avoid a bite!
My daughter, an avid sandcastle builder, also says Wardlow Park has “the good sand.” There are plenty of shaded areas that have wet sand (the kind you build sandcastles with) thorughout the day.
A water fountain nearby also helps her adjust the wetness of the sand as needed. It’s a great place to bring out the sand toys!
Is Wardlow Park Accessible for Kids of All Abilities?
Unfortunately, Wardlow Park is not accessible for kids with mobility issues.
Almost all play areas require climbing, balance, and navigating uneven surfaces to access.
If you are looking for a more accessible playground, consider visiting nearby Del Valle Park instead.
Does Wardlow Park Have Shade?
There are tons of huge, shady trees at Wardlow Park. The play structures routinely have shade throughout the day, at least on one of the structures, making it a better park for warm days.
There is also tons of shade throughout the grass area, and kids can always head to the tree line if the day warms up for cooler play.
How Many Swings are at Wardlow Park?
Wardlow has four big kid swings and two infant swings.
Whta is the best age range for Wardlow Park?
My kids have been coming to use the swings here since infancy, and the play structures since the toddler days.
The litlte kid playground is best for the under 5 set.
The big kid playground is good for kids ages 11 and under.
The sports field and wide open spaces also make Wardlow suitable for older kids and teens, as there is plenty of room to play casual games of soccer, catch, or Frisbee.
Having a Picnic at Wardlow Park
Wardlow Park is a popular picnic spot in Long Beach. You’ll often see people taking their lunch break there.
There are lots of picnic tables scattered at a distance from each other. There are several at the corner of Wardlow and Stanbridge, and several more near the playgrounds.
There is also tons of shade, so it’s a great place to bring out the picnic blanket for a meal outside.
Can you have parties at Wardlow Park?
Wardlow Park is a great place for parties, and there are always many there on the weekends.
Gatherings of 25 or more people require a permit from the City of Long Beach, so make sure to plan ahead.
People often show up early on the weekends, as space is on a first come, first space basis. There are three good party sites near the playground, and they tend to fill up quickly.
Bouncers are permitted if you included them on your permit, but outside food vendors are generally not allowed.
You may also rent out the community center for a fee.
What do we love most about Wardlow Park?
The two play structures offer just the right amount of adventure for our kids.
They don’t think of it as a “climbing park” (Whaley Park takes the cake on that), but there are tons of different ways for kids to climb up to the big kid structure (a variety of ladders, stairs, and net ladders). It’s a great place to practice balance and build strength.
The slides are also pretty long. One is a tall spiral slide, which is fantastic for sensory input.
There are also three long slides on the Big Kid playground, which go pretty fast and offer a big thrill for littler kids.
But our very favorite part of Wardlow Park is the large treeline, located at the west end of the park and running along the drainage canal (separated by a fence).
My kids love to climb trees here, build pretend fires with sticks, and play “survival” there for hours. It’s the closest I can get them to my own upbringing in the woods on a regular basis, and I let them “adventure” there for as long as they’d like.
It’s also home to several Pokestops and two Pokemon gyms. My son recently began playing PokemonGo, and hasn’t stopped begging to go to Wardlow Park every day since!
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