Travelling in any city with kids is always a little different. The normal touristy things aren’t always that exciting for kids and after awhile, they need a break to burn off some energy. But what kid doesn’t love a playground? Below we’ve listed some of the best playgrounds in Dartmouth, NS, guaranteed to keep your kids happy while you visit the East Coast.

Today we’d planned a playground walk, thanks to a helpful map of downtown Dartmouth.  Yes, we did the tourist thing and used a map but it was a great map for kids, as it had pictures of the playgrounds on it so they could figure out where we were going. (I had lived in Dartmouth before but only briefly and not with kids, so this was all new to me.)

You can either start from the Dartmouth ferry terminal, or if you’re on the Halifax side, take the ferry over! For $2.50 – exact change needed – you can take the short ferry ride across the harbour and even sit on the top deck for some great views of the harbour. (Leaving from Halifax, take the ferry to Alderney Landing, not Woodside). For an extra treat, there are some candy machines in the lobby – where else can you get candy for a quarter still?

Exiting the Alderney terminal, turn right and cross the train tracks. There’s a big set of steps up to the main road but before you start up the steps, turn right and follow the paved path. It’s a great path for runners and bikers so beware as you’re walking. The path continues up to the Shubenacdie Canal. It’s not a playground, but the boys wanted to see Seamore the Turtle. Turns out that he’s not a real turtle,  but plants and stones made into the shape of a turtle. They were slightly disappointed but soon forgot about it, thanks to the ducks in the canal. They could have happily stayed there longer, but there were other things we wanted to see on our walk.   

Seamore the Turtle - not a playground, but kids will still love visiting it.

Leaving Seamore, we headed up to Sullivan’s Pond. Pond doesn’t really do it justice – it’s actually quite large! Crossing the bridge, the boys bee-lined right for the water. (They love anything to do with the water and could sit for hours at the edge, either pretending to fish with a stick or throwing in whatever is handy). Further along the path is a gazebo, which the boys liked climbing up. There’s also the swans. The swans are well-loved and given the right-of-way on the path. They’re also not always friendly, so keep your distance!

Just across the road was the highlight of the walk! Along the path, just before the playground, was a few pieces of exercise equipment. It was geared towards adults, but that didn’t stop the boys from trying it out. They loved the elliptical and the shoulder press, if somebody would push them up.

The exercise equipment close to Lake Banook is a great for adults but kids also love playing on it.

Soon the lure of the playground got to the boys and they headed over to explore. It’s a great playground, overlooking Lake Banook. From the climbing nets to balancing steps, slides to a climbing wall, there was something for kids of all ages. Once again, the boys could have stayed longer, but we still had another playground to stop at.

It was a quick, and downhill walk back to the ferry terminal. When you reach the ferry terminal, turn left and there’s the Kiwanis park. It’s a great way to spend a few minutes waiting for the ferry. The train tracks run behind the park, and if you’re lucky, you might see a train pass by! (Yes, there’s a fence between the park and the train tracks).

If you have a bit more time – and energy! – take the ferry over to the Halifax side. The ferry ride is always a huge hit with kids. One of the boys’ favourite parts of the ride is when the ferry docks; they like to sit right at the front and wait for the “bump”!

Leaving the ferry terminal, either direction will take you along the boardwalk. But if you turn left and walk a few minutes, you’ll come across yet another play area.

Right on the waterfront boardwalk, the submarine playground and the big wave are big highlights for kids. The submarine play structure is right across from the tourist information building. If you don’t see the orange submarine, you’ll see the parents sitting on the steps of the tourist info building! The boys loved the submarine; it’s not huge but they easily spent the better part of an hour there (and this was at the end of the day!). Across from the submarine is the large wave, which is an iconic part of the Halifax boardwalk. Although there is a sign saying it’s unsafe to climb and slide down, there were lots of kids – big and small – sliding down.

It was starting to get late and had been a full day for us, so we called it day and vowed we’d do it again some other day!

Related Posts:

15 Things to do in Halifax with Kids

Peggy’s Cove – an Easy Day Trip from Halifax

Check out our Destinations section for ideas and kid-friendly places to travel to.

For other tips on travelling with kids, be sure to check out our Tips for Travelling section.

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