Note: The spray park area at Prairie Winds park will be undergoing some much needed renovations this summer (2014). The large wading pool will be unaffected and will be open along with the other city of Calgary wading pools and spray parks. The new design looks pretty cool – they hope to have the spray park open in late July/early August, 2014.
Originally posted Wednesday, July 20, 2011 – updated July 11, 2012
Community: Westwinds/Castleridge – 233 Castleridge Blvd. NE.
Parking: There is a free parking lot at the North end of the park as well as a smaller lot on the south side.
Surrounding Park Area: Huge hill that is great for tobogganing, pathways, covered picnic area, baseball diamond, tennis courts, gazebo, soccer field. There is a man-made creek that runs through the park but is not currently running. Winter: ice skating rinks (pleasure skating only) and cross country skiing. Click here for a review of the park area itself.
[Update: the old wooden playground has been replaced by a brand new playground. Review of the new playground – July 2012 is below]
Prairie Winds South Playground
Gordie’s Review (3 years old) – I liked the bridge
Age Range: 0-12
Ground Cover: Pour in place recycled tire
Features: climber with ramp, bridge, catwalk, slides, over-head climbers; merry-go-round spinner; standing bouncer; standing spinner; 2 saucer swings
Shade: Some shade just outside the play area.
Seating: there are a few benches at the playground and lots of benches and picnic tables in the surrounding area.
Accessibility: The ramps and accessible flooring make this a great playground for kids who use wheelchairs or are just unsteady on their feet. The play space isn’t too crowded enabling kids to get right into the play almost everywhere. The saucer swings and merry-go-round spinner are able to be used by kids who can transfer and/or don’t have great motor control.
Overall assessment: We ended up having to go to this playground twice before I was able to write up a review. The first time we went in the evening it was so busy there was no way I could manage to take any pictures. It was really amazing seeing just how many kids this playground can handle. The merry-go-round spinner is well balanced and very popular – tons of kids can all play on it at once and have a great time. This playground is great for really little kids with the ramps and smooth flooring, but still has climbing equipment that will challenge older kids too. The swings and merry-go-round spinner are also great for small kids and big kids although when the playground is really busy little kids don’t get much of a chance at the spinner. Gordie loved running around the ramps and bridges down the slide and back again. If you’re looking for a great playground where you’re almost guaranteed to not be alone, I’d highly recommend this one.
Prairie Winds Wading Pool and Spray Park
Note: The spray park area at Prairie Winds park will be undergoing some much needed renovations this summer. The large wading pool will be unaffected and will be open along with the other city of Calgary wading pools and spray parks. The new design looks pretty cool – they hope to have the spray park open in late July/early August.
Typically open from mid-June until Labor Day. Open 9am-9pm June and July. and 9am-7pm August through Heritage Day.
[update: this year a non-stick spray was applied to the water flooring and I found it to be much less slippery]
Gordie’s Review (2 years old): Slippery. [update: Gordie (age 3): Loved walking in the pool!]
Age Range: all ages.
Ground Cover: painted concrete
Features: Large wading pool area and smaller spray park area with low wading pool. Washrooms and concession are open seasonally.
Accessibility: The whole area is accessible, but the wheelchair would be sitting in the water even at the spay park area.
Shade: The shade is pretty limited. If you looking for shade, your best bet is to go to the far side with the grass and sit under a tree. This won’t be a great spot to supervise young kids from though, as it is the deeper end and there is a barrier you would need to get under to get to them. It would be a good idea to bring a park/beach umbrella if you have one.
Seating: Plenty of benches and picnic tables.
Overall assessment: This is Calgary’s biggest outdoor water play area. The wading pool is huge and you can have several day camp groups there and still have lots of room to play. It gets deeper than most wading pools at the southern end so you’ll want to watch your little kids. They’ll be able to stand there easily, but may not be able to keep their head above the water sitting. The other thing to note is that the painted areas of the pool and spray park are quite slippery. Gordie had some difficulty last year and even this year slipped a lot in the spray park area. I ended up having to hold his hand the whole time. My friend’s almost 3 year old and 4 year old did fine though. [note: no longer slippery in 2012]
Most of the features at the spray park were not working while we were there in the morning but were by noon when we left. [update: they were working when we were there in 2012] There is standing water in this area as well but it is much lower. So regardless of whether the sprays are working, it can still be a great spot for little kids.
Prairie Winds Lions Playground (near the water park)
Gordie’s Review (2 years old) – I need help!
Age Range: 5-12
Ground Cover: pea gravel.
Features: Two large play structures with 5 slides; Lion shaped climber; 10 swings (4 infant swings).
Shade: Little shade.
Seating: 5 benches, many picnic tables nearby.
Stroller/wheelchair access: Could get to the outside of the play area if you are able to go through grass.
Overall assessment: The play ground equipment at this playground is no longer in great shape. It still uses the wood platforms which are now being replaced in most playgrounds and the paint is chipping extensively. That being said it was well used by a group of school-aged kids while we were there who seemed to be having a great time.
It really doesn’t have much to offer for little kids though. Gordie managed to get up quite high but found it difficult to get back down. Playing on the ground level was also problematic as there are monkey-bar style equipment that criss cross everything making it kind of hazardous if the play structure is being used by older kids. If you have older kids though, it definitely still has a lot of play value.
Have you been to this playground? Have a suggestion for a playground review? Would you like to write a guest review? Write your thoughts in the comments.