I know how hard it is to get young kids out of the house to go somewhere - even quick outings require you to pack enough snacks, diapers, and toys to make you think you’ll be gone for a week. And who wants to wrestle kids in and out of carseats just to find out that your destination isn’t kid-friendly? That’s why I’ve decided to visit Triangle area sites to see if they’re worth your trip. I won’t use a rating system but I’ll try to describe what you’ll see well enough for you to decide if your kids would find it interesting. I’ll also give you the heads up on bathrooms, stroller accessibility and any other SNAFUs I encounter.


Pullen Park - Raleigh

Park Website

        My wife and I had taken my preschooler to Pullen before it closed for renovations so when I went after the reopening I was able to appreciate the before and after effect. The transformation is dramatic yet you can still appreciate the original setting of the Park. Now, all of the buildings are color coordinated and attractive crests with the initials PP adorn each one. The restrooms received the most dramatic makeover - they're so clean and well furnished with a changing table in the Men's Room. The Cafe is one of the newest additions and helps to draw the crowds away from the playground equipment during the noon hour.

        The playground features four different areas: a school-age structure, a preschool structure, a sand and water play area, and a swing set with ADA compliant swings. My toddler wanted to stay in the school-age area with its' periscope and twisty slides. There is also a very large spider web that older children can climb. The full-size caboose is still there and its' interior got a fresh coat of paint. My toddler really liked playing in there as well.

The school-age play structure

       All of the rides received upgrades. The kiddie boats got some much needed help - the water doesn't look toxic anymore. The carousel is housed inside an enclosed structure that enables it to be open all year. The train station now sports some fancy wrought iron work and the train itself is shinier than ever. Even the landscaping and bridges along the railway were spruced up. Riding the train is a great way to see all of the renovations because it loops around the part of the Park that had the most work done. My toddler - a train fanatic - was most excited to board the train and wave to all of the passing pedestrians. In fact, the train was really the only amusement he wanted to ride.

      I don't remember how the rides were operated before the renovations but now you have to have tickets for the train, kiddie boats, paddle boats, and carousel. Tickets can be purchased from the large building across from the Cafe. After the conversion of dollars to tickets, the price per ride, per person is $1, except the paddle boats which is $5. The ticket booth takes credit/debit cards and the best part is that tickets don't expire, so if you don't use them all in one day you can use them the next time you come.

      Finding parking will probably be difficult for awhile as landscapers, working on finishing touches, have their large vehicles taking up valuable spaces. The crowds coming out to see the renovations will also be large for awhile, but we still did not have to wait too long to ride the train. I did happen to lose my infant's pacifier somewhere between the train station and the playground so if anyone finds it, send it to Capt. Dad, P.O. Box........

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