By Naz Lim
Before the winter chill sets in, and provided you’re not in lockdown, get outside and take the kids out to the park. There are a few parks that have excellent, free outdoor playgrounds for the kids (and I’m not talking about the exercise equipment for the elderly found at most community areas). Below is a list of free playgrounds at parks, as well as some picnic friendly parks. In addition, you can also find free padded playground areas near local malls, so look out for those on your next trip!
Jing’an Park (静安公园)
1649 Nanjing West road, Jing’an (next to Jingan Temple station, line 2/7/14, exit 15)
The grass at this park is a no go, unless there is an event (like the jazz festival), but there is a small playground with a slide, some activity walls and spring horses. If your child likes cats, they can walk around the park to look for the many cats that live in the park, or “climb the mountain”/ walk up the rock paths near the lake.
Zhongxing Park (中兴公园)
799 Zhongxing road, Jing’an (next to Zhongxing station, line 8, exit 1)
This park has a large outdoor padded area that includes a ropes course, multiple long and short slides (open or tubular) and a few boulder-shaped climbing walls. This park also has a small trampoline built into the ground, activity wall, sandpit, seesaws and swings. It’s a good option for an older child who is able to run and climb.
Suzhou Creek Riverside (苏州河滨江)
Access from the Butterfly Park, 29 East Kangding Road, Jing’an – Multiple entry points, such as behind m50 art district and 1000 trees shopping mall or Butterfly Park
The recently renovated walking/running path along Suzhou creek has pockets of lawn that is not restricted and dog (or any pet) friendly. There are spring horses for the kids (or adults) randomly placed along the path. Some parts of the path may still be under construction.
Xuhui Riverside Green Space (徐汇滨江绿地)
Intersection of Dong’an road and Longteng avenue (closest metro is Longhua Middle Road station, line 7/12, exit 5).
This area is popular for picnics, as well as bouldering/climbing, slacklining, rollerblading, skateboarding and music practice. It is also pet friendly and has multiple dog parks/enclosures nearby where dogs can be let off leash.
Aisi Children’s Park (爱思儿童公园)
499 Hailun road, Hongkou (closest metro is Hailun road station, line 10, exit 5)
This children’s park has a padded area with multiple playgrounds (for younger or older kids), slides, activity walls and a ropes course.
Suzhou Creek Mengqing Garden Environmental Protection Theme park (苏州河梦清园环保主题公园)
66 Yichang road, Putuo (closest metro is Jiangning road station, line 13, exit 4)
Situated on Suzhou creek, near the 1000 trees shopping mall and M50 art district, this park has a playground equipped with open and tubular slides, ropes course and a climbing wall. There is also a small area that kids are using as a sandpit, but it may be an unfinished garden bed. The lake and creek also has small fish that children are welcome to catch using their own tools.
Jianmin Green park (建民绿地公园)
79 Jiaotong road, Putuo (closest metro is Zhongtan road station, line 3/4, exit 4)
Padded playground with slides, monkey bars, climbing ropes, swings and seesaws.
Shanghai Zoo (上海动物园)
2381 Hongqiao road, Changning (next to Shanghai Zoo station, line 10, exit 4)
Entry fee 40rmb/adult, 20rmb/child. Has a large lush lawn in the middle that is perfect for picnics, and also, kids love zoo animals.
Zhongshan Park (中山公园)
780 Changning road (next to Zhongshan park station, line 2, exit 4).
Large areas of grass popular for picnics, tanning and frisbee throwing.
Minhang Cultural park (闵行文化公园)
2019 Wuzhong road, Minghang (closest metro is Hangzhong road station, line 10, exit 3)
A large picnic friendly park. Playground is on padded flooring or sand, with multiple tubular and open slides, swings, activity walls, spring horses and an obstacle course.
Nanxiang Sewage Treatment Plant Park (南翔污水厂公园)
Northeast corner of Kesheng road and Shunfeng road intersection
The name isn’t terribly inviting, however this park has a large padded area with tunnels, slides leading to a sandpit, climbing walls, swings and a wooden obstacle course.
Yuedong Park (悦动公园)
150 meters from Jinxiu East road and Jinhuai road intersection (closest metro is Yunshun road station, line 14, exit 1)
Has a large playground on grass and padded flooring. Includes slides, swings, spring horses, seesaws, ropes course, climbing walls and a sandpit area.
Qiantan Leisure Park (前滩休闲公园)
5 meters from the intersection of Qiantan avenue and Gaoqing West road (closest metro is Oriental Sports Centre, line 6/8/11, exit 4)
Large playground on a sandpit near the Bund. Also has multiple playground areas on padded flooring, climbing walls, activity walls and ropes course. Popular on weekends, so expect some crowds. Bring your beach toys and enjoy!
Jinqiao Park (金桥公园)
408 Taierzhuang road, Pudong (closest metro is Taierzhuang station, line 9, exit 1)
Has a large playground with slides and a climbing area. There are also some ducks and fish you can feed at the lake.
1001 Jinxiu road (next to Century Park station, line 2, exit 4).
Nice for picnics and light sports (no teams, but a few people throwing or kicking a ball is ok). Popular on weekends, very tent friendly and there is a small farm and playground for the kids for 58rmb entry fee.
Shanghai Binjiang Forest park (上海滨江森林公园)
3 Lingqiao Gaoshatan, Gaoqiao town
A popular park for picnics/day camping, has a few playgrounds inside.