My family loves Eastgate Park, which sits in the neighborhood between Six Forks and Falls of Neuse roads in Raleigh and not too far from North Hills.
From the leafy playground to the springy teeter totter to the blue igloo, both of my kids have spent some quality time at this spot. And a bonus for parents of kids who like to run off: The playground, updated several years ago, is completely bounded by a fence.
The section for older kids, ages 5 to 12, includes slides, monkey bars, bars to hang from or swing upside down, a tunnel for climbing through and, a favorite, that blue igloo. The squat blue structure offers a place for kids to hide inside, poke their heads out and even climb on top as if they were the king or queen of the world. (In fact, I've encouraged them at times to do this, arms spread, after they've reached the top).
For younger kids, there's a smaller playset, several panels with musical instruments, a sand area and that springy teeter totter.
You'll also find both belt and bucket swings at this park.
The play area for older kids sits up a small hill from the area for younger kids. Children love to run up and down the small hill, playing tag or just to run.
Right next to the playground, you'll find tennis courts and a concrete patio area with tables, complete with checker boards, and playground games painted on top of the concrete. This is a popular area for birthday parties, picnics and get togethers.
There's also a small building available for rent. Public restrooms are open from March to November. If you follow the paved path around the side of the building, you'll come to a beautiful pond where you can sometimes see ducks and geese. The short paved path offers a great place for new bike riders and scooters.
If you walk along the pond, you'll see a memorial plaque that tells a bit about the pond. Cooper's Pond was established in 1915 by J. Cooper Young, who lived there until 1966. The city of Raleigh purchased it in 1972 to turn into the park so that the "simple beauty of the park land and water would remain for the pleasure of all of its citizens."
And this week, as the fall leaves floated down to the water's edge, I have to thank Mr. Young and those city leaders for saving something beautiful.
Watch the video tour for a closer look. Usually the playground is full of kids, but I was there early one rainy morning this week!
Eastgate Park is at 4200 Quail Hollow Dr., Raleigh. The small parking lot can get a bit crowded. You also can find parking along the street on Wingate Dr.