The best part about the playground at north Raleigh's Optimist Park is that it's shaded. Tall hardwoods cover the main play set and bouncy toys, providing a cooler spot to play at on a warm spring or summer day.
And if the kids do get hot, you can just hop over to Optimist Park's year round and seasonal pools, which sit on the other side of those trees. The complex features a year-round 50-meter x 25-yard Olympic-size swimming pool and a seasonal wading pool and diving well. The seasonal operations being on May 13 at Optimist this year.
The playground here offers pretty standard fare - slides, climbing pieces, belt swings and bouncy rides, including a four seater, which you don't often see. Sand is the surface here. There are no sand toys, but there is plenty of sand if you bring your own.
You'll find some benches and picnic tables nearby. And the park's community center, which offers a variety of programs for kids to adults, is right next to the playground.
For a closer look, watch my video tour.
Find Optimist Park at 5900 Whittier Dr., Raleigh, near North Hills.