One of the great things about living in L.A. is being able to play outside with your kids all year round. And one of the greatest places to play is the Pirate Park in Pasadena – a.k.a. Reese’s Retreat in Brookside Park.
Now the Pirate Park is one of Pasadena’s best-kept kid secrets, but I’m going to share it with you, since we’re internet buds. Actually, this super awesome playground was personally recommended to me by a random parent I met at a different Pasadena park, so handing it down to another spontaneous acquaintance seems absolutely fitting.
One of the reasons the Pirate Park is such a secret is its out-of-the-way location. But don’t worry, it’s not hidden in the mountains, or buried underground. In fact, it’s tucked away in plain sight right behind the popular Rose Bowl Aquatic Center on 360 N Arroyo Blvd in Pasadena, a mere football’s throw from the Rose Bowl Stadium and just a hop, skip and jump away from Kidspace.
“Wait a second, you say, “I’ve been living in L.A. and I’ve been to those places and I’ve never seen the Pirate Park?”
Well, that’s because you’ve never followed the secret pathway to it. It’s right there, in plain sight, between the Aquatic Center and the tennis courts – marked by a subtle collection of sea creatures in the cement walkway. Take a look and you’ll see them. There’s a shark! And a starfish! And a crab!
Follow the creatures one by one from the parking lot, down under the vine-covered trellis to the right, and straight on ‘til daylight and thar she blows!, right behind the swimming pools and diving platforms of the RBAC, it’s the Pirate Park!
One look and you’ll know exactly why it’s called the Pirate Park. There’s a huge pirate ship play structure in the middle of the playground – with captain’s wheels and cannons and flags and bells and even a plank you can walk that juts out over a soft floor ocean.
This place has got it all! There’s even a rocking rowboat and dolphins to ride and a fun little treasure map game to play!
And when you get seasick, you and your kids can visit the sandy beach play area. Bring your shovel and pail, ‘cause there’s plenty of sand to have fun in and the little button-activated waterfall makes it easy to make sandcastles! Just be sure to watch out for the sea monster sculpture that’s right in the middle of the beach. There’s always kamikaze kids climbing up and jumping off of it. Still, they’re better than seagulls.
Another fun fact about the Pirate Park is that it’s a great place to have a picnic. You can bring your own food with you or have it delivered hot and fresh from a restaurant right to the parking lot. I tell you, you’d be hard pressed to find a dining venue that’s more fun for your family than the Pirate Park. Just be sure to watch out for those scurvy squirrels, they’re been known to plunder a picnic or two.
Oh, it’s a pirate’s life in L.A. and the Pirate Park is the best place for your little sea dogs to play, hands and hooks down. Arrrr!