The Halifax waterfront submarine playground is a pretty amazing structure and my kids cite it as one of their favourites to play on. We live in the suburbs so when we take a trip downtown we always make sure to include it in our trip. When I was part of creating the 150 Coolest Playgrounds in Canada list (you can read more about that here), this was a no-brainer to include.
That being said *looks around to make sure no one is listening* I don't actually like it much myself. I know. I feel like it's anti-Halifax to say that as so many of my out-of-town friends love it so much, but I've discovered that I'm not alone. YES, it's super cool. YES, it looks fantastic and fits in well with the look of the waterfront. And, YES, even my own children love it.
But I don't. My main issues with it are that it seems like it was more designed for the look than the functionality and it just doesn't have enough to do for the crowds it draws.
Now that I've got my personal opinion out of the way, let me tell you what it does have!
It has one tall slide from the top of the submarine to the bottom.
Heads up that for smaller kids it can be a little hard to get to. There are three access points to the top of the ship - two are ladders. One is outside and one is inside...
...and the other access point is from the rope climbing structure at the back of the ship.
It has three bouncy whales that always have a line-up of kiddos eager to ride them.
It has two mini submarines - or are they mechanical fish?? - that two kids can play with at a time.
The subs come complete with levers and buttons to feel like you're really operating the submarine!
It is full of bright colours and I particularly love the ocean themed mural at the back.
This playground is really rich for imaginative play - being a submarine captain, finding hidden gems like a steel starfish attached to a rock, and the setting is, of course, stunning.
Kids can pretend they're really sailing on the ocean with the ocean view across from them.
At our recent visit the kids also had their first climb on The Wave, the art sculpture located directly across from the playground.
This is a little controversial and I wrote about why it's controversial here, but we let our kids do it within certain boundaries appropriate for their age and we all lived to tell the tale. It's clearly something you need to decide if you're comfortable allowing your child to do however.
The playground is located next to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (1675 Lower Water Street) and the Visitor Information Centre on the Halifax Waterfront.
Playground Features and Amenities
One large playground structure with a rope climbing section and two ladders to reach the top
Two smaller submarines to play in
Three bouncy sea creatures
Fair distance from the main road but no fences or gates around the play structure
Often very crowded, especially in the summer so it's important to keep a close eye on your child
Public bathrooms in the information centre beside it (seasonally open during business hours)
Parking available in paid lots adjacent to the playground, and on the streets (meters are free on weekends, paid on weekdays until 6pm)
Located on the waterfront boardwalk next to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
Mobile food stations and trucks during the warmer months
Dogs are allowed on leash
Multiple garbage/recycling disposal units