Cow Meadow Park
|Cow Meadow Park in Freeport features a number of athletic fields overlooking a busy marina, a bayside nature trail and a state-of-the-art playground.|
Cow Meadow Park functions as both an active park and a nature preserve, with lots of recreational facilities right alongside plenty of open space. There are two main parking areas, both of which are paved and well-marked. The first entrance takes you behind the playground, closer to the basketball courts and the marina. The second entrance leads to the front lot where you can easily access the playgrounds and the nature trail.
The main playground at Cow Meadow Park features two large playsets, one intended for smaller children and one for bigger kids. The larger set boasts four long and steep slides which descend from two different covered pavilions. This particular slide has such a high angle, it looks like it belongs in a water park. All four slides give fast rides and the construction is very sturdy. Kids can choose from a number of options to climb up to the slide platforms, including a challenging pair of rock walls.
The smaller set features a gentle paired slide and two short curved slides. There are simple steps for getting onto the play area, as well as a set of lillypad steps. A tunnel inside a flying fish gives a whimsical spot for little ones to explore.
The play surface at Cow Meadow Park is really terrific. It's a high-quality artificial turf that looks just like real grass. It provides enough traction for running around, and yet it's very soft and forgiving on falls. Our guess is that it probably requires a lot of maintenance, but we'd sure like to see this kind of surface at more playgrounds.
At the center of playground there is a large anchored rocker that looks like a boat. There is seating on board for a number of children, and it rocks very easily. Locating the boat over blue padding amidst the green grassy surface is a nice touch, this whole playground was planned very well.
There are two sets of swings at Cow Meadow Park, one standard bank with eight swings and one toddler bank with four swings. One minor complaint is that the swingsets are on different sides of the playground, so if you have kids who use both you're going to have to split up. But both swingsets are fenced in, as is the whole playground. There is a padded tile surface under the swings, but it's a nice light color that doesn't reflect too much heat from the sun. The swings are all new and in great shape. The toddler swings, in particular, feature soft plastic construction (rather than the typical rubber) and have nice high backs to accommodate even the smallest kids.
Between the toddler swings and the playground there is this large spray area for cooling off on those hot summer days. The public restrooms are convieniently located right next to the playground, and there are beverage vending machines there as well.
A second, older playground can be found on the southern end of the park, near the entrance to the nature trail. This is a fine stop if you're heading onto the trail, or if you're going to use the many picnic tables, grills and pavilions that are located in this area. The playset itself, however, just brings into relief just how great the new set is.
The nature trail at Cow Meadow Park is a quarter-mile walk through a number of wetland habitats. The trail itself is mostly wood mulch and sand, so taking a stroller through might be a bit of a struggle. The marina and boardwalk here is a nice place to take a walk and look at the boats. This park is a major haven for geese, so be prepared to have to clean off everyone's sneakers when you get home.
Cow Meadow ParkOfficial Site: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/
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