Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen
The summer holidays are in full swing and that means that play parks are becoming a very regular fixture here. Being out of the city, and a non driver, Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen is never our first choice, but the stars aligned this week and we enjoyed a play date and picnic one rainy afternoon (because a picnic isn’t a picnic unless you have to huddle under a tree in the rain, right?) with 2 friends and their children.
Hazlehead Park is set in over 180 hectares, and boasts many features, including a rose garden, maze, playpark, cafe and newly refurbished Pet’s Corner. With 6 kids under the age of 5 between us, we didn’t get the chance to explore the park too widely, but you could quite happily while away many hours there if you and your little ones have the inclination!
Compared to the other large park in Aberdeen, Duthie Park, Hazlehead’s play park area lets the side down a little. I felt the equipment is looking a bit tired, and in need of a good spruce up. That said, the playpark area is directly in front of a large grassy picnic area, where you can pitch up to keep an eye on the kids if they are big enough to play independently. My youngest was a bit underwhelmed by the age appropriate climbing frames, then frustrated that the rest were all too big, but my eldest was more than happy running around playing and getting stuck in to digging in the wood chip with the sit on spinning tractors. There is a huge amount of space, so it never felt too busy despite dozens of families there, but it isn’t enclosed, so if you have a wee wanderer on your hands, then you may need to keep an extra close eye!
The heavens opened at this point, and we waited it out till the rain had passed before hitting the cafe. Hazlehead Park cafe is beautifully decorated, and is a popular choice for parties and functions, with its duck egg blue walls and rustic styling. We managed to find a table, despite the crowds hiding from the rain, and grabbed a drink for us and some snacks for the kids. There is a small area you can park a buggy outside, but you can bring them in if you need too. As well as the usual tea/cakes/fruit options, they offer breakfast and lunch, and there is also an ice cream stand outside. The cafe and toilets are relatively close to the park, which is particularly handy with potty training toddlers/a knackered pelvic floor! You’ll also find a baby change area inside the cafe, which is clean and easily accessible. And if you are on the charity anchor trail, then just outside the cafe is where to look!
The biggest draw for our visit was the newly refurbished Pets Corner, especially having caught word of there being new baby meerkats! (there is a small charge to enter the Pets Corner, we were £6 for 2 adults, and 4 kids under 5) The children’s favourite part of the Pets Corner visit was the new indoor area for the fish and reptiles, which was also temporarily housing the meerkats while they wait for their forever home to be ready. My two particularly liked the big yellow python, while I enjoyed watching the mellow fish casually cruising round their tanks. Outside, there are goats, rabbits, birds of all shapes and sizes, some rather forlorn looking donkeys and this handsome fellow amongst others!
Even with a good old Aberdeen downpour, we managed to while away an afternoon quite easily, and we all ended up with sleeping children, tired out from the fresh air and fun! Hazlehead Park has a little something for everyone, and should definitely be on your summer holiday to do list. We are looking forward to going back to have a go at finding our way through the maze soon!