Dennis the Menace Park: Kicks for Kids

Road Journals Blog—The park features an array of play structures and pseudo-dangerous attractions, and manages to maintain a retro feel without sacrificing safety (parents will be happy to know the six foot high carousel has since been removed).

Dennis the Menace Park, Monterey, image

Dennis the Menace Park brings out the kid in everyone. | Kristen Haney

After I recovered from hitting the candy stores in Monterey, we drove ten minutes to Dennis the Menace Park, a children’s playground designed by Hank Ketchum, the creator of the comic strip. The park features an array of play structures and pseudo-dangerous attractions, and manages to maintain a retro feel without sacrificing safety (parents will be happy to know the six foot high carousel has since been removed). During our visit on a busy and warm weekend, it was packed with families celebrating birthdays, little kids running from one structure to the next, and us, a young couple conspicuously without a child in tow, stomping from one attraction to the next.

However, the park still appeals to kids at heart. The unstable bridge, a span of wiring and planks that sways back and forth with any rigorous movement? Close to terrifying if you’re over

water fountain at Dennis the Menace Park, Monterey, image

You can stick your head inside a lion water fountain and live to tell about it. | Kristen Haney

four feet tall and you suspect there’s a realistic chance that you could topple over the edge, but a delight if you’re small and like alarming adults by rocking back and forth quickly. We had fun sliding down the roller bridge and listening to the “whoosh” of the rollers as our body masses catapulted us down the slide way faster than the kids. By the time we had finished acting like little kids, the sun was setting and my second wind was fleeting. We drove home, exhausted but happy, after a day spent realizing we didn’t need an aquarium to make a day out of Monterey.

Tell us about your favorite children’s park.

This blog post was first published in August 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.