3 New Kids Playgrounds in Sarasota & Bradenton

6 mins read

These are the new playgrounds in Sarasota and Bradenton that opened in 2024.

Find out where the new splash pads are.

Learn where to go before they get too crowded.

Let’s jump right in.

New Sarasota Playground in Bayfront Park

Here are the newest playgrounds in Sarasota and Bradenton:

  1. Tom Bennett Park
  2. Waterside Park
  3. Bayfront Park

Tom Bennett Park

280 Kay Rd, Bradenton, FL 34208

Manatee County just opened a new playground at Tom Bennett Park in Bradenton, FL. Designed to be accessible for all children, including those with disabilities. This playground is the first of its kind in Manatee county and ensures that every child can enjoy playing in a safe environment.

Tom Bennett Plaground includes ramps that lead to different play structures, making it easy for children who use wheelchairs or walkers. There are also slides, climbing nets, and a climbing wall designed to be safe and fun for all kids.

One great feature is a merry-go-round that is wheelchair-accessible, allowing children in wheelchairs to experience the fun. There are also zip lines with special seats designed for accessibility. The playground is covered with shade! Finally! This protects kids from the sun and uses astroturf for soft landings. Artificial turf is safer and more manageable for children.

Within the next year, the county expects to add an ADA-accessible splash pad. Providing more fun activities for children, especially during Florida summers.

The Bradenton Kiwanis Club played a significant role in making this playground a reality. They donated $784,000 in May 2023 for the construction and worked closely with the county to design this playground. The opening ceremony was a joyful event, highlighted by a performance from the Kiwanis Aktion Club Penguin Players, a group of young performers.

Waterside Park

1450 Lakefront Dr, Sarasota, FL 34240

Waterside Park in Lakewood Ranch has finally completed its development. Which happened in stages over the last three years. The park is set on an island that spans over 8 acres. The final additions included a playground and splash pad, officially opening on April 20, 2024.

Waterside Splash Pad Hours

The playground is open from dawn to dusk and the splash pad operates from 10am to 5pm (November through March). However, during summer hours, the splash pad will operate until 6pm (April through October)

Waterside Park Features

The park features a playground, splash pad, six volleyball courts, an event lawn, walking paths, exercise pods, hammocks, and a pavilion with restrooms, making it a comprehensive recreation area for all ages. There’s no doubt it’ll make the list of the best playgrounds in Sarasota in 2024.

Waterside Park Development

The development of the park began with an event lawn, exercise equipment, and volleyball courts back in 2021. However, it took a bit longer to finish the playground, splash pad, restrooms, pavilion, and picnic areas. It’s also next door to KORE, one of the best Lakewood Ranch restaurants.

Nicole Hackel, the events and resident experience manager at Lakewood Ranch, explained that they waited to hold the grand opening until everything was fully operational and the park hours were set. The playground was ready in December 2023 and the splash pad finally opened in February 2024.

Sarasota Bayfront Playground

5 Bayfront Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236

New Sarasota Playground in Bayfront Park

The Bayfront Park in Sarasota announced the grand opening of its playground and splash pad on February 1, 2024. The theme of the new playground is “shipwreck”. It’s designed to ignite the imaginations of all kids who visit.

The new playground now features climbing structures under large sails that provide plenty of shade. The splash pad lets kids manually control the water flow. This gives kids a fun, interactive experience as they play.

The original concrete animal sculptures from the old Steigerwaldt-Jockey Children’s Fountain have been beautifully restored by the artist. Then, placed throughout the new landscaping to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the area. The splash pad is ADA-compatible, adhering to the city’s plan to improve accessibility. The splash pad has been elevated about seven feet to align with the playground level.

The total cost reached $3.3 million, with most of the funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act and the remainder covered by the Penny Surtax III. The grand reopening in January 2024 marks a significant enhancement to Bayfront Park.

Sarasota Bayfront Park Hours

The new hours of operation are from 9am-11pm for the playground, and 9am to dusk for the splash pad. There’s no doubt the new Bayfront Park will also make the list of the best playgrounds in Sarasota this year.