Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix is a combination of a playground, Japanese Friendship Garden, Irish Cultural Center, and an urban green space near downtown Phoenix. The playground, officially named Fiesta Bowl PLAY, was renovated in December 2020. We visited the newly opened playground this week with friends and fell in love. This location is definitely going on our favorites list for parks!
Fiesta Bowl PLAY
The wood chip playground is amazing. There are some unique features not found at any other playground in Phoenix! When you first arrive, kids will gravitate towards the three tall animals, each of which you can climb inside! There is a fox, a rabbit, and an owl. Our kids loved these animals! The girls even had reading time at the top of the fox and owl. Note that the owl is the only structure to have a slide, and is also the only one with a ramp, making it easily accessible for toddlers. The other two animals have wider spaces and are good for older children. Look for the spaces to climb outside the animals too!
It will be interesting to observe how these animals retain heat, and how well-ventilated they stay in the warmer months. There is little to no shade offered, except over the sand area. Also, there are no swings .
There are three other amazing features at the Fiesta Bowl PLAY. The ropes obstacle is fantastic! With a series of webs, climbing bars, nets, and more kids will be entertained for sure. A few are even at toddler level, like the rubber hammocks. We’ve seen ropes courses like this before, but never so many features together.
Nearby is a cute dragonfly teeter-totter, and a sand play area. The shocker? The sand is fine and white, just like you’d find at a Florida beach! Seriously so amazing. The kids 100% loved this sand area! It’s also the only area totally shaded, which will be great in the warmer months.
And don’t miss the climbing wall by the fox! This size is perfect for littles to build strength, and older kids to work on speed and agility. Green sections on either side are empty and make a fun mini slide.
For amenities, you’ll find a few benches along the edges of the playground, a water fountain, and restrooms by the two parking lots off Culver Street. The walking path also goes by the south side of the playground, next to the Japanese Friendship Garden, and our kids enjoyed riding scooters and rollerblades here. There are two large grassy areas perfect for picnics! Two large shaded ramadas and picnic areas are by the restrooms.
And for April-October, there is a seasonal splash pad! You will find this concrete area between the climbing wall and owl. It looks to be a collection of simple ground fountains, surrounded with a handful of concrete benches, and be button operated. We will update with photos and details once the splash pad is up and running!
A Little History
So Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix is named after (you guessed it) Margaret Hance, the first female mayor of Phoenix and advocate for the park. She first took office in 1976. The park sits over the famous I-10 tunnel, and covers 32 acres! The Japanese Friendship Garden and Irish Cultural Center have separate access and parking. This park is open from 6am-10:30pm, and has other renovations planned for coming years.
Margaret T. Hance Park
67 W. Culver Street
Phoenix, AZ 85003