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Best Playground: Howarth Park

Howarth Park was voted the best playground in Sonoma County by voters in the Press Democrat's Best of Sonoma County Awards. (JOHN BURGESS / The Press Democrat)

DIANNE REBER HART,

Generations of families have been making memories at Howarth Park in Santa Rosa, voted the county’s best playground and one of the best picnic spots and places for a child’s birthday.

The 152-acre city park has been drawing visitors since the 1950s, a gem with tons of fun for kids of all ages. With multiple play structures, a massive rope pyramid, a play area spouting water jets and the “Land of Imagination” providing a walk through time, Howarth Park doesn’t disappoint.

“Big K-Land” features pony rides, a carousel, a summertime petting farm and the ever-popular miniature steam train that takes riders on a quarter-mile trek across a bridge and through a “haunted” tunnel and enchanted forest. There’s plenty of lawn area, too, for playing or picnicking. Kids’ party packages, picnic tables and group picnic areas also are available. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset with seasonal hours for rides and attractions, with nominal fees. Parking and admission are free.