Donovan Park: Fun Castle Playground in Houston Heights

Updated on March 9, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Donovan Park
Donovan Park | Source

Fantastic Playground in Houston Heights

Donovan Park is another jewel of a place located in Houston Heights. It is a stellar attraction for kids and their parents or guardians.

There are many prime real estate locations in the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area. Houston Heights is one of them! We have enjoyed other scenery along Heights Boulevard, such as The Trail of Art and the Lombard Lamp, among other things.

People living in this area truly care about their environment and seemingly do all they can to preserve its exceptional nature. This fantastic kid’s playground was created because of local community interest and plenty of hard work. Residents of the Heights, as well as local businesses, teamed up with school children, teachers, and artisans, and this privately owned park was born.

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Donovan Park Fun playground for kids in Donovan Park The exterior of the parkDonovan Park
Donovan Park
Donovan Park | Source
Fun playground for kids in Donovan Park
Fun playground for kids in Donovan Park | Source
The exterior of the park
The exterior of the park | Source
Donovan Park
Donovan Park | Source

Established in 1983

Obviously, it took a great deal of fundraising and planning. The sign at the entrance to the park shows that it was established in 1983. The work of actually building this playground took place in less than a week in October of 1996. Residents pitched in to do whatever was necessary. Whether wielding hammers and nails or providing food or babysitting, it must have been a frenzy of dedicated activity during that time! Children, with the help of their teachers, made countless artistic tiles to embellish borders outside of the park entrance.

Landscapers fashioned a hilly terrain where youngsters can roll down hills within the park. Anyone familiar with Houston knows that we have very few hills in these parts, so that is a special treat.

The outside of the park has a high wrought-iron gate. There are two entrances and exits with safety latches. They are up quite high so that children playing in the park cannot leave without the help of adult-sized people. As for the playground itself, it is a dream of a place for little ones!

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Handmade tiles embellish the exterior of Donovan Park.Handmade tiles embellish the exterior of Donovan Park. View of the playground in Donovan ParkDonovan Park
Handmade tiles embellish the exterior of Donovan Park.
Handmade tiles embellish the exterior of Donovan Park. | Source
Handmade tiles embellish the exterior of Donovan Park.
Handmade tiles embellish the exterior of Donovan Park. | Source
View of the playground in Donovan Park
View of the playground in Donovan Park | Source
Donovan Park
Donovan Park | Source

Design Matches the Neighborhood

Many of the older homes in Houston Heights are Victorian in design. This park was built to reflect that nature. Many of the castle-like structures have turrets. Little ones can dream of playing a prince or princess, or perhaps even a king or queen!

A child-sized wooden train was added later and is an excellent addition to the park.

The wooden playground equipment has additional items like rope bridges, fire poles, monkey bars, and balance beams. Swing sets and different sizes of wooden castles accommodate little tykes as well as older kids.

There is plenty of seating for adults as they watch their children playing hide and seek or using the slides or sandbox. Picnic tables and benches fill up quickly when the park is more crowded on weekends. I wandered through the park and took my photos on a weekday.

One parent with whom I had spoken had already taken her children to the Houston Zoo in Hermann Park. Her kids wanted to play here before returning home.

Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.

— Heraclitus
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wooden Train in Donovan Park Donovan Park View of Donovan ParkMany structures upon which to play.Donovan Park
Wooden Train in Donovan Park
Wooden Train in Donovan Park | Source
Donovan Park
Donovan Park | Source
View of Donovan Park
View of Donovan Park | Source
Many structures upon which to play.
Many structures upon which to play. | Source
Donovan Park
Donovan Park | Source

Location and Maintenance of This Park

The Houston Heights Association owns and maintains this property. It is free and open to the public. Street parking is also free. Donovan Park is the best playground that I have personally seen in Houston. Kids' imaginations can run wild while playing in this park!

One caveat of which to be aware if planning a trip to this park: there are no restroom facilities. So plan accordingly!

Location of Donovan Park: 700 Heights Blvd., Houston, Texas 77007.

It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities and talents.

— Eric Hoffer

Do you have a playground in your area where the community at large pitched in to make it happen?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods

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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      The Houston Heights Community Association is an active one, and they do much to insure the character of that area stays intact. Glad you liked looking at the cute Donovan Park.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      What a cute little train to play on! Kids in your area are lucky to have this little park. I’m glad that community members made the time and space for it.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Linda,

      Since it is a neighborhood park, the people who built it probably thought that their kids could go home to use a restroom. It is also a high possibility that they did not want to tackle the upkeep of a public restroom. I can understand that.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This looks like a great place for children to play. I think it would be interesting for adults to see, too! I find it a bit strange that there are no restrooms for the children, though.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Manatita,

      I retired from nursing many years ago. Hopefully, all of our health care workers worldwide will have all of the protective gear including, the right kind of masks needed to keep them safe from harm with the spreading of this dangerous virus. We need for them to stay safe to treat patients who will fall under their care.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      4 months ago from london

      Thank you, Peggy.

      All the indications are that we are in for a long haul in a few countries. Make sure you have a license to work, Peggy. They may call you back. Haha.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Manatita,

      Donovan Park was built by the community for the children of their area, as well as visitors. The prices of homes in that part of Houston has skyrocketed since it is so near the downtown area. Yet the character of the Houston Heights remains intact with many Victorian cottages types of homes.

      Big celebrations are starting to be canceled in many places due to the coronavirus outbreak. Open air parks, if not too congested, are probably among the safer places to be right now, as compared to being in buildings or cruise ships, as just two examples.

      I am wishing you good health and safety in the days ahead!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      4 months ago from london

      They must have money up there. Everything seems to be designed with the children in mind. So beautiful!

      We have the famous Hyde Park and Battersea Park. Where I live, we have smaller Parks and Gunnersbury is improving all the time. I believe they have big celebrations there today for International Women's Day.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Lorna,

      The people who built the park probably figured that it would not be that far to go home to use a restroom. For others who come from further away, there are nearby stores, restaurants, etc. where they can easily find a restroom.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      4 months ago

      I love the community spirit that helped to create this wonderful park for the kids. I can tell from your wonderful photos that they also care for the environment. Such a lovely place, however, I was surprised that there are no restrooms given it's a kids park. Your articles are always full of interesting facts and wonderful photos. Thank you for sharing this enjoyable read Peggy.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ruby,

      Yes, in this case, it did take a village! Many people took part in the creation of Dnovan Park which makes it extra special.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pamela,

      All the kids that I have ever viewed playing there appear to love it, and the smiles on parent's faces also echo those feelings.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a great place for kids to play! I love the handmade tiles. This reminded me of the quote, ( It takes a village. ) Nice pictures. Well done.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 months ago from Sunny Florida

      My granddaughter would love this park. It has so much to offer. It is so nice that the community has been involved in this park also.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Raymond,

      The fact that the entire neighborhood got together to create this fantastic playground that is open to kids in their locale, as well as others who visit there, is nothing short of fantastic.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      I am moving some articles from my website here. That is the simple answer to your question.

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 

      4 months ago from The Netherlands

      Lucky kids to be able to play here. What a lovely initiative.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Seriously, how are you writing this many articles this quickly? I thought I was prolific five years ago, but you are putting my meager efforts to shame. :)

      Great place for kids. Makes me wish I was five again.

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