Take a break from the slide, monkey bars and teeter totter routine. These unstructured playgrounds bring play to a whole other level with zip lines, rope swings and giant logs to climb. Kids will use their creativity as well as their muscles to explore and build new worlds. Flip through the pics to find one near you!

Jester Park Natural Playscape – Granger, Ia

Jester Park in Polk County, Iowa is home to a natural playscape that has no trace of metal, plastic or play signage. Instead, guests wander the grounds made up of a number of unique sections. You'll explore the maze of the Tall Grass Tangle, roll down the hill at Bison Bluff, search the playscape for 11 hidden petroglyphs, wade through the wetland to cool off, marvel at the stone henge and explore the forest of the dead (decaying trees, not zombies!).

Good to know: Don’t miss the “Peace Pole,” located in the middle of the playscape. It’s an area where the spirit of peace is embraced by the people.

Cost: Free

Online: polkcountyiowa.gov/conservation/jester-park-natural-playscape

photo: courtesy Polk County Conservation


Know of an unstructured playground near you? Give it a shout-out in the comments below!

— Kate Loweth & Gabby Cullen