When it comes to beautiful and fun outdoor parks, the DMV is definitely not lacking! But, when it comes to kids, we know mind-blowing playgrounds are where it’s at! From climbing to swinging, to red ruby slippers and carousels, here are some of the most extraordinary, seriously fun and downright inventive playgrounds around town.
photo: Arlington Parks and Recreation
Your eagle-eyed kids will spot this newly renovated playground blocks away. What they’re spying is the top of Fairlington Park’s cool (and tall) climbing structure. Not for the faint of heart the ropes course-style equipment comes with a floating bridge and an enclosed, curvy slide. The rest of the playground comes with a sandbox for littles, hard seat swings, artificial turf throughout. Bonus: Water fountains are on site and restrooms are in the adjacent community center.
Got a climber? This park is perfect for the kid who wants to jump from courses to castles to bridges. Let them get tangled in ropes, enter castles, cross bridges and reach new heights on the jungle gyms. Right smack in the middle is a big group swing which is a fun place to make friends. You’ll find some nice shade, sand volleyball courts, tennis and bocce courts and a dog park for Rover as well.
148 F St., SE (Garfield Park)
photo: Jim Havard via flickr
Anacostia Park Playground
Just on the heels of celebrating their centennial, Anacostia Park is the place to be and you’ll definitely want to check out their playground! Along the peaceful banks of the Anacostia River, little pirates can meander and find a massive pirate ship! This themed-playground is probably the greatest enticement at this park with three separate play areas. Kids can climb aboard the sails and mast—and then slide on out! Anacostia Park also has tennis and basketball courts, as well as a roller skate park with free skate rentals.
1900 Anacostia Dr., SE (Anacostia)
Rocky Run Park
Rocky Run well, basically rocks! There’s a polygon, star-shaped rope and ladder jungle gym that leads up to a tall, turning, tubular slide. I mean, what else does a kid need in life?! Fret not worry wart parents, there is also a less extreme kiddie playground next to the cool one!. They also have a turf field that lights up so you can play ball once the sun sets.
1109 N Barton St. (Arlington, VA)
photo: cathymccaughan via flickr
Beauvoir Outdoor Playground
Sometimes kids just need to run around and play and zipline…in the middle of a metropolitan city! When that happens, take them to this private school playground. Open to the public when the Beauvoir School is closed (typically after 6 pm weekdays and on weekends), this playground was designed with the idea that outdoor play is as imperative to children’s development as anything else. You’ll find formations and spaces for kids of all ages, including swings, climbing structures, wooden bridges and even a super fun zipline.
3500 Woodley Rd., NW
Watkins Regional Park
There’s no place like home…..or, Watkins Regional Park. This is the ultimate Wizard of Oz-themed playground. Start your visit at Auntie Em’s Kansas farm, then take the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City castle climber and through the poppy field toddler area. Other WOO play assemblies include the Wizard’s hot air balloon and the ruby slipper slides. Don’t forget to tap your shoes three times. It’s a fun playground packed with imagination and color for kids to have a storytelling play experience.
301 Watkins Park Dr. (Upper Marlboro, MD)
Located near Dupont Circle this hot spot for families has that sought after rubber surface for kids to run and jump on. With sections for big kids (with a rock climbing wall!) and one for small kids, there is even a covered spot for the smallest set to rest and play around. A small field comes equipped with balls and scooters that will drum up hours of play. Basketball courts nearby are great for bigger kids, too.
1625 P St., NW (Dupont Circle)
Cabin John Regional Park
Want to see what Montgomery County’s best and biggest park looks like? Then head over to Cabin John Regional Park. Geared for all ages this park offers loads of the usual slides and climbing structures but it also features a ride-on miniature train. Small kids can play house in the park’s actual playhouse or test their intelligence in one of the mazes built for exploration. Hiking trails and the Locust Grove Nature Center make for an amazing sensory-filled afternoon. Nearby fields and tennis courts entice the adults and the whole family can whiz around on skates at the ice rink.
7400 Tuckerman Ln. (Bethesda, Md)
photo: Dion & Akiko via flickr
One of the most beloved playgrounds in the DMV is also one of the most accessible in the country. Clemyjontri has two acres of playgrounds geared towards different ages and abilities as well as a storybook carousel. Who doesn’t love a storybook carousel?! There’s a multi-sensory and Braille labeled Rainbow Room, Schoolhouse and Maze, the transportation-themed Movin’ and Groovin’ and Fitness and Fun (jungle gym central). Chariots, a spinning tea cup and 14 prancing steeds await only the imagination of children at the carousel, which is recessed to ground level so that it is accessible for wheelchairs, allowing children to transfer to the tea cup. The chariot is designed to allow for transfer to a seated position or to remain seated in the wheelchair.
6317 Georgetown Pike (McLean, Va)
Glen Echo Park
Speaking of carousels, if you have big carousel (and all things vintage) fans, Glen Echo Park is a definite must. Founded in 1891, this historic park offers the beautiful Dentzel Carousel. They also have a fun playground for kids to run around in. And if that’s not enough, there’s also an on site aquarium with a huge pirate ship in the front. There is no way your kids will leave Glen Echo bored or energized!
7300 MacArthur Blvd. (Glen Echo, MD)
—Guiomar Ochoa and Victoria Mason