Road Trip! Maryland’s Top 20 Playgrounds – Part 1 of 4
Imagine your favorite playground when you were a kid.
For many of us, that mental picture includes playground equipment such as monkey bars, wooden swings, a couple of seesaws, a precariously tall metal slide, and maybe a hopscotch grid spray-painted on a concrete pad. Limited though these playgrounds might have been, most of us survived them, and had a reasonably good time while we were at it— splinters and bruises notwithstanding.
Thankfully, the playgrounds of today are a much different place. Each month through June 2020 we’ll be listing five of the playgrounds in Maryland that we consider well worth a visit. Pick one you like, and look into what else is around it that you can enjoy…or plan on hitting a few that are geographically close together. Pack a lunch, bring plenty of water and sunscreen, and make a day of it.
South Germantown Regional Park Adventure Playground
Address: 17920 Germantown Park Dr., Germantown, MD 20874
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset, year round
Facilities: Restrooms. Picnic tables and pavilions.
This playground is enormous! It’s got five separate areas including:
- An amazing castle (complete with towers, garrets, and lookouts), slides, climbing structures, and swinging bridges.
- A pirate ship area with shorter slides and fewer steps— perfect for newer walkers and toddlers, but equipped with enough to keep older kids busy, too.
- A rubber-surfaced bike track that encircles the playground with a climbing wall and other structures along the way. (BYOB— Bring your own bicycle/tricycle!)
- Plenty of traditional and toddler-friendly swings, including a “disc swing” for a new twist— literally!
- A relaxing outdoor “sound garden” complete with xylophones and drums for music-making, solo or with others.
Address: 501 East Churchville Rd., Bel Air, MD 21014
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Facilities: Restrooms. Picnic pavilion.
This large, wooden playground has something for just about everyone. Toddlers will especially love the separate tot lot area with play houses and a sandbox, and there are plenty of swings, slides, and climbing structures for bigger kids. Got a wanderer? This fenced-in playground will make keeping her within the boundaries much easier!
Tire Playground at the Patapsco State Park Hilton Area
Address: 1101 Hilton Ave., Catonsville, MD 21228
Hours: Open most days 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Cost: $2–$3 per adult. Kids in booster seats and car seats are free.
Facilities: Restrooms and small nature center. Open seasonally. Hours vary.
If you can make it out of recycled tires, you’ll find it at this well-shaded and nicely equipped play area. There are tire courses to navigate and play structures constructed— all from yesterday’s tires that have been reused and recycled in this clever playground. And who doesn’t love a good tire swing? Just for good measure, they’ve also included other types of climbing features and a wide, fast slide that kids just love. When it’s time to cool down a bit, you’ll find some benches and a nice network of hiking paths for strolling that are easily accessible to the park.
Our Playground at Stadiumplace
Address: 900 East 33rd St., Baltimore, MD 21219
Hours: Sunrise to sunset, year round
Facilities: No restrooms on site.
A little more than 10 years ago, this all-wooden playground burned to the ground. The community raised the money and invested the sweat equity to rebuild the playground in Baltimore, MD – bigger and better than ever. Even without its Inspiring history, this playground is a winner in its own right. Fenced for safety, one of this playground’s focal points is an abundance of imaginative play spaces including a play town, a stage for wannabe actors and singers, a zoo-themed area, and more. There are climbing structures and plenty of swings for all ages and abilities, as well as a separate area for toddlers.
***Be aware that there are no restrooms on site, but the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Family Center is adjacent to the playground. Also, this is NOT a shady playground. However, there are pavilions that provide some shade when you need to get out of the sun.
Woodland Wonderland Playground at Walker Mill Regional Park
Address: 8840 Walker Mill Rd., District Heights, MD 20747
Hours: 8:00 AM to sunset, year round
You’ll drive a bit farther from Maryland to reach this awesome playground, but the drive is totally worth it! After sitting in the car for around an hour, your gang will be stoked to climb the walkway to the top of the hill upon which the Woodland Wonderland Playground sits. Once there, two features in particular will grab their attention. First, they get to crawl through a fallen log to reach the top of an extra-long slide that takes them down an “ant hill.” Second is a totally cool misting pad where they can get sprayed by flowers and (fake) skunks— there’s even a water-drenched slide that’s super fun on a hot, steamy day. Also there for their playing pleasure are play rocks to climb on, giant acorn spinning chairs, and a climbing structure and slide. For quieter play, you’ll find swings of all types of various ages and abilities— even a separate tot lot.
***Be sure to bring a change of clothes for everyone— even you, grown-ups!
Next month, our blog will feature five more not-to-be-missed playgrounds in Maryland.
We recommend Googling any playground before you visit to confirm hours and any scheduled maintenance that might be occurring. Happy playing!