Road Trip! Maryland’s Top 20 Playgrounds – Part 4 of 4

playground slides in severna park md
In recent months, during the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order, we have enjoyed putting together a list of some of our favorite playgrounds in the Maryland area from the comfort and safety of our home office. In fact, looking ahead to the day when we could get out again and have some fun at these local play spaces was one of the things that got us through the strictest stages of quarantine. And while the pandemic is far from over, now that many playgrounds and DIY family amusement areas are beginning to open up again, albeit under some cautions and capacity restrictions, we’re happy to present our last five picks for the 20 Best Playgrounds in Maryland for your visiting pleasure:
Note: Given the need to accommodate conditions driven by the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, always check the playground’s website and call the phone number included there to be sure everything is open.

Westminster City Park Playground

Address: 11 Longwell Ave., Westminster, MD 21157
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Cost: FREE
Facilities: Restroom facilities on-site
Westminster City reopened this playground in 2017 after a year-long renovation and upgrade. The final product is a masterpiece of kids’ play opportunities that will have your children running full-tilt all day (and sleeping like rocks at night!) Upon entering the playground you’ll find a colossal climbing structure, complete with slides and a group of rope courses of varying ability levels. Among the usual assortment of swings and balance pads is an updated version of the old-fashioned spinning apparatus, where your crew of up to 6 kids can twirl for hours on end.
There are two pieces of equipment that really make Westminster City Park memorable: a seated zipline and large climbing apparatus that has to be seen and experienced to be understood— it defies description! Watching your gang play hard on this great playground from a shaded bench with a cold drink in hand might just be one of the nicest joys of summer.

Patapsco Valley State Park— Hollofield Play Area

Address: 8020 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21043
Hours: Open year-round from 9 AM to sunset
Cost: Expect a nominal admission fee of $2–$4 per car and $3–$5 per person depending on time of year, residency, and day of the week. U.S. active duty military or veterans admitted free of charge.
Restroom: Public facilities available near the playground
Patapsco State Park’s Hollofield area boasts the Maryland Park Service’s first fully accessible playground, featuring components made of recycled material. Your crew will enjoy a tall playset pavilion that stands above simulated tree stumps that lead to a plastic hollowed log. On the other side of the pavilion is a large platform with plastic boarded siding (called an Aero Glider) that sways back and forth when rocked by riders. The open-spaced glider is accessible from a wheelchair ramp, which also leads to interactive pictures, spinning wheels, and small slides. Climbing bars connect to another section of the playground, where visitors can enjoy more open and closed slides. The playground is built on rubberized material rather than mulch or ground-up rubber, making movement easier.
Should you visit Hollofield on a particularly hot day, refresh a bit with a leisurely stroll along the Ole Ranger or Peaceful Pond trail. If you like to fish, you can even gain access to the river by following the Union Dam trail. And don’t miss the Hollofield Area overlook, where you will enjoy a beautiful, panoramic view of the Patapsco River Valley.

Christmas Tree Park Playground

Address: Manchester, MD (Enter into Google Maps for directions/More complete address unavailable.)
Hours: Sunrise to 7 PM
Cost: FREE
Restroom: Public facilities available in the park.
What child (or family, for that matter) could resist a park with a name like this? You won’t find any trappings of the December holiday around, but you will enjoy a sprawling hidden gem of a playground that’s covered with huge shade trees— including quite a few towering conifers (hence the name.) This park can be a bit tricky to find, but once you stumble upon it, you’ll be shocked at how big it is! Like “4 main playgrounds complete with ziplines, chair lines, roundabouts, see-saws, climbing structures”…need we go on? You can watch the youth teams play ball at the adjacent fields, or plan a side trip to Hoffman’s Dairy, the Sunflower Garden, or Baugher’s orchard on the way home.

Kinder Farm Park Playground

Address: Severna Park, MD (Enter into Google Maps for directions/More complete address unavailable.)
Hours: 7:00 AM to 8:30 PM Daily every day but Tuesday. CLOSED TUESDAY
Cost: Parking per day is $6/vehicle. Veterans and active duty military members admitted FREE.
Restroom: Public facilities available in the park.
Unlike Westminster City Park, which is likely the newest playground in our Top 20 List, Kinder Farm Park has been around for awhile. It’s in good repair, though, and like several others on our list, it’s ginormous. The grounds are sprawling, encompassing three separate levels. The bottom and middle sections contain play structures where kids can swing, balance, slide and climb, and your littlest ones will love climbing on the lovable animals in the tot lot. Stretch your legs and walk the short way to the adjacent working farm, where you may be able to spot sheep, pigs, cows, and goats.

Fairwood Park, Orchard Themed Playground

Address: 12390 Fairwood Pkwy, Bowie, MD 20720 (Behind Safeway)
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Cost: FREE
Restroom: Public facilities available in the park.
We love Fairwood Park because it has such wide appeal. Another sprawling playground, Fairwood Park appeals to older and younger kids. The little ones will love the tot lot with its ride-ons, swings, and huge sandbox. Let the older kids loose on the trio of connected play structures, including a “climbing knot” and other unique features. Fairwood also has climbing boulders and a skateboard structure. Check out its NEOS feature, too— we thought it looked like an oversized game of Simon. Up to two players at a time can choose from among 9 different games as well as select their level of play. Games use light and sound in novel ways to get players moving and thinking. Never seen that before!

Even if a longer, out-of-town vacation is out of the question or not in the cards this summer, we hope you’ll pick a playground from our Top 20 List, embrace the journey, pack drinks, snacks, and sunscreen, and go in search of fun— we think you’ll find it!