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5 unique playgrounds that entertain parents and kids alike

By Kristan Schiller


Once upon a time, a playground consisted of a long slippery slide, monkey bars and a rickety teeter-totter with a few wood chips scattered about. In recent years, playground designers have upped the ante, developing unique rec sites that are fun for adults as well as kids.

Following is a list of one-of-a-kind playgrounds across the country. Load up the Equinox with a basketball, golf clubs, a picnic basket and more, because these are destinations that will keep both you and your child occupied for hours!

Franklin Square Playground, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Just a stone’s throw from Philadelphia’s Historic District (and therefore a perfect break for kids during a history-focused afternoon), Franklin Square is one of the five original squares planned for the city by William Penn. The grounds, which were revitalized in 2006, feature a lovely carousel, a mini-golf course, swings, climbers, spinners and a play area shaded by leafy trees. There’s also a fountain and a food stand nearby.

Clemyjontri Park, McLean, Virginia

Clemyjontri (pronounced Clem-mee-JOHN-tree) is a two-acre playground in suburban McLean with pavement made of recycled rubber that is, in itself, fun to walk on. Named after the primary donor’s four children: Carolyn (CL), Emily (EMY), John (Jon), and Petrina (Tri), Clemyjontri boasts a carousel, slides, swings, monkey bars and even dinosaur pogo jumps. (Kudos to the park for including swings made especially for disabled children.) The colorful park also features educational equipment that teaches reading, time-telling and balance skills.

Adventure Playground, Berkeley, California

This is the ideal spot for carefree, outdoorsy kids who like to put on their grubby clothes, roll up their sleeves and get a little dirty. On arrival, visitors are furnished with hammers, nails and saws so they can make their own fort, zip-line or rope swing. It’s not for the faint-of-heart: In other words, whiners or those used to staying indoors need not arrive. As the name indicates, Adventure Playground is a hands-on, anything-goes type of place where kids are encouraged to explore.

Powell Barnett Park, Seattle, Washington

The remarkable climbing equipment and unique tricycle maze at Seattle’s Powell Barnett Park makes it a favorite for athletic kids, while the wading pool and mini-castles will delight those who like to stay on terra firma. The basketball hoops and Frisbee field are great for parent-child bonding moments, while grandparents will appreciate the plethora of benches and picnic tables scattered throughout the park.

Harmony Park Musical Playground, Moab, Utah

A 3-acre play space with a musical motif smack in the middle of the Utah desert—how much cooler can it get? Under shade from the desert sun, kids here can create their own songs by playing drums, chimes or African-inspired instruments called amadindas and imbarimbas (different types of xylophones.) In addition to the instruments, there’s playground equipment, a covered pavilion with picnic tables, barbecue grills and a public restroom. A delightful hummingbird garden and tree house gazebo skirt the space while the park connects with the adjoining Mill Creek Parkway trail system. Little hikers will be in heaven.

The trademarks mentioned in this story are held by their respective owners.

Kristan Schiller is a New York-based travel writer and blogger whose articles have appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Fodor’s, as well as on Forbestraveler.com and Salon.com.



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