Sophie and Madigan’s Playground – Frederick County
Sophie and Madigan’s Playground in Frederick, MD is a spectacular playground with a tragic but completely heartwarming story. Kids of all ages and abilities would love to visit and play on this princess and wonderland-themed destination playground. Check out this guide and please support this playground and the community organization behind it!
The Story Behind Sophie & Madigan’s Playground
The Lillard family has suffered an unspeakable tragedy and channeled their grief into making something incredibly beautiful for the community. In January 2013, the family’s house burned down and two of their three daughters perished in the fire. Sophie Lillard was 6 1/2 years old and her sister Madigan Lillard was 3 years old when they were killed, leaving behind their infant sister Sadie, as well as their parents.
As a way to process their grief and honor the memory of Sophie and Madigan, the Lillards poured themselves into creating a beautiful memorial park and playground, as well as a charitable organization to enable and empower children and their families to play, learn, and create amazing memories with each other. The family received an outpouring of support from the local community and the playground was both a way to give back to the surrounding area, but also honor their little girls.
8 years later, in April 2021, the dream of Sophie & Madigan’s Playground became a reality, as Phase One opened to the public. Recently Phase Two was completed and the master plan includes Phase Three and more– with special community events, fundraisers, and community outreach programs.
Phase One- Fantasy Land
Fantasy Land is the original playground that opened in April 2021. It is a princess/fairy tale-themed playground. The centerpiece of Fantasy Land is the huge fairy tale castle play structure. This castle is perfect for climbing, and the theming is gorgeous. You can climb up the turret and pretend you are Rapunzel. Or check out the mermaid tale and see if the Little Mermaid needs to be rescued!
Related: Check out the full list of over 75+ Amazing Playgrounds in Maryland!
Then slide down one of two slides. There are so many nooks and crannies in and around this play castle… including a scavenger hunt and climbing wall!
The back side of the castle features climbing opportunities and a dragon theme.
Pumpkin Carriage and Tot Lot area
In front of the castle is an adorable pumpkin carriage play structure where kids can pretend to be Cinderella, as well as an orange spinner.
Next to the pumpkin carriage there is another spinning play feature set on top of a purple and yellow flower burst– just like from the movie ‘Tangled.’
Also in front of the castle there are two horse ride-on’s and a smaller slide that would be perfect for toddlers. Your kids can pretend to be the horses bringing Cinderella away from the ball. Let’s hope they don’t turn back into mice!
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Between Fantasy Land and Wonder Land there are a series of swings on top of a gorgeously painted rainbow!
The swings have regular swings, baby swings, accessible swings, and a saucer swing.
Related: Check out the Wizard of Oz Destination Playground
Phase Two- Wonder Land
Wonder Land, phase two of Sophie & Madigan’s playground, opened recently and it is simply gorgeous. The theming for Wonder Land is, you guessed it, Alice in Wonderland. This part of the playground features play features centered around the Cheshire Cat, Queen of Hearts, Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, and more!
Kids will love running through the Queen of Hearts Card Soldier croquet game. Don’t let the flamingo confuse you with the croquet ball!
The Cheshire Sky Tower is perfect for older kids or kids who want some more adventure.
The White Rabbit Climbing Web is another fun play feature that older kids in particular will really love.
Related: The Angel Park Playground is another destination memorial playground
Fully Accessible and Inclusive
One of the ways the Lillard family wanted to honor the lives of Sophie and Madigan was to create a playground for children of all abilities. This playground really serves the Greater Frederick County Maryland community. And when they say accessible and inclusive, the playground really does incorporate play features that would appeal to kids of all ages, sizes, and abilities.
The Mad Hatter Tea Party is a spinning feature designed to be fully accessible (wheelchair accessible).
The People Powered Neverland Carousel is also designed to accommodate all kids. This carousel is also wheelchair accessible… and really, isn’t it so cute?
Related: 30+ Accessible Play Spaces for Kids in Maryland
Beautiful Flourishes and Touches
The hand-painted scenes on the playground are so well done and fun. You can find all the characters from Alice and Wonderland, plus some really gorgeous renderings in Fantasy Land as well.
Phase Three- Never Land
Phase Three has not been built yet. However, the Lillard family and the Sophie & Madigan Playground organization have already started raising money to create a Peter Pan and Lost Boys-themed play area. I can’t wait to see how it comes together!
Related: 100 Best Things to Do With Kids in Maryland
FAQ/Know Before You Go
Address: 632 Contender Way, Frederick, MD 21702. This is located off of Butterfly Lane.
Google Map Directions link here.
There is a nice public restroom facility that includes a big-kid-sized changing table.
The playground is not fenced in (as of Spring 2023) but it is situated in the middle of a large open field.
No. There are plenty of benches but there is no real shade at the playground.
Yes! Check out the playground’s facebook page for info on fun events they have throughout the year. They have fun runs, story time, Easter and Fall events, movie nights, and more!
Absolutely. There is a very large parking lot adjacent to the playground. The restrooms are the first thing you walk past before entering the actual playground
Click here for more information about the Lillard’s tragic story and how they are honoring the memory of their daughters through this organization and playground.