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The 20 Absolute Best Playgrounds in Maryland- Part One

Where should you play this weekend? How about one of these best playgrounds in Maryland. We have compiled a list of winners you will want to check out now!

Playgrounds like this simply did not exist when I was a kid.

There. I said it. In the 70’s and 80’s a great playground consisted of lots of swings, monkey bars, a few see saws, and metal slides that burned your legs in the summer. If you were lucky, there was a 4-square court painted in the corner of the basketball court area.

Playing was always a blast but nothing like modern day playgrounds. The playgrounds on this list are absolutely, positively, out of this world amazing. Actually, there are so many fantastic places to play (mostly for FREE) in Maryland that you could make a full time job out of visiting all of them.

Over the past year or so my daughter and I have visited around 50 playgrounds in Maryland (we like to play). Based on our super fun field research I am so pleased to share this list of the absolute best playgrounds in Maryland. Part One covers the top 10 (and Part Two will cover 11-20). Let’s Dig in!

Related: Check out the Kid Friendly Maryland comprehensive resource for parents: Things To Do In Maryland With Kids!

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best playgrounds in maryland

The Top 10 Playgrounds in Maryland– Playgrounds You Have to See to Believe!

10. Tire Playground at the Patapsco State Park Hilton Area

True confession… I live ridiculously close to this playground and when we finally made time for a visit I was in total amazement. Here are some of the features:

  • Tons of recyled tires to climb on, in, and through. Some of them are made into forts and other play structures. Or you could just see how fast you can run across the tires like my daughter did.
  • There is also a newer play structure that isn’t made out of recycled tires but does have climbing features, slides, etc…
  • There are swings (tire swings) and tons of picnic tables, benches, and pavilions in the vicinity.
  • This playground is located at the Hilton Area of Patapsco State Park so there is a small entrance fee ($2 or $3 per adult. Kids in car seats or booster seats are free) but it is totally worth it.
  • The playground is well shaded and connects to hiking paths.
  • There are restroom facilities near the playground and a small nature center that is open seasonally.

best playgrounds in maryland

There are actually a good handful of tire playgrounds in Maryland. So, why did I include this one in the top 10? Ummm, see below. That slide. That slide is probably the fastest slide we have been on out of all the playgrounds we have visited (and we have visited well over 50 playgrounds).

patapsco state park hilton area

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What’s Nearby?

After spending a few hours playing and exploring, head over to the Catonsville Peace A Pizza for delicious pizza and ice cream (Babas ice cream is located with Peace A Pizza). Better yet, check out their monthly event calendar and sign your kids up for a Pizza and Paint Night!

9. South Germantown Regional Park Adventure Playground

What kid wouldn’t get totally excited to run around this castle! This playground is HUGE and in addition to this castle includes a pirate ship playground, a track, tons of swings, a sound garden, and climbing walls. You can read my in depth review of the playground here.

south germantown adventure playground

Know Before You Go:

  • The park is open most days from sunrise to sunset. There is no admission charge. (woo hoo! FREE!)
  • There are plenty of restroom facilities next to the playground and a large parking lot is very close as well.
  • Address: 17920 Germantown Park Dr, Germantown, MD 20874
  • Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/sgVSaVUggmA2

What’s Nearby?

‘What’s not nearby?’ would be a better question. In summer months, you could definitely make a great day trip out of playing here in the morning and then heading over to the South Germantown Regional Park Splash Playground to cool off. I wrote a review about that awesome splash park.

Butler’s Orchard is also located in Germantown, MD. During the summer months Butler’s Orchard has wonderful Pick Your Own opportunities. In the Spring you can enjoy their Easter festival, Bunnyland (weekends only). In the Fall, you could easily spend 3-4 hours at their Fall Festival. (click here to read my review of the Fall Festival).

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8. Rockfield Creative

This sprawling wooden playground in Bel Air has a little something for everyone. There are tons of slides, tons of swings, climbing structures and walls everywhere. There is a separate tot lot area with play houses and other imaginative play touches, and there is a sandbox.

For parents/adults, there are plenty of benches and a pavilion located next to the playground for picnics. The playground is well shaded and fenced in.. so you don’t have to worry about your kids wandering off.

Rockfield Creative

Know Before You Go:

  • This playground is FREE and open from sunrise to sunset year round (at this writing the hours are 6AM-9PM).
  • There are restroom facilities on site.
  • Address: 501 E Churchville Rd, Bel Air, MD 21014
  • Google Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/rgQNBbkeUaR2

What’s Nearby?

Less than 10 minutes away from the Rockfield Creative Playground, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with a scoop of delicious ice cream from Broom’s Bloom Creamery.

7. Our Playground at Stadiumplace

The story behind this playground is absolutely amazing. The playground burned to the ground in 2008 and by 2009, the area residents had worked together to completely rebuild and restore it. Amazing!

Awesome back story aside, this playground is also amazing. There are tons of swings for all ages and abilities, a separate tot area, climbing structures, slides, and an abundance of imaginative play area like the one pictured below. There is a stage for budding singers and actors, a zoo themed area, a play town, and more.

This playground doesn’t offer a ton of shade but there are shady pavilions for a break if needed. The playground is fenced it for safety and is co-located with the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Family Center Y.

our playground at stadiumplace

Know Before You Go:

  • This playground is FREE and open from sunrise to sunset year round.
  • There are not restroom facilities right at the playground, but I imagine you can just pop over to the Y to use their facilities.
  • Address: 900 E 33rd St, Baltimore, MD 21218
  • Google Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/aes22tFhsNR2

What’s Nearby?

If you are coming to Baltimore to play, there are two super kid-friendly restaurants nearby– The Play Cafe and the Paper Moon Diner. Also, if you wanted to make a day of it, you could pop into the Baltimore Museum of Art, which is only 1 mile away.

6. Woodland Wonderland Playground at Walker Mill Regional Park

Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation is totally awesome. They have planned and built 25 (!!!) Imagination Playgrounds in the county for its residents but they are FREE for anyone to use. Two of those playgrounds made this top 10 list.

The Woodland Wonderland Playground is perched on top of a hill (fully accessible via a walkway) and it is massive. There are giant acorn spinning chairs, a tower climbing structure and slide, play boulders to climb on.. with slides, swings for all ages and abilities, a separate tot lot, and more.

Two fantastic features really make this playground stand out. The first is this super long slide down the ant hill. Wow, it is fun! Kids crawl through a downed log to reach the apex of the slide. The second totally amazing feature at this playground is the misting pad. Yep, you read that right.. misting pad. Kids and parents can get sprayed by flowers, a skunk (for real), and even slip down a watery slide. Yes, you can get super wet on this part of the playground.. or you can just get damp. But you will have a blast!

 

walker mill regional park playground

Know Before You Go:

  • This playground is FREE and open from 8AM to sunset year round (opening hours may vary according to the time of year).
  • There are restroom facilities at the playground.
  • Address: 8840 Walker Mill Rd, District Heights, MD 20747
  • Google Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/mhWiqXH4Aov

What’s Nearby?

This park is just a few minutes from the Beltway and FedEX field. So, if you are going to a game/event you could easily make a stop here. In the summer months, you could also combine a trip here with Six Flags America (unless you planned to spend all day there!).

5. Westminster City Park Playground

This playground is probably the newest playground on this list. The City of Westminster started upgrading the playground in late 2016 and it re-opened in early 2017. Someone on the planning committee must have had the ear of a bunch of kids, because this playground pretty much has everything!

The gigantic climbing structure pictured below greets visitors with a series of rope course like challenges, some of which lead to slides. There is a seated zipline (yes.. there is), tons of swings, smaller play structures for younger kids, balance pads, and a modern version of of spinning play apparatus where 5 or 6 kids can see how fast they can twirl before getting dizzy.

There is also a very large climbing knot that older kids love (not sure how to describe it other that a knot… there are other play structures like this around the region). The entire playground is shaded and very pleasant.

westminster city park playground

Know Before You Go:

  • This playground is FREE and open year round presumably from sunrise to sunset. (I couldn’t find hours but there isn’t a fence so presumably nothing to stop you from playing whenever you want.)
  • There are restroom facilities at the playground.
  • Address: 11 Longwell Avenue WestminsterMD 21157 (the directions say ‘behind’ this address. When you pull into the parking lot you will see the playground across a field. Turn left at the end of the parking lot and then take the next right to drive to the playground. Parking is either next to the playground on the road, or there is a one-way side street to the left of the playground entrance you can park on.)
  • Google Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/noYMZfYYv7p

What’s Nearby?

You could easily make a great day trip of spending the morning picking fruit at Baugher’s Orchard (click here to read my review of apple picking there) and then burning some energy at this playground in the afternoon. Also, one of the area’s best ice cream shops, Hoffman’s Ice Cream is about a 10 minute drive from the playground. In August and September, you could also make a pit stop at The Sunflower Garden to pick your own flowers and get some amazingly cute photo ops too!

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4. Wheaton Regional Park Adventure Playground

This sprawling regional park in Silver Spring pretty much has it all. The Adventure Playground definitely earns its spot near the top of the absolute best playgrounds in Maryland list. There are tons of swings, a separate tot lot with its own playground apparatus, a huge sandbox, and numerous ride-on animals little kids will go crazy for.

The main part of the playground is massive. There is a large climbing knot (see above), a big blue mountain that kids love conquering, and these totally cool (and fast) slides. Don’t let their size scare you though. My daughter was addicted to them even at 2 years old!

Wheaton Regional Park Playground

Know Before You Go:

  • This playground is FREE and open year round from sunrise to sunset.
  • There are restroom facilities at the playground, as well as plenty of parking.
  • Address: 2000 Shorefield Road Wheaton, Maryland 20902
  • Google Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/TEkfyS2Zwfs

What’s Nearby?

Why not spend the entire day at the Wheaton Regional Park? During the summer months, there is a miniature train you can ride, as well as the enchanting historic Herschell Spillman Company musical carousel. There are loads of picnic tables and shelters and the park is co-located with Brookside Gardens (there is a path that connects the two park areas). Brookside Gardens is lovely, with a gorgeous flowers year round, a Children’s Garden, fountains, and opportunities to see turtles, fish, tons of frogs, and ducks.

3. Angel Park Playground

Wow. The next three playgrounds you really just have to see to believe. The Angel Park Playground was designed by local children and artists as a way to honor ‘angel’ children. The main play castle is massive, with climbing structures, slides, and tons of small pockets that would make a game of hide-and-seek truly epic. There is a separate tot lot area (which is really fun for older kids as well), swings of all types, and two types of ziplines (one that is fully accessible).

What sets this playground apart though are all the details. Rapunzel and her epic hair beckon kids to climb. Dumbledore asks which sorting hat you will wear? Winnie the Pooh or Dory and Nemo greet kids from inside one of the many hiding places. Also, get this– outside the fenced in playground area, there is a separate outdoor gym with cardio and strength training equipment, so that parents can work out while their kids play. How cool is that?

angel park playground

Know Before You Go:

  • This playground is FREE and open year round from sunrise to sunset.
  • There is plenty of parking next to the playground. There are port-a-potties on site but I would HIGHLY recommend you not use them (they are really really gross). The playground shares a parking lot with the Perry Hall Library, which is a MUCH better choice for potty breaks.
  • Address: 9685 Honeygo Blvd, Perry Hall, MD 21128
  • Google Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/3DSuEequgFz

What’s Nearby?

The Angel Park Playground is ridiculously close to Gunpowder Falls State Park. So, you could spend the day hiking (or swimming in the summer) and then burn extra energy here on your way home!

2. Annie’s Playground

We are totally in love with Annie’s Playground. Like the Angel Park Playground, Annie’s Playground was designed and constructed partly as a memorial for little kids who have been lost.

The playground is nothing short of amazing. Like the Angel Park Playground, Annie’s Playground has loads of imaginative twists and features, climbing structures, a stage, swings for everyone, and scads of slides. The reason it edges out the Angel Park Playground is that it is massive. It is really hard to describe just how big this playground is and every inch of it is whimsical and fun!

annies playground

Know Before You Go:

  • This playground is FREE and open year round from sunrise to sunset.
  • There is plenty of parking next to the playground and restroom facilities.
  • Address: 864 Smith Ln, Fallston, MD 21047
  • Google Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/7RdediAHHiq

What’s Nearby?

If you are headed out to Harford County, Annie’s Playground would be a great pit-stop on the way. Every year, when we head out to to see the epic Clear Meadows Farm sunflower fields, we stop by to burn energy on the way home. Outside of sunflower season, you could easily combine this playground with a trip to Ladew Topiary Gardens or even a hike to Kilgore Falls (about 15 minutes away).

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1. Watkins Regional Park Wizard of Oz Playground

Oh, for goodness sakes… YES! This playground is for real. YES! It is as awesome as you think it will be. YES! You will love it as much as your kids do!

We are off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz! This playground at the Watkins Regional Park (another Prince George’s County Imagination Playground), will transport you to a front row seat inside this world. From the parking lot, you follow the yellow brick road, under a rainbow to the main playground.

The playground developers took great care to recreate pretty much every facet of the movie. The main play structure is Emerald City, but kids can also get lost in Munchkin Land, the corn fields of Kansas, Dorothy’s house (which has landed on the Wicked Witch of the East), and so much more. There are plenty of swings, a rainbow running track, ruby red slippers slide, and even a sound garden  (which isn’t really part of the theme but still very fun).

The actual playground isn’t really shaded but it is surrounded by trees and tons of picnic pavilions. The Wizard of Oz Playground absolutely deserves its top spot on this list and is a destination all by itself.

wizard of oz playground

Know Before You Go:

  • This playground is FREE and open year round from sunrise to sunset.
  • There are restroom facilities next to the playground and some parking adjacent to the playground. If that parking lot is full though, just keep driving and park 1/4 mile away at the Nature Center parking lot, where there is ample parking and a nice shaded path to the playground.
  • Address: 301 Watkins Park Dr, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
  • Google Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/o6mzpQjuhF82

What’s Nearby?

As with the Wheaton Regional Park, you could pretty much spend all day at Watkins Regional Park. In addition to this playground, there is a miniature train, a carousel, an animal farm (not a petting farm though), miniature golf, and a very nice nature center with lots of hands on exhibits. Watkins Regional Park is also very close to Six Flags America (2 1/2 miles away), and it is pretty much located at the gateway to southern Maryland and the Chesapeake Area. So, you could easily make a pit stop at the beginning or end of a day or weekend trip to Calvert County (which boasts super fun things to do like the AnnMarie Sculpture Garden, Flag Ponds Nature Park, Calvert Marine Museum, and Brownies Beach, to name a few).

wizard of oz playground

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Lisa Grantham

Wednesday 21st of February 2018

Where is part two?

sara

Wednesday 21st of February 2018

Ha ha. It’s coming. I got caught by emergency surgery and winter and had to check out one last playground- but I am hoping to finish it this week. ?

Dashira

Friday 15th of September 2017

Great imformation!!! Thanks!!

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