Follow the yellow brick road. Follow the yellow brick road. With the Wizard of Oz Playground at Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro you literally.. Follow the yellow brick road right from the parking lot to the playground!
Make no mistake.. this amazing playground is definitely one of the best playgrounds in Maryland. It is located at Watkins Regional Park in Prince George’s County and is seriously a swoon-worthy destination.
The Wizard of Oz Playground is an Imagination Playground, a huge playground project undertaken by the planning commission a few years back. I think all kids and parents in Maryland are grateful they brought the magical land of Oz to life!
What whimsical playground in Maryland is straight out of a storybook?
The attention to detail is fantastic and the engineers really brought the Wizard of Oz to life! To enter the playground area, you walk under a rainbow (so you are ‘somewhere over the rainbow’), and from there a super short walk on the yellow brick-lined path to the playground area.
Scarecrow greets you and the path ends in the center of a play area that sort of resembles Munchkinland. The entire main playground is a rubber surface which is great for skinned knees and kids who are prone to falling down.
The playground itself has a number of play areas that are themed to different parts of the movie. The most prominent play structure is a massive Emerald City.
This is intended for older kids but my daughter loved exploring this play structure even as a 3 year old. There are various climbing play features and slides.
Next to Emerald City there is an iconic Ruby Red Slippers slide. Don’t forget to click your heels! Kids can also play on the hot air balloons. Perhaps they will click their heels and float back to Kansas, just like Dorothy!
Aunt Em’s Farm
Across from Emerald City, there is a super cute rendering of Auntie Em’s farm and house in Kansas. The big red barn has great play nooks, climbing features, and a fun slide.
There is a large play tractor kids really dig in front of the barn. Next door is Auntie Em’s house and a corn field. Because, of course you have to have corn on a farm.
Between the Farm scene and Emerald City there is a whimsical and bright Munchkinland. It’s got fantastic orb play structures that are both great for climbing and chilling out.
There are spinning flowers of the poppy field too so your kids can take a spin. Hmmm, I wonder if that spinning feature was on purpose. Ha!
The Rainbow Track
Surrounding the main play area is a rainbow (yes, an actual rainbow) running track. How iconic is that? On the other side of the rainbow track, there are swings for both older and younger kids, as well as kids with accessibility needs.
Additionally, behind Emerald City there are numerous musical play features. My daughter always loved banging away on these when she was younger!
So many whimsical details
One of the things that really makes this playground shine is the attention to detail. Aunt Em’s house has toppled onto the Wicked Witch. You can visit the chicken coop and Toto’s dog house. Even the hot air balloon area has signage that gives a nod to the Kansas State Fair!
There are cut outs that appear to be replica pages from the Wizard of Oz storybook. Some of the pages are the main characters like cowardly lion, tin man, and more! Your kids can pose and take fun photos!
Everywhere you go, there are touches and flourishes that call back to the Wizard of Oz movie. It’s visually so fun!
Is the Wizard of Oz Playground Accessible and Inclusive?
Short Answer: Yes! The path to the playground is definitely accessible. And even though there are loads of play features that involve climbing, there are also a ton of flourishes and fun features that are inclusive of all ages and abilities. There are activity panels, accessible swings, brights colors, and more!
The actual playground is not shaded but the entire picnic area around the playground is lovely, with large shade trees and plenty of picnic tables and pavilions. You don’t need a reservation to use the picnic tables. However, you can also rent out the picnic pavilions.
They accept reservations starting in March each year for the season. There are 5 pavilions available to reserve. Click here to reserve a picnic pavilion.
There is a decent sized parking lot right next to the playground path. However, because this is a very popular park, it fills up fast. Typically, it is fine to park in the grassy area next to the paved parking area.
However, if that is also full, you can just drive ¼ mile down the road and park at the Watkins Nature Center. From there, the walk is an easy .2 miles on a paved, shaded walking path from the nature center to the playground entrance.
Restrooms and Amenities
There are public restrooms both in the parking lot and at the playground itself (and surprise.. The playground restroom is farm-themed).
There are also solar-powered charging stations on select benches in the playground area.
The Wizard of Oz Playground is located inside Watkins Regional Park in Prince George’s County. The address is: 301 Watkins Park Dr, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
Watkins Regional Park covers 850 acres.
Yes! Admission to the park is free!
Generally speaking, most public parks are open dawn to dusk. You can call 301-218-6757; TTY 711 for the main information line.
Watkins Regional Park
Even thought this creative playground in the main attraction, Watkins Regional Park is huge and full of family friendly activities. The park covers 850 acres and you could easily spend an entire day there. I have a quick guide on the park itself, but at a glance, here are some of the kid friendly options:
- Watkins Nature Center
- Chesapeake Carousel
- Old Maryland Farm– you can visit the farm animals!
- Miniature Train
- Miniature Golf Course
- Horse Racing Themed Playground
Watkins Regional Park also has numerous camping opportunities, a 1.7 mile loop trail, and tons of sports fields.