The 10 Best Playgrounds in Greater Philadelphia
Shake up your routine and try one of these fantastic spots.
Looking to change up your playground routine? Our area boasts an abundance of amazing play spaces, and whittling the list down to our top 10 was no easy task. Here are our top spots.
8301 Germantown Ave.
This woodsy playground in the center of Chestnut Hill is a top pick among locals and boasts both big and little kid play areas. It offers balance beams, swings, a spacious sandbox and play structures replete with towers, platforms, bridges, many styles of ladders, and slides. The playground is named for the elementary school it serves and is open to the public from 3 pm to 9 pm on weekdays and 8 am to 9 pm on weekends. The Tot Lot is open daily from 8 am to 9 pm and is equipped with wheelchair access and an adaptive swing.
Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse
3500 Reservoir Drive
Built in 1899 and renovated in between 2003 and 2010, Smith is a Philly favorite. The star attraction is a 39-foot wooden slide that’s great for all ages. Children will also enjoy the 50 other pieces of playground equipment, including newer pieces like a giant climbing web and tot lot, and a nature play space that debuted this spring. The 16,000-square-foot playhouse is for kids 5 and under. Be sure to check the website for special events and hours before you go.
Sister Cities Park
18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Named for the fountain featuring 10 spouts that represent Philadelphia’s 10 sister cities around the world, this spot is perfect for exploration and unstructured play. The Children’s Discovery Garden, modeled after the Wissahickon Valley, includes boulders to climb, a stream to follow and “peaks” to summit, while the Imagination Playground encourages kids to build their own creations using large foam blocks. On hot days, kids can cool off in the fountains which jump playfully from the concrete.
Three Bears Park
319 Delancey St.
Tucked among many of Philadelphia’s most historic homes, this is a charming spot makes our list again as much for its ambience as its playground. The Society Hill oasis, named for the statue of three bears at the park’s entrance, includes benches and tables as well as colorful playground equipment great for smaller children. The Friends of the Three Bears Park makes sure that the park is both well-loved and well-maintained.
Herron Playground and Sprayground
2nd and Reed (Entrance on Reed)
The most popular feature of this South Philadelphia spot is its sprayground, which includes five zones with water features for both younger and older kids. Some locals call it the best in the city. Designed to manage stormwater, the park also offers a futuristic playground geared to older kids that offers plenty of climbing and hanging options along with spinners and a springy teeter-totter and an electronic game. Hours for the spray ground vary until July when the sprayers will be on from 10 am to 7 pm daily.
In the ‘burbs:
Freedom Playground and Reserve Trails
Haverford Reserve, 3500 Darby Road, Haverford
This custom-built, volunteer-maintained playground joins our top 10 list again this year. Its maze of bridges, slides and small spaces make it perfect for older children to run, while the sand box, sand table, and musical instruments keep the younger ones busy. Plus, there’s the ever-popular tire swing. The fenced space makes it safe to let kids explore and an adjacent picnic pavilion offers respite from the sun on hot days. If you’re up for some exploring, cross the road to Haverford Reserve’s 5-mile network of walking trails which wind through tall trees and along a stream. Click here for a trail map and more information.
Ashbridge Memorial Park
1301 Montgomery Ave., Bryn Mawr (Enter on Airdale Road)
This Main Line favorite scored a brand-new playground in 2011 and offers a giant climbing web, merry-go-round, climbing wall and several tall slides. Smaller play structures, bouncing equipment and a music station will keep younger children occupied for hours. The playground is surrounded by acres of lawn that are perfect for a soccer game or picnic.
Primos Autistic Support Playground
861 Bunting Lane, Upper Darby
This brand-new playground, designed especially for the students at Primos Elementary School, just opened in April and is open to the public during non-school hours. Though it was designed with autistic students in mind, the state-of-the-art playground includes equipment that appeals to all children with spots to climb, balance, swing, slide and play music. For more information, click here.
Worth the Drive:
Manderach Memorial Playground
Limerick Community Park, Swamp Pike and Zeigler Road, Limerick
Two long tunnel slides descending from the 30-foot Lisa’s Tower provide the centerpiece for this unique playground. A fence surrounds the entire play complex making it safe for your little (and big) ones to try everything from saucer swings to climbing equipment without wandering too far. Closed the first Monday of each month from 7am — 2pm for maintenance.
Central Park, Wells Road, Doylestown
It’s no wonder this eight-story castle and pirate ship earned a spot on Red Tricycle’s list of Most Unbelievable Playgrounds in the World in 2014. The playground is currently open to kids ages 5 —12, but the community is raising funds for a tot lot to serve the 2 — 5 crowd. For more information, click here.
Photo courtesy of Freedom Playground.