By Kristi Rowe, NewsCastic
All kids (and kids at heart) need to play sometimes. Playing is good for the body, mind, and soul – keeping us fit, firing our imaginations, and helping us relax and refresh.
And when it comes to kids, keeping them occupied occupies our time, but it also helps keep us sane. We think squeals of delight are better than squawks of “I’m bored!”, so we hunted down a few out-of-the-way playgrounds that will keep kids of all ages entertained.
Newly opened for the season, the Main Street Interactive Fountain in Coppell has all you need to keep the little ones entertained. Splash pad? Check. Kid’s play area? Check. Farmers Market? Wait, what? Yes, we said Farmers Market. Check.
On Saturdays, there’s a Farmers Market at the square in Old Town Coppell. So the kids can climb around in the playground, splash in the water, and then eat a healthy snack or help you shop for fresh produce for the family dinner.
Rock the Boat (Kid Style!)
If your kids like splashing around, Lynn Creek Park at Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie is another great spot. There’s a white sand swimming beach that’s sure to please. For those who prefer not to get wet, there’s a fun, nautical-themed playground. Grills and picnic tables are plentiful, so feel free to spend the whole day.
Grand Prairie residents get in free – all others pay a per carload entry fee.
Non-Mutant Nifty Turtles
Who needs playground equipment when you have live turtles? Turtles are just the start at the River Legacy Living Science Center, tucked away in the 1,300-acre River Legacy Park in Arlington. Green in every sense of the word, this facility’s design makes sustainability and conservation top priority.
Check out what’s in the aquariums, terrariums and pond on your own or during one of their many public programs and events. Indoor exhibits, outdoor nature trails, an observatory and reading area and much more will educate and entertain you.
A Paddling of Ducks and a Gaggle of Geese
In addition to the usual picnic and playground areas, Cottonwood Park in Richardson has not one, but two lakes. If your family likes feeding ducks and geese, this park has quite a flock – upwards of a hundred at last count! Early morning bird watchers have also sighted multiple varieties of herons and egrets as well as the occasional woodpecker here.
Usually a quiet, neighborhood park, this hidden gem comes alive twice a year for the Cottonwood Art Festival. Pay a visit on May 7th or 8th or watch for the October dates to enjoy juried arts, local bands, and festival food in the courtyard.
Curiouser and Curiouser
All kids love tree houses, especially when there’s a clubhouse inside. And if you’re looking for a place that accommodates kids with special mobility needs, you’ll really love this one. Casey’s Clubhouse, a little treasure in the southeast corner of Dove Park in Grapevine meets everyone’s needs. Multiple entries into the clubhouse-style playground include a wheelchair-accessible bridge.
The playground structures have an Alice in Wonderland meets Veggie Tales vibe. Low-to-the-ground, climb-on “swimming” dolphins are great for toddlers while bigger kiddos can enjoy a zip line, rock climbing, and three different slides.
Catch Them if You Can
A 50-acre park in Hurst, Chisholm Trail Park has all the required features for a fun day for families. A fitness course, walking trails, and two playground areas keep most visitors satisfied, but it’s the fishing that lures them in.
The pond is stocked with rainbow trout in the winter and catfish in the summer, so grab your fishing pole, and get ready to land a few. No fishing license is required for kids 16 and younger.
The Most Green You’ve Ever Seen
With 32 acres of lush greenery, plenty of mature trees, and a half-acre garden walk area, Quakertown Park in Denton is one of our favorite places to play. With an amphitheater and senior center on site, there are areas to rest as well as room to ramble. The outdoor swimming pool and colorful slides and climbing equipment are just right for those who need a little more action in their activity.
Our favorite time to visit this park is during the annual Denton Arts and Jazz Festival. The 2016 fest is scheduled for April 29th through May 1st – a perfect time to come frolic.
Throw a Disc
Disc golf lovers of all ages will want to try the nine-hole course that runs along the creek in Debusk Park in Mesquite. The other exceptional attraction here is KidsQuest – an enormous, community built, castle-style wooden play structure. If that’s not enough to keep everyone occupied, you’ll also find a baseball field and a second playground here.
Go Big or Go Home – to Dallas, That Is
Wi-fi for you, a dog run for Fido, a play area for toddlers – does such a park exist? Sure, a few of them do, but you probably don’t expect to find one in the middle of downtown Dallas. It’s not surprising to use that you’ll also find fountains, public art, and garden shelters at Main Street Garden in Dallas.
The flavor of the city is captured in the park as well as in City Park Cafe, where you can enjoy salads, sandwiches, and bento boxes. We never forget we’re in Big D here, and we snap at least one #DallasBig pic every time we come!
Swing From the Trees
The largest park in Plano, Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve has concrete trails and soft surface trails for hiking and biking – over eight and a half miles worth! There’s no playground equipment to be found here, but the park features an amphitheater, an equestrian area, a pecan grove, and a fishing pond.
Through a partnership with Go Ape, the park makes available a treetop adventure course with zip lines, rope ladders and swings. Tickets can be purchased online for the two to three-hour experience.
Shhhhh – Our Best Kept Secret
This imaginative, interactive, and inclusive park is truly a lesser-known jewel in Dallas. Kids with or without disabilities can play in this shaded park outside the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Fully renovated in 2014, this 22-year-old playground was conceived as a welcoming area for patients entering the hospital. Visitors from the community can explore here too. The music and dancing games, clubhouse, and miniature rock climbing walls make for a very special park in a very special place.