The list of local playgrounds is lengthy, but where should you go with baby in tow? While most parks offer big-kid swings and tall climbing structures, it can be tough to find features for the younger set, like baby swings and stroller-friendly walkways. Moms, look no further; these playgrounds offer something to please everyone in your brood, from crawlers to climbers, plus restrooms and easy parking to make your next family outing, quite literally, a walk in the park.
Bob Woodruff Park
Location: 2601 San Gabriel Drive in Plano, north of Park and just east of Shiloh-Spring Creek. The park is next to Dooley Elementary School but has its own spacious parking lot.
What big kids like: For older kids, the playground has six slides and a sand volleyball court. Kids can run around in the open field or accompany Mom and baby for a stroll around the pond.
Good to know: There is no shade on the playground, but there is a covered pavilion and restrooms nearby. Because the playground can get crowded when school lets out in the afternoons, we recommend visiting on a weekday morning.
Carey Cox Memorial Park
Location: 1611 N. Stonebridge Drive in McKinney, off University Drive and east of Custer. There’s a small parking lot next to the park’s administration office.
Why it’s great for moms and babies: Two separate play areas for younger and older children are connected by a covered pavilion and swing set. The side for smaller kids has three slides and three spring-loaded rides.
What big kids like: Though they might be disappointed that there are no slides in their play area, older kids enjoy the elaborate climbing walls and boulders, plus the bike trail and open field.
Good to know: The public restrooms do not have changing tables and are in the nearby administration building, which is only open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm.
Allan Shivers Park
Location: 2222 Welborn St. in Dallas. Located at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children across from the main entrance to the hospital. Park in the adjacent visitors’ lots off Maple or Oak Lawn avenues.
Why it’s great for moms and babies: This bright, stroller-accessible playground is covered with rubber padding, and all play equipment is designed for children of all abilities and ages. There are also several covered pavilions with ceiling fans and a restroom with changing tables.
What big kids like: Besides the climbing areas, playhouse and four slides, older kids flock to the large dancing station that plays music and has instruments ready for a jam session.
Good to know: The playground is shared with patients at Scottish Rite Hospital, so there may be times when it’s closed for special events. When the weather is not so nice, the playground is closed. Call 214/559-5000 for inquiries on park closures.
Location: 3080 S. Hampton Road in Dallas, at the northeast corner of South Hampton and Kiest in Oak Cliff. The more tot-friendly of the park’s two playgrounds is next to the tennis courts (and a row of parking spaces) at the north end of the park at Perryton Drive.
Why it’s great for moms and babies: Kiest Park has shady awnings, stroller-friendly walkways and three play structures. Rubber padding beneath the slides ensures that littles won’t get hurt if they fall. Babies can swing in one of four baby swings and play with a tic-tac-toe set, drums, teeter-totter and metal toy cars.
What big kids like: The designated play area for ages 5–12 has five slides and four swings. There’s also 16 tennis courts, two basketball courts, a sand volleyball court, eight baseball/softball fields and seven soccer fields.
Good to know: Water fountains and restrooms, which have changing tables, are located across the parking lot from the playground inside the Kiest Park Fieldhouse, which is closed on Sundays.
South Lakes Park
Location: 556 Hobson Lane in Denton, near the intersection with Teasley Lane; the park entrance is just west of Trinity United Methodist Church.
Why it’s great for moms and babies: Royals of all ages and abilities can rule the roost in the expansive, castle-like Eureka 2 playground. In the Tot Lot area, preschoolers play pretend in an Old West town, and babies find a row of swings just for them. Park benches line the perimeter of the fenced-in playground for easy supervision.
What big kids like: In addition to running up and down ramps to explore the castle, kids have play options to keep them occupied for hours: zip lines, rock-climbing walls, built-in educational toys, trampoline and rope bridges, music stations, spinning toys, a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round, and slides and swings.
Good to know: Restrooms (without changing tables) and water fountains are only a short walk away from the playground.
Adventure World Playground
Location: 7451 Starnes Road in North Richland Hills, between Rufe Snow Drive and Smithfield Road. Park in the lot off Starnes.
Why it’s great for moms and babies: Stroller-friendly paths meander between the wood-chipped play areas, so Mom can push the stroller from the swingsets to the slides to the woodsy-themed climbing structures while keeping an eye on all her littles. There are a whopping eight swings for babies, plus six regular swings, two tire swings, two therapeutic swings and one hammock swing. Toddlers can waddle through the tree-trunk tunnel and search for animals embedded in the concrete siding.
What big kids like: It’s like a clubhouse in the woods, with slides patterned like logs, a climbing boulder, mushroom tables, tree-stump steps and a raccoon setting the scene.
Good to know: Despite the hundreds of people who swarm the park on the weekends, there is always plenty of parking; but, if you want to avoid the crowd, we suggest you visit during a weekday morning. And diaper changes will need to take place in the car; restrooms do not have changing tables.
Location: 200 E. Dove Road in Southlake, just east of the Department of Public Safety training facility and fire station at Dove Road and White Chapel. The playground is a short walk from the expansive parking lot.
Why it’s great for moms and babies: The fenced-in play area has a structure designed for ages 2–5, with rubber padding that makes it perfect for crawlers and walkers alike. There are four slides total with a shorter and longer slide for each age range. The playground also features several tunnels, ladders and four swings, two equipped with baby seats. While the littles play, Mom can rest her feet at the partly shaded picnic area.
What big kids like: The larger play set looks like a hollow tree, and the whole playground is straight out of a fairy-tale woodland, with logs, mushrooms and fanciful faces. Outside the play area are three multi-use athletic fields surrounded by paved walkways and plenty of open space to run.
Good to know: Well-cleaned restrooms (including a family restroom) with changing tables, water fountains and a concession area make it convenient to stay and play.
Location: 2401 University Drive in Fort Worth, tucked into the 252-acre public park just north of Interstate 30. There are a couple of small parking lots near the play area, or you can park along Trinity Park Drive.
Why it’s great for moms and babies: Although play areas aren’t labeled by age, the playground intended for tots and preschoolers offers three slides, a tunnel and several panel games. Push your baby in one of the four baby swings while your toddler clings to the climbable stegosaurus.
What big kids like: While exploring two big-kid play structures with slides and climbing rocks, they’ll love taking turns on the merry-go-round and ropes course and then taking a break to feed the ducks at the nearby pond. Take all the kiddos on a 45-minute ride on the Forest Park Miniature Railroad; the tracks pass the playground, but the depot is a short drive away. Find the schedule at forestparktrains.com. Ages 13 and older, $5; kids 1–12, $4.
Good to know: There is a drinking fountain nearby but no full bathrooms; instead, there are portable toilets in the parking lot. Look for the new Dream Park, an all-abilities playground, opening at Trinity Park in April. The rubber surface will allow easy access for strollers, and dome-like structures will provide space for quiet time. Dream Park officially opens to the public April 15, will close briefly after Easter weekend for Fort Worth’s annual Mayfest, and will reopen May 9.