Her older daughter, Caroline age 8, loves swings but her 3-year-old sister, Emma, won’t go near them, Hurff says.
So it’s a bit of a challenge to find a playground to please both her thrill-seeking daughter and her more cautious child. Fortunately, Broadneck Park’s pirate playground is perfect for both girls.
It’s “kind of a hidden gem,” Hurff says, although it’s no secret to the families who flock there for its blend of safety and fun.
Parks and playgrounds offer free summer fun for the whole family. If the kids are tired of the same old playground down the street, there are plenty in the Baltimore/Annapolis vicinity worth driving to. Here are six top destination playgrounds to keep kids active all summer long.
By Karen Stysley
6 top MD playgrounds
1. Kinder Farm Park
1001 Kinder Farm Park Road, Millersville
When it comes to great local playgrounds, Kinder Farm Park always seems to be at the top of the list, and for good reason. Its sprawling playground is huge, so big kids can run across bridges and zoom down straight and curly slides while toddlers tinker with tic tac toe boards underneath. Bathrooms, walking trails and even some farm animals are nearby. Best of all, shade structures keep it a viable option, even in the summer sun. There is an admission fee of $6 per vehicle.
2. The Fairy Lolly at Annmarie Sculpture Garden
13480 Dowell Road, Dowell
Part of a wooded area in Annmarie’s 30-acre sculpture gardens, the Fairy Lolly offers a nontraditional playground experience. There are a variety of enchanting playhouses, a stage, stepping logs and a number of other environmentally safe things to play with. While the imaginative play may be best for younger children, older children will appreciate walking along the paths in the sculpture garden and checking out the art. There is an admission fee of $5 for adults and $3 for kids 6-17.
3. Watkins Regional Park Playground
301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro
Watkins has a large playground with different elements such as bridges, slides, and climbing structures. The playground was renovated in 2015 and now has a few more bells and whistles with its new Wizard of Oz theme. The playground has a musical area and a yellow brick road that guides visitors to the playground. The Wizard of Oz theme playground also includes an “Emerald City” jungle gym, a Kansas countryside section with farm animals kids can sit on, and “Ruby Red Slipper” slides. The Watkins Regional Park Playground is even more appealing with its proximity to other attractions such as a carousel, train, miniature golf and farm animals.
4. Centennial Park Playgrounds
10000 Route 108, Ellicott City
Centennial Park offers not one, but four playgrounds to explore and lots of room to run. The biggest, the South Playground, has all the climbing opportunities an older child could desire, from a rock wall to ladders and slides. For little ones, the North Playground has a smaller apparatus. Eat your snacks in the shade at the picnic tables next to the South Playground and walk partway along the 2.4-mile path around the lake to get to the other playgrounds. As you go, check out flowers, trees, and geese on the lake. You can also drive and park near each of the four playgrounds.
5. Tuckahoe State Park scrap tire playground
13070 Crouse Mill Road, Queen Anne
A big toothy dragon greets kids who dare cross into Tuckahoe’s tire playground, and climbing all over his rubbery back is just the beginning of the fun. Playgrounds made of old scrap tires are a great way to recycle and provide endless opportunities to climb and jump. Kids can make their way onto a big sling made of tires or zoom down the slides. Plus, who can resist spinning on a tire swing? This playground also offers views of a picturesque lake as well as hiking paths.
6. Broadneck Pirate Playground
618 Broadneck Road, Annapolis
The pirate ship playground at Broadneck Park is the result of community members working together with Anne Arundel County to create an inclusive play place for all local kids. The nautical theme lends itself to hours of creative story-telling, while an accessible swing, raised pathway for wheelchairs and sensory elements like musical instruments make sure everybody can get in on the fun.
Be sure to visit our Playground Directory for even more great places to play.