If you need to get the kids out of the house, local playgrounds are a prime destination. Not only are playgrounds often free to the public, but they also encourage time spent outdoors — and away from glowing screens and electronic stimulation — where kids can climb, slide and swing to their heart’s content.
But not all playgrounds are created equal. A severely banged-up slide or rusty, creaky swing set can put a damper on anyone’s good time. Luckily, Dallas knows a good playground is high on any family’s list of “must haves.” That’s why you’ll find some of the city’s best within our parks system.
Lakewood Park Playground (7143 Williamson Rd.)
If you’re looking for a quiet playground where your kids won’t have to fight for an open swing, head to Lakewood Park. The grounds are well-maintained and amply shaded, with plenty of space for your kids to run around. You’ll find many of the classics here — slides, swings and monkey bars — plus the addition of a stone chess and checkers table. A paved path surrounds the playground, lined with multiple benches where parents can sit and watch. And, if you want to enjoy an outdoor meal with other adults while still keeping an eye on the kids, you’ll find a covered patio with picnic tables nearby.
Once you’re finished with the playground, make sure to take one of the trails to the nearby White Rock Lake where the fun can continue.
Klyde Warren Park Children’s Park (2012 Woodall Rodgers Fwy.)
This downtown park gets a lot of foot traffic — and for good reason. It offers plenty of unique amenities, including its Children’s Park. You won’t find run-of-the-mill playground equipment here. Kids will be treated to a child-size amphitheater (which regularly hosts free theater activities on the weekends), a “storytelling tree” and interactive fountains, including a caterpillar fountain that shoots off water in the shape of butterfly wings.
Because of Klyde Warren’s prime location, there are also plenty of kid-friendly downtown amenities to take advantage of once park-time comes to an end, including the Dallas Museum of Art and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Flag Pole Hill Park (8015 Doran Cir.)
Although Flag Pole Hill Park has long been a favorite gathering place for residents of Lake Highlands, Lakewood and other White Rock Lake-adjacent neighborhoods, this is the newest playground on this list. This innovative outdoor area celebrated its grand opening this past September and features all-inclusive equipment suitable for children of all ages and abilities. Designed in part by Austin-based manufacturer Kompan, who solicited input from the urban master-planning experts at Gehl, this ADA-compliant playground is also smart. Thanks to efforts led by PGA superstar (and native Dallasite) Jordan Speith, Flag Pole Hill Park’s playground promises to promote children’s cognitive and social development via space for creative workshops and a futuristic “Explorer Dome,” among other amenities.
Exall Park Playground (1355 Adair St.)
This East Dallas park has a distinctly local feel thanks to Friends of Exall Park, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization made up of community members who maintain the grounds and take pride in improving the park’s many features. The children’s playground contains two different equipment areas, including one for toddlers and one for older children, making it perfect for families with kids in different age groups. Just a few years ago, Friends of Exall Park also installed HealthBeat workout stations along the sidewalk, so adults can get in their daily workout while their kids frolic nearby.
Reverchon Park Playground (3505 Maple Ave.)
The 41-acre Reverchon Park is a historic green oasis in the heart of Uptown. Not only are the grounds well-maintained by Friends of Reverchon Park, but it’s also home to a large playground that receives perpetual shade thanks to a tented green overhang. That makes this playground one of the few where your kids can still enjoy the outdoors when it’s raining (or punishingly hot). The ground is also padded, so any tumbles or falls won’t result in scrapes, giving parents serious peace of mind. You can even finish up playtime with a relaxing stroll if you like — Reverchon Park offers visitors direct access to the popular Katy Trail.