The 9 Best Playgrounds in the Midwest

published Mar 21, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
kids on a swing at a playground on a sunny day.
Credit: Shutterstock

This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids. Join us over on Instagram for more!

Cubby. Real solutions for unreal times.

Join us for a weekly dose of fresh, modern ideas for life at home with your kids.

Playgrounds have come a long way from when I was a kid in the 90’s. Rather than being subjected to splintering wood and too-small play areas, many kids today are fortunate to play at accessible and spacious parks. 

As the weather starts to get warmer, many families are looking for playgrounds to entertain and exhaust our kids. If you live in or are traveling to the Midwest in the future, there is no shortage of unique and fun playgrounds. 

From playgrounds that are accessible for kids of all abilities to those with unique themes, we found some of the best playgrounds to visit in the Midwest. 

Credit: Boo Castle Park

Carbondale, IL 

This privately owned park is in memory of Jeremy “Boo” Rochman, who died in a car accident near the park’s location. The park’s Dungeons and Dragons theme, which was chosen specifically to honor Boo’s memory, is what makes this park so unique. Kids will find dragon and wizard statues, a stone castle, hidden passageways, and more as they explore the park. 

Credit: Play Garden at Maggie Daley Park

Chicago, IL 

The three-acre play garden at Maggie Daley Park is an imaginative space that includes towers, talking tubes, spray features, an enchanted forest, slides, and much more. The park is broken up into sections, two of which are dedicated to kids ages 2-5, so little ones don’t have to be overwhelmed by larger play areas.

Credit: Sensory Garden Playground

Lisle, IL 

You and your kids can escape everyday life in this nature-inspired playground. Play features currently include a sound garden, a fragrance garden, a treehouse, tree top swings, and a 2-5 year old playground. This space will only get better with time; future projects include a 5-12 year old playground, a boulder climb area, and a water play area. 

Credit: Possibility Playground

Port Washington, WI

Possibility Playground is full of, well … possibilities. Designed for kids with varying physical, cognitive, and developmental abilities, the park is accessible to all kids. Features include balance beams, climbing walls, water features, sand boxes, and so much more. 

Credit: Discover St. Louis Park

Schaper Park

Golden Valley, MN

Most playgrounds are designed for younger kids, but this one is ideal for the older crowd. Inside the park, you’ll find an obstacle course and a 40-yard dash, both of which have stop clock timers. The whole park gives off a Ninja Warrior vibe. 

Credit: Chutes and Ladders Playground

Houghton, MI 

If you have a kid who loves to climb and slide, rush to Cutes and Ladders Playground. Built into the side of a hill, the playground features super long slides and plenty of steps and ladders to get to the top. 

Credit: Preston’s H.O.P.E. Accessible Playground Park

Beachwood, OH

This accessible park is designed for kids of all ages and abilities to play and learn. Not only does the park have your typical playground equipment, but it also features make-believe houses connected by a raised walkway. These provide an excellent opportunity for imaginative and pretend play. 

Green, OH

Zip lines, spider webs, rock walls, a gaga ball pit, a seesaw, and so much more await kids when they enter this 30,000 square foot playground. The playground has sections for both older and younger kids, which is helpful in making sure the littlest ones stay safe.  

Credit: Robert Shryock Park

Augusta, KS

One one side of this park, you’ll find a traditional playground with slides, climbing towers, and cargo nets. On the other side, you’ll find a fairytale-themed splash pad. The play area and splash pad are both fenced in, making the task of keeping an eye on your kids a bit easier than at other, larger parks.