There’s a reason why Clemyjontri is often called the best playground in the DC-metro area: It is. Just looking at the sprawling expanse of brightly colored play structures with a fairytale-esque carousel as its centerpiece is an instant boost to any kid’s excitement meter. Parents are often equally captivated by the park, and not just because they know their kids will have a blast there, but also because of the idea that just about any kid can enjoy it.
Clemyjontri is unique among DC area playgrounds—its tag line “Where every child can play…” really says it all. The park was designed with children of all abilities in mind and accommodates those who use wheelchairs, braces, and walkers, or who have sensory or developmental disabilities. Swings have high backs and added safety features, ramps and rubber surfacing allow wheelchairs to navigate the entire area, wider openings offer better access to play structures, and monkey bars are lowered for easier climbing. And the beautiful American Classic Carousel is at ground level for wheelchair accessibility.
The park is divided into four areas that focus on different kinds of play. The Rainbow Room is as colorful as it sounds and also integrates sign and Braille. The Schoolhouse and Maze incorporate games that teach kids about maps and time. The Movin’ and Groovin’ Transportation Area sparks the imagination and shows kids the rules of the road. The Fitness & Fun area offers physical challenges in many forms.
In terms of activity, this vibrant place covers the spectrum. Structures in the form of school buses, trains, and race cars inspire both imaginary and physical play. Kids can shimmy up colorful poles and sit atop a rainbow or zip down one of many fun twisty or tunnel slides. Both toddlers and older kids can enjoy the mazes of ramps, stairs, slides, and bridges. And when exhaustion sets in after all the activity, everyone can take a break in the picnic pavilion, complete with drink vending machines (juice and water), restrooms with baby changing tables, water fountains, and space for 16 wheelchairs. They really have thought of everything.
The park was the vision of Adele Lebowitz, who donated the property to build Clemyjontri. Her husband founded and ran Morton Department stores in Washington, DC, for more than 50 years. The business was one of the first in the area to fully integrate stores for staff and customers, a reflection of of the family’s commitment to civil rights. That concept of fairness and acceptance carries on in the realization of Clemyjontri.
Clemyjontri Park is located at 6317 Georgetown Pike in McLean, VA. Hours: 7am – Dusk. Admission is free. Carousel rides are $1.50. Carousel hours: April 3 – May 30 – weekends only 9:30am – 6:30pm. May 31 – Sept. 6 – weekdays 9:30am – 1:00pm, weekends 9:30am – 6:30pm, September 7 – October 31 – weekends only 9:30 am – 6:30 pm.