Now that both of my kids are in school full-time and extracurricular activities between the two of them fill up many weekday afternoons, our explorations around DC happen mostly on weekends — and days off from school, which have been rather frequent lately.
It was one of those days last week that we decided to check out the Wheaton Regional Park Adventure Playground. My kids were due for some good playground action. They haven’t had one at school yet this year, since the construction of a new one was delayed. And they could probably navigate the equipment at our local parks with their eyes closed by now. We’d heard great things about the playground at Wheaton, so when a friend suggested we head out there, we all were game.
We’d been to Wheaton Regional Park before — mostly to Brookside Gardens, well known for its beautiful grounds, “Wings of Fancy” butterfly exhibit, and winter light display — but never to the playground. I’m happy to report it was worth the special trip. The variety of primary-colored equipment sprawls over a fairly large area over two levels that you can access by ramped paths or climbable walls.
Kids can slide through several tunnels of different sizes from the upper to lower levels. Nets to climb are a little more challenging for older, more coordinated kids. There are swings for little ones, bigger children, and those with special needs. A cute baby and toddler area includes a large sandbox, bouncy animals to sit upon, and other equipment just for little kids. And a climbable mound can keeps children of all ages entertained for awhile (who kmew?).
The park setting with tall, leafy trees and grassy spaces dotted with picnic tables needs to be noted, too. It’s a pretty place to spend a few hours while the kids romp. And bathrooms are nearby the playground for added convenience.
There is also a miniature train and carousel just minutes down a path, though both were closed during our visit. They are open daily from May through August and weekends in September. And during Halloween they are popular as the Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel; remaining dates to take a ride and spin are October 24-30 (admission is $5 plus a can of food).
This is all located at Wheaton Regional Park at 2002 Shorefield Road. Park hours are sunrise to sunset year-round. Admission is free.