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Great South Sound Playgrounds!

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Look at that sunshine-what better excuse to dust off and update our list of the South Sound’s Best playgrounds!

Do let me know if I missed your favorite!

Best playgrounds

Honorable Mention: Bradley Lake Park-Puyallup  One of the only playgrounds in the state specifically designed to be fully accesible for children with special needs. The bright, colorful structure swarms with kids on a sunny day. There is an older, more traditional structure that will appeal to grade schoolers, and the trail around the lake is a great place to ride bikes or watch fishermen. Downside? Crowds. In the summer this place is a magnet for day care groups and field trips. Put on a coat and go today, and you’re likely to have the place to yourself!

Honorable Mention: Discovery Pond at the Tacoma Nature Center-Bridges to cross, trees to climb, and a water pump. Won’t interest older children for long, but little ones will be in heaven. There are some small exhibits in the building, and the trails around Snake Lake are great for budding naturalists. The Nature Center offers classes for home schoolers and is a great resource for Scout groups and others. Note: Check the schedule before you go play, as the Discovery Pond is sometimes reserved for special events.

5. Fort Steilacoom Park, Lakewood-I got a kick out of hearing how many families call this, “Castle park.” Great, fort-like structure, plus a sandbox and equipment suited to younger children. A wonderful place for active, imaginative play for kids of all ages. Downside? It’s easy to lose sight of kids in the turrets and tunnels. SFM tip: Teach your kids to yell, “Here I am,” when you call.  You can read my playground report about this spot here.

4. Kandle Park  Huge playground with challenging, interesting equipment that will appeal to all ages. Wave pool in the summer. Go now while it’s less crowded!  You can read my playground report about this spot here.

3. Chambers Creek in University Place   Shiny, new playground, an eye popping view, and miles of trails.

2Sehmel Park, Gig Harbor-Truly amazing play equipment I haven’t seen at any other playground, and we’ve checked out our share! Plenty of appeal for older kids and a sandbox for younger ones. Downside? The whole town will be there with you. Go on a day like today, and you’ll have a little elbow room.

1. Discovery Playground at Les Gove Park, Auburn   Designed to be accesible for children with special needs, it features a merryground, climbing wall, and a sensory garden. Some truly first class equipment, and it’s right next to the sprayground and the White River Valley Museum. It’s definitely worth a daytrip in the summer, when you can even catch children’s concerts on select dates. You can read my playground report about this spot here.

Btw, my Runners-up are definitely worth a stop, too!

Think my list is all teeter and no totter? Leave a comment about the fun spots I should add! Readers in the past have made strong cases for Steel Lake in Federal Way, Lake Meridian in Kent, and the playground at the Center at Norpoint (I’ve done a playground report on that one. It’s a good one!).  I’d love to hear about your favs, too!