To find our “star” playgrounds, we asked readers to tell us about their favorites. We posted on Facebook and also asked the parks departments for their recommendations. We admit our roundup is subjective, but we can guarantee one thing: tons of fun for kids and families.
680 Dallas St., Atlanta
This playground has swings shaped like large bowls that fit several playmates at once, a spider-like ropes course connected to a small trampoline, and what looks like a reverse slide. Multiple slides, rock walls and other climbing equipment round out the playground. (Note: the park is bordered by North Ave., Glen Iris and Ralph McGill).
11925 Wills Rd., Alpharetta
Step back into time at “Wacky World,” the largest of three playgrounds. In this magical kingdom, kids stay busy exploring towers, tunnels, bridges and passageways. There’s also the “Yellow” playground for small children and the fully covered “Purple” playground.
101 Lake Dow Rd., McDonough
Kidsville has a wide array of climbing structures and play things, many of which are covered. Parents appreciate the peek into the past that you get in the historic Heritage Village on the way to Kidsville, including an old school house, general store, and covered bridge.
3140 Old US Highway 41, Kennesaw
Two colossal playscapes, one just for little kids, feature state-of-the-art equipment including swings, climbers, bridges and various playthings. “New patterns of play” are encouraged in a contemporary play system that includes circuits, walls, rings and more.
4770 N. Peachtree Rd., Dunwoody
There are four clusters of colorful play structures, two for ages 2-5 and two for the older kids. At this expansive playground, there’s loads to do: slides and swings of varying sizes, monkey bars galore, a multicolored tunnel, and a “log roll” for balancing. Parents appreciate the protective rubberized matting that cushions falls. Canopies cover all play structures.
4425 Beach St., Acworth
This nature-themed playground includes a climbing rock, 24-foot tower, swings, and a ramp-based structure for younger kids. Older kids get plenty of challenges and exploration. Find Acworth Beach and Lake Acworth at the park’s north end.
3700 Braselton Hwy., Dacula
All ages and abilities flock to this bright and roomy playground, which offers two immense play structures, lots of swings and slides, playhouses and the popular “Sway Fun” that delivers exactly that. A number of features encourage access and interaction for special-needs kids, including ramps, rubberized surfaces and a braille board.
400 Park Dr. NE, Atlanta
The Mayors Grove Playground is specially designed to be a sensory-friendly play structure that is both safe and fun for kids with or without special needs. Located between Clara Meer Pond and the Active Oval sports fields, Mayors Grove features a playscape created by Boundless Playgrounds.
The Noguchi Playscape (above) is a modern-looking structure created as both a work of art and a fun place for kids. Located near the park’s 12th Street gate, its unique design allows for high swings, a circular slide and triangular climbing structures. Various features help familiarize kids with shapes, colors and textures. (Parking for Piedmont Park is available at 1320 Monroe Dr. NE).
215 Huiet Rd., Fayetteville
Visit this “castle”-themed playground with its bridges, forts, tire swings and several levels of fun. Because it’s dark brown wood, Jenay Dunlap Myers’ kids have nicknamed it “the chocolate park,” she says. “It puts me in the mind of a fort. Very cool and neat. I have never seen anything like it.” (Note: Open to the public dawn to dusk, except May 28-Aug. 2, when public hours are noon to dusk).
265 Park Ave. West, Atlanta
This playground, for kids of all ages and all abilities, boasts a skid-resistant rubber surface and a host of enticingly creative equipment – from the multi-sensory Rollerslide and the Sway Fun glider swing to individual “flower” seats that spin, “long-distance” talk-through tubes and bongo drums. Located in the heart of downtown, this playground was created for the 1996 Olympic Games.
10495 Woodstock Rd., Roswell
Kids 5 and older stay busy with a host of swings and slides and various activity stations: tire swings, monkey bars, climbing rock walls and ladders. The shady playground for the young – with slides, baby swings, sandbox and more – is fenced in.
425 Main St., Suwanee
A “magical” bus. A log cabin. A castle. A rocket. A boat. An elephant! Bridges, slides, a climbing wall and all the other playground equipment kids count on. This is one of the few playgrounds with a sand activity area.
1340 McConnell Drive, Decatur
Ahoy Matey! A pirate ship here! And it has a three-level tree house that provides plenty of climbing and sliding fun. You won’t find shade here until the early evening, but two separate playgrounds await different age groups. The action also includes giant tube slides, climbing wall and swings for all sizes.
2776 Sanford Road, Smyrna
This playground within Cobb Park has just been fully renovated, featuring colorful new playscapes and a host of unexpected play features in sturdy plastic and metal. Most of the structures have covers to provide shade. The younger set has its own shorter climbing wall.