Accessible Playgrounds for All Kinds of Kids
Looking for playgrounds where everybody can play? These accessible playgrounds have something for children of all abilities.
We love accessible playgrounds because these inclusive spaces let children of all abilities have fun together! Not only that, but having a public spot where all kinds of kids can play creates community and acceptance. When children encounter people with disabilities, it helps normalize our differences, no matter what they are. And for differently-abled children, accessible playgrounds promote social interaction, foster independence, and bolster self-esteem. Most of all, it’s a welcome place to simply be a kid among kids.
So what makes a playground “accessible”? Some of the most common elements of accessible playgrounds are wider pathways, smooth surfaces, and ramps for wheelchair access. You might also find adaptive swing sets and adaptations for the blind, and visually impaired, as well as sensory elements like textures, sound instruments, and soothing colors.
More and more parks are redesigning their playgrounds to welcome children with special needs and different abilities. We’ve created a short list of accessible playgrounds around the Main Line so you know where to find them. We’ll grow this list as we discover more!
Wilson Farm Park, 500 Lee Road, Chesterbrook
Wilson Farm Park is a huge recreation spot in Tredyffrin Township. In recent years, the township added the all-abilities tot lot, an accessible playground with ramps and other inclusive features. While there, visit the pond and amble along the paved path, which meanders through the park. It’s friendly to wheelchairs, strollers, and seniors with walkers. Other niceties at Wilson Farm Park include three other tot lots, picnic areas, restrooms, three pavilions, and a putting green.
3500 Broad Street, Philadelphia
In October 2023, Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation cut the ribbon on the Anna C. Verna Playground, an all-abilities playground in FDR Park. Providing nature-based play equipment for people of all ages and all abilities, the playground is named for the late former City Council President Anna C. Verna — the first and only woman to date to lead City Council.
Highlights include an adventure path leading to all play features and spaces for quiet reflection, slides embedded into the rolling hills, and “wishbone” logs for climbing, balancing and exploring. Additionally, your find an extraordinary 20-swing structure — the largest swing set in North America! Custom-designed “birdhouse” structures with slides and climbing areas acknowledge FDR Park’s role as a premier bird habitat. What’s more there’s plenty of seating, plus 13 picnic sites and a centrally located, 900-square-foot picnic pavilion overlooking the play space and nestled amongst native plantings.
401 Rutgers Avenue, Swarthmore
Cades Inclusive Playground is a place where everyone gets to play together. Where difference is learned about, understood, and appreciated, which will help our community grow and thrive. Their founders see a playground where children who use mobility devices like wheelchairs and gait trainers can ride the same equipment with children who do not. Where children who use adaptive switches can connect with interactive panels and play games with children who do not. Where children can find their “just right zone” by playing the chimes in their Music Garden or getting a little sensory relief in our Zen Zone. This is truly a playground for all, and fits the mission of Cades perfectly!
Lukens Park, 540 Dresher Road, Horsham
This beloved community playground began in 2000 with a mission. The Rotary Club of Horsham wanted “to provide a place where all children, regardless of their physical or mental capabilities, could play together.” The community wholeheartedly embraced the idea and three years later in 2003, Everybody’s Playground opened in Luken’s Park. This accessible playground features wide pathways and ramps, a rocking boat, tunnels, a water mist station in the summer, and much more. In 2014, the township installed shade canopies over the play structures and benches to keep kids and parents more comfortable during hot and sunny days.
Haverford Reserve, 3500 Darby Road, Haverford
For an accessible playground area that will occupy your kids for hours, head to the Freedom Playground. This free, volunteer-built playground is designed to be accessible to all and kids love to explore the play structures with lots of bridges and “castles”. The play space also features a wide-range of activities for children of all abilities, including accessible swings. Other options for play encourage social interaction, promote gross and fine motor skills, and support sensory integration. In addition to the playground, Haverford Reserve includes a dog park, playing fields, and miles of hiking trails.
425 Wells Road, Doylestown
The amazing Kids Castle is a free, community-built accessible playground that offers hours of family fun. The playground features a castle (of course) and multiple “kingdoms” with an extensive array of play structures, slides, rides, panels, climbers and more. Kids and adults alike can’t resist climbing to the top of the castle towers and subsequently whooshing down the slide. A recent, major renovation to Kids Castle added inclusive features for children with visual impairment, hearing impairment, autism/SPD, mobility impairment, and cognitive disabilities. Read more about what’s new and improved at Kids Castle on Bucks County Parent.
3129 Bradley Road, Warrington
A massive fundraising effort enabled the Warrington community to transform a run-down, former day camp into a park and playground wonderland. Opening in 2020, the park features Kids Mountain, a play area that is fully accessible to kids of all abilities. Multiple big blue slides run down “Kids Mountain”, the green, turf mountain, and connect to climbing towers, rope bridges and other play structures. You’ll also find adaptive swings and engaging elements for the blind or visually impaired. At the center of Lion’s Pride Park is the Grove. Also fully accessible, this area is designed for intergenerational use with life-size games, large-scale musical instruments, Adirondack chairs, hammocks, picnic tables and a pavilion.
Oxford Memorial Park, Lancaster Ave at 3rd Street, Oxford
This community playground is a popular attraction for families looking for an accessible place to play. Located inside Oxford Memorial Park, the playground features a wheelchair-enabled swing, an interactive puzzle written in Braille, and sensory elements for children with autism.
1671 North Providence Road, Media
This brand new playground was designed for children ages 2 to 12 and has different areas for different age groups including a swing zone, a spinning zone, and an area for children ages 2 to 5 and a large climbing tower for children ages 5 to 12. There are also features that allow children with varying abilities to actively play- including monkey bars that are at lower height and various types of swings to accommodate the needs of most children.
3500 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia
Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse has welcomed children to play for more than 100 years! This Philly gem is free to the public and features a playhouse mansion and a huge, accessible playground. Situated on a wooded landscape, the playground features more than 50 pieces of unique and accessible pieces of play equipment. When it comes to unstructured play for children, Smith strives to be a safe and inclusive space where differences are valued.
Lead photo by iStock.