Atwater Park — Capitol and Lake Dr, Shorewood (MAP)
This nautical themed playground was installed in 2015 and boasts a pretty spectacular view of Lake Michigan. If it’s a summer sizzler, you can stroll on down to Atwater Beach and let the kids splash around in the refreshing waters of Lake Michigan and play on some of the cool new equipment that is on the beach. Bonus? Take the stairs and wear the kiddos out! (don’t worry, there’s also wheelchair/stroller ramp).
Back Bay Park — 2315 E. Back Bay, Milwaukee (MAP)
Perched along the hills of Milwaukee’s lakefront, this park is a favorite of mine because of its proximity to the lakefront, Colectivo on the Lake, Beans and Barley, Whole Foods, and the East Side Public library.
Carver Park — 911 W. Brown, Milwaukee (MAP)
Gargantuan isn’t a large enough word for this play system! It’s enormous! This park is centrally located just minutes from downtown and boasts a splash pad.
On the bank on the Milwaukee River, Estabrook is awesome not only because it has a dog park, but it’s got that great beer garden next to the playground that you can grab a giant pretzel for the kids to replenish after playing (or for you to nosh on while they are playing).
Fox River Park — W264 S4500 River Road, Waukesha (MAP)
Built around nature, this play area has super fun slides built into the hillside, a climbing web, boulders, a cool sandbox and more. Its also got some great paved trails if you want to bring along some bikes, scooters, or a stroller!
Grant Park — 100 E Hawthorne Ave, South Milwaukee (MAP)
If you’re suffering from cabin fever, this park will surely cure that! Not only are there 4 playgrounds, but you can also hike the Seven Bridges trail and check out the beach. Its one of my kids’ favorite areas to burn energy while I take in the serenity of the gorgeous ravine and the streams.
Designed as a tribute to the Menonomee River, Native Americans and the Schoonmaker Reef, this playground is filled with unique and traditional equipment as well as a splash pad. It backs up to the Menomonee River and some great trails that take you around the city.
Hartung Park — Corner of W. Keefe Ave and Menomonee River Parkway (MAP)
Constructed on the site of the old Hartung Quarry, this park is a small gem. Aside from the super fun playset and spider-man like web, there is a pond and paths that wind through prairie grasses overlooking the Menomonee River. The park is also dotted with sculptures of the creatures that would have lived there when it was part of the sea.
Managed by Milwaukee Recreation, Hawthorn Glen is a treasure that can easily be missed in the Wauwatosa/Milwaukee border area. The nature center is conveniently hidden in an urban setting, located just north of 60th and State Street in Milwaukee. Older kids can explore the woods, a restored prairie and the Little Nature Museum.
Kayla’s Playground at Franklin Woods Nature Park — 3723 W. Puetz Road (MAP)
Wisconsin’s newest all-inclusive and all-accessible playground where there is truly something for everyone. This playground was built in memory of Kayla Runte, “to provide a common ground to enrich social skills through play, create friendships for a lifetime and promote Peer Advocacy programs through collaboration with community partners.”
A playground renovated and renamed in honor of a young Milwaukeean gone too soon, Marcus DeBack Playground has become a favorite for kids and grow-ups alike. Featuring a zip line and lots of stuff to climb on that all ages of kids will enjoy, this park also features a walking track, fitness equipment, permeable pavement basketball courts, challenging toddler elements, and a 10-foot tall rope dome.
This two-year-old all-inclusive playground was not only built by the community, but the students of New Berlin helped dream up the design. Bonus: There’s a Little Free Library here too!
This awesome all-inclusive playground includes a pirate ship complete with waves, a rain wheel and a motion platform. There are slides, bridges, rings, monkey bars, tunnels, a lighthouse, rock wall, chain walk, and balance beams. The Tot Lot offers a fairytale castle, bouncy bridge, police car and a raised sandbox. Both areas include a variety of swings and the music area features palm drums, metalliphones and a drum shaped like an alligator. Fun for all!!
South Shore Park — 2900 S. Shore Dr, Milwaukee (MAP)
This park is a veritable gem any day of the week, but especially if you go on a Saturday, when you can multitask and roam one of the best farmer’s markets in the city. Not only does the playground (super fun with spinny seats) overlook the water, but there’s exercise equipment for adults. And a great little beach with the best skipping stones. And oh…there’s a beer garden.
Washington Park — 1859 N. 40th St. (MAP)
This 100+ acre park that used to be the home of the Milwaukee County Zoo hosts a series of pocket parks with climbing structures, done in a nature theme. At the North end of the park, there is a large playground that includes handicapped accessible ramps (and an old-fashioned merry-go-round!). It’s also the home of one of the Urban Ecology Centers.
Do you have a favorite park not listed here? Please share in the comments below so our readers can check it out!