Seeking some fun outdoor activities you and your grandchildren can experience together?
Public playgrounds are often a forgotten gift. We are all naturally drawn to the newest big things —the glitzy, high-tech adventures we see advertised. Outdoor parks offer fresh air, physical exercise and unstructured creative play. After taking a break from public playgrounds in 2020, my grandchildren (ages 10, 7 and 5) were eager to re-visit old favorites and explore some of the Oklahoma City metro’s unique and diverse playgrounds. Most of us have a neighborhood park near our homes and we’ve been there countless times; however, the metro offers dozens of options if we look beyond the familiar.
In mid-May, my three grandchildren and I set a goal of visiting 25 different playgrounds. With that challenge in mind, we felt a sense of excitement and urgency as the summer waned. We typically visited two parks each “park day” focusing on those within 20-30 minutes from home and arriving as early in the day as possible. Sunscreen, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, snacks and water were essentials. Visiting a new park or two each time we set out kept curiosity levels high. I saw my grandchildren’s confidence grow as they conquered new play structures. My granddaughter kept a list of the parks’ names to provide a tangible reminder of our accomplishments.
Traveling from one park to another, we discussed how some parks are actually in a suburb of Oklahoma City, like Bethany, Edmond, Yukon or The Village. I seized the opportunity for some civic education when the children noticed police and fire trucks bearing the names of the suburb we were visiting.
Naturally, we discussed which parks were their favorites and why. Here are the kids’ top 5:
- Lions Children’s Playground at Lake Hefner Park: Clean, clean, clean! Thispark’s cushioned surface is handicap-accessible, and a variety of colorful play structures entertain all ages.
- Bumpass Park, The Village: The slides and climbing options were the stars of the show. Shady benches for grandparents are another win.
- Stars & Stripes Park at Lake Hefner: The patriotic rocket ship beckons from a distance and is adventurous enough to excite even the oldest child.
- Myriad Gardens Children’s Park, downtown OKC: The “hills” are perfect for climbing and the “GROW” structure offered lots of ninja warrior challenges. We grandparents were delighted with the shade.
- Piedmont Community Park, Piedmont: The seated zipline, climbing walls and balancing planks/ropes drew rave reviews from our crowd. The park’s features provided challenges for every age.
- Scissortail Park Children’s Play Pavilion & Playground, downtown OKC: The number and variety of play structures is unmatched at any of the metro parks we visited.
- Kite Park, Nichols Hills: The beautiful, large play area offers several unique climbing and swinging options.
For even more park fun, explore MetroFamily’s Guide to Metro Parks to see the most popular, most unique and some hidden gems near you.
Looking for more grandparent and grandkid fun? Check out OKC’s top 5 spots to take grandparents, an epic scavenger hunt to explore Oklahoma’s state symbols in the wild, 3 easy day trips from OKC and free and frugal fun. Where do you love to take grandparents in OKC? Send your recs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debbi Marshall is a retired U.S. probation officer, master gardener, active community volunteer, therapy dog mom and Grammie to Addie, Hutch & Weston.
Editor’s Note: Due to COVID-19 precautions, some of the following events and venues may have adjusted their hours, programming or safety protocols. Please check with each venue directly to verify. We encourage our readers to enjoy family fun responsibly. When around others, wear a mask, avoid crowded indoor spaces, remain socially distant, wash your hands often and stay home if you or a member of your household is feeling ill. Find more information about the coronavirus pandemic in Oklahoma at oklahoma.gov/covid19. To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine clinic locations, visit vaxokc.com.