By Alicia Hoisington
It’s summer, and that means breaking free from the typical playtime routine. Northeast Ohio parks provide areas for children to explore and let out their energy.
Check out these must-visit places that give kids more than their ordinary playground experience.
Kid Station, adjacent to the Stow Fire Station #3 and Safety Village, is a fire station-themed playground. The play structure offers kids many climbing options, such as rock walls and ladders. There also are grounded fire truck structures that kids can pretend to drive, surrounded by more climbing areas and swing sets. Located at 4200 Fishcreek Road, Stow, 44224.
Truassic Park is a nearly 3-acre outdoor dinosaur adventure. Dino Kiddieland features a racetrack with toy cars, bikes and wagons. Pterodactyl Land offers kids a 12-foot swing that holds four people; a 60-foot, two-story slide; and a 200-foot long zip line experience. $5 Admission to get into the park.
Located at the Akron Fossils & Science Center, 2080 S. Cleveland Massillon Road, Copley, 44321.
Playground Park is the ultimate play area for kids — and it caters to all needs. Kids can explore The Imagination Village, with small houses that are connected to a walkway, play theatre and sand area. They can climb through tunnels, fly down slides and enjoy swings. Features of the park were built with all children in mind, from accessibility for wheelchairs to hearing impairments.
Located at the Mandel Jewish Community Center, 26001 S.
Woodland Road, Beachwood, 44122.
Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park was created by kids for kids, when more than 20 years ago elementary school students submitted drawings of their dream playground. The park features huge slides — some that require two flights of stairs to climb. Kids also can run across and swing on oversized tires and wooden planks.
Located at 1852 Coventry Road, Cleveland Hts., 44118.
All Kids Playground, Parma
Open to the public. The all abilities playground provides ramps, a “cruiser,” which is a wheelchair accessible motion glider, and adapted swings.The vision began about five years ago with Tammy Tomasello, a former resident of Parma, who after speaking to parents at a prom for teens with special needs, decided to pursue this project. She, along with her committee of volunteers, then collaborated with the city of Parma to build the playground at James Day Park. More funding is needed to complete the project. The committee has been reaching out to the community and local businesses through fundraisers, along with applying for grants.
For more information or to donate, visit allkidsplayground.org
Orchard Hills Park is a 237-acre former golf course turned park. The park’s playground is designed with an apple orchard theme, including a climbing block that looks like a crate of apples. Kids can hang out in the playground’s treehouse and hop around climbing stools that look like mushrooms.
Located at 11340 Caves Road, Chesterland, 44026.
Walsh Spraypark is the place to be this summer when you and the family want to beat the heat. The interactive water spray park is comprised of three large ground sprays, two interactive elephant water cannons, a sunflower spray and a flower shower, among other amenities. The sprays are self-activated and allow kids to turn water on by themselves.
Located at 7221 Bellflower Road, Mentor, 44060.
More than 200,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year for playground injuries, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Most of these injuries are due to falls and the most common injury types include broken bones, cuts, bruises and sprains. Follow these tips to prevent your child from becoming an emergency room statistic.
Avoid the hard surfaces. Look for playground equipment over rubber surfaces, pea gravel, wood chips or sand, instead of concrete or blacktops.
Supervise, supervise, supervise. Make sure you have a constant eye on your children. In the event of a mishap, time can be of the essence.
Dress for play. Ensure your kids aren’t wearing clothing that can get caught on equipment, including necklaces, scarves and purses. Helmets also can pose a danger if a child gets his or her head stuck in equipment.
Keep a lookout. Look for places kids could trip, such as tree roots or uneven play surfaces. Also look for rusted or broken equipment, or dangerous surfaces. Then, report anything you see to park officials.
Check for inspection. Ensure that the playground is inspected and maintained by qualified parties, such as park services.