Best Playgrounds in Philadelphia for All Day Play

Go beyond the standard playground fun at Franklin Square. Photo by J. Fusco
Go beyond the standard playground fun at Franklin Square. Photo by J. Fusco
5/7/23 - By Lindsay Li

When it comes to playgrounds and play spaces, Philadelphia families are pretty lucky— with more than 10,000 acres of park and playground space in the city, getting to a playground from most urban locations isn't too much of a challenge. From carousels to playhouses and mini golf to fantasy castles, these playgrounds in the Philadelphia area are so spectacular, you can easily play at any one of them for the whole day.

Looking for more playground fun? Check out our guide to Philly Playgrounds and Parks, where we've got everything from the Top Philly Area Playgrounds for Toddlers to the Best Splash Pads in Philadelphia where kids can keep cool.


Best Playgrounds in Philadelphia

1. Franklin Square

Franklin Square's playground has lots of different activities that are perfect for kids of all ages, which makes it a great destination for a day of play. The space is separated by age so younger children (under 5) have a pint-sized place to play while older kids have a more creative space that encourages them to think outside the box. Kids can also enjoy a ride on the park's carousel (for a nominal fee) or try out the miniature golf course, which pays homage to the city with miniature Philly scenes on each hole. 

Need more things to do around Franklin Square? Check out our round-up of kid-friendly places in historic Old City Philadelphia.

2. Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse

Smith Memorial is one of Philadelphia’s greatest kid-centered spaces. The enormous mansion playhouse (16,000 square feet to be exact!) and playground were designed to promote unstructured free play for children. The indoor playhouse is accessible year-round and is ideal for kids 5 and under. The outdoor playground is open from April through December, and its 6.5 acres includes more than 50 pieces of unique playground equipment. One of the most popular features is the 39' long Giant Wooden Slide, which has been a staple of the playground since 1905!

3. Samuel F. Houston Playground 

Located in the Wissahickon Valley near the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, the Samuel F. Houston Playground is a beautiful spot in Philadelphia to play outside and explore nature. In the summer, there is also a sprinkler pad to cool off. This is definitely a spot you will want to return to again and again, especially if you are looking for kid-friendly nature outings in Philadelphia. If you're planning on going for a while, pack a picnic or snack!

4. Charles Seger Park

This rec center and park makes the list because it has a fenced-in tot lot, unique and challenging equipment for older kids, a popular splash pad, and even a dog park, so the whole family can truly enjoy the space. The park is located next to the South Philadelphia Whole Foods, Snap Kitchen, and even a few local juiceries, so you can grab a quick and healthy snack if you end up staying longer than planned! 

RELATED: Take a Philly Playground Crawl

Sister Cities Park Children's Discovery Garden
Sister Cities Park Children's Discovery Garden is a natural oasis in the heart of the city. Photo courtesy of Sisters Cities Park

5. Sister Cities Park Children's Discovery Garden

Conveniently located on the parkway, Sister Cities Park is a more zen place for kids to play. With log tunnels, climbing areas, a pond, and a huge fountain sprayground, this is the ideal summer location. Pack your own snacks and picnic on the lawn, or check out Sister Cities Cafe.

RELATED: Tree Houses to Explore Near Philadelphia

Fishtown Rec Center
Kids can climb to their heart's content at the Fishtown Rec Center playground.  Photo courtesy of Fishtown Rec

6. Fishtown Rec Center

Completed in the summer of 2019, this playground in the heart of Fishtown is all about imagination, with adorable features for the littlest guests and a sprayground for the summer months! The newly remodeled hockey rink is the perfect place to learn or practice skating skills, or to ride around on scooters.

Want to explore more of Fishtown? Check our guide to kid-friendly Fishtown attractions.

7. Clark Park

At Clark Park, the options are endless! The tot lot at this West Philly park is ideal for young explorers. On weekends, Clark Park's green space is home to a Farmers' Market as well as lots of other fun outdoor events. Clark Park is also on our list of perfect picnic places in Philadelphia. All of the options and activities make it one of our favorite destinations for weekend fun.

RELATED: Best Montgomery County Parks and Playgrounds

Kids Castle
The structure at this Doylestown park looks like a fantasy castle. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

Best Playgrounds in Bucks County

8. Kids Castle—Doylestown

This 8-story wooden playground structure looks like the fantasy castle of your childhood dreams. Intended for kids aged 12 and under, this play structure has many internal tunnels and climbing spaces that are truly awesome for kids. The surrounding park area is also great for walking and biking, and has a number of courts for basketball, bocce, and soccer. There is also a nearby environmental education area and picnic pavilions. Bring a lunch because your kids will want to play on this enclosed playground all day!

Best Playgrounds in Montgomery County

9. Parkside Place—North Wales

This spectacular wooden structure features a castle that even includes a dungeon at the bottom. The playground is completely enclosed, and there is a dedicated play area for the under-5 set.

In addition to the playground, there are two short paved trails, both of which are great for putting a younger child to sleep on a walk while the older sibling plays or even for teaching the older ones to ride a bike. A gazebo and pavilion space make this a perfect place for large gatherings or birthday parties.

10. Everybody's Playground––Horsham

We love this park because it has everything, and it truly seems to work for every child! Swings, slides, tunnels, ladders… if your kid can dream it, this playground in Lukens Park has it! And best of all, this Montgomery County park is accessible for kids of all ages and abilities. Plus, the park has three softball fields as well as a basketball court with removable rims for wheelchair basketball. The spray station opens on Memorial Day weekend and remains open until Labor Day.

11. Manderach Memorial Playground—Limerick

This 70-acre park includes a playground boasting two-story tunnel slides, a sea serpent climbing structure, and a saucer swing, all of which serve as a major draw for adventuresome kids. In addition to the playground, Limerick Community Park features shaded picnic pavilions, athletic fields for baseball, sand volleyball, basketball, a mile-long paved track, and more.

Best Playgrounds in DelCo

12. Freedom Playground––Haverford

Freedom Playground is great for kids of all ages and abilities, and the soft-surface playground includes a climbing wall, a large sandbox, and even a boat where kids can pretend to be sailors and let their imaginations fly free. Over the summer, this park also has misting stations to help keep cool, which puts it at the top of our list of the best playgrounds in Delaware County.

13. Media Tot Lot––Media

The soft, rubber-like floor at Media Tot Lot is ideal for toddlers. Kids can climb through the big tube and ride the tire swings, or climb on the pretend car and take a ride with friends. The area features picnic tables and a pollinator garden, making it easy to stay longer for lunch in a pretty spot.

14. Thatcher Park––Swarthmore

This fenced-in playground has slides and swings perfect for toddlers, a fire engine climbing structure that will captivate any child interested in cars and trucks, plus a rain garden. The park is located close to downtown Swarthmore, so you can visit and then walk into town for a meal or snack.

15. Playland Playground at Linvilla Orchards––Media

This playground features large wooden structures shaped like boats, trucks, tractors, and trains that kids will love to climb! With areas for small kids as well as areas specifically for bigger kids, there's something here for everyone. While you're there, check out the rest of what Linvilla has to offer like the petting zoo, farm market, hayrides, weekend pony rides, and seasonal pick-your-owns. On weekends, the Ship Bottom Beer Garden is a great place to relax after a long day of play.

Love our list? Did we miss a favorite park of yours? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know! 


This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been updated with additional reporting by Hillary Mohaupt.

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