Best Playgrounds and Play Structures in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

Looking for cool play structures in southeast Michigan in 2022? We've compiled a list of the best playgrounds and most expansive play areas for a fun day in the park.

Looking for new adventures and bolder structures for your kids to climb and explore outdoors? Impress them with some of these fun playscapes, but also check out the unique activities and details they offer for the entire family to enjoy. Take a look at this list of the best playgrounds and play areas in metro Detroit, the Ann Arbor area and beyond for a day full of adventurous entertainment.

Macomb County

Eastwood Beach Playground at Stony Creek Metropark

A climbing geometric dome — featuring a web of thick ropes fastened with sturdy metal clasps at every point — is at the center of this park, which opened in 2012. It also offers a modern spin on old-school playground merry-go-rounds, along with swings, tunnels, slides, climbing walls and a resistance-controlled “elevator” element. There’s a separate spot for toddlers; the main area is geared at ages 5-12.

Playground at George George Park

George George Park is a 30-acre community park that was once part of Moravian Golf Course, filled with trees, hills and green fields. In 2008, a man named James George donated the park to the city in honor of his father, George George. Today, a big playscape structure in natural deep green and brown colors offers climbing, swinging, jumping and other features for kids from toddlers to teenagers to enjoy.

Playscape at Macomb Corners Park

Installed in 2004, this 94-acre park site includes a top-notch play structure that continues to please. The tree house-themed playscape has 1,200 square feet of slides, a rock wall, beam bars, a swing set and rubberized recycled turf. Other park amenities include soccer and football fields, sand volleyball courts, lighted ball diamonds, inline skating and a concession stand with a variety of picnic areas.

Playscape at Dodge Park

This local park recently underwent a multi-million dollar update to provide families with new amenities like a skate park, community center, soccer field, splash pad, and a huge open-air play structure. In 2020, an 18,000-square-foot barrier-free playground with a specialized rubberized surface to accommodate wheelchairs was added. Called Scarlet’s Park, this playground features include double-wide ramps, shaded play decks and tunnels, zip lines, swings, sensory play equipment, teeter-totters, merry-go-rounds, climbing structures, special slides that don’t create static electricity, a learning wall with braille letters and more.

Playscape at Lake St. Clair Metropark

Ahoy, mateys! This jumbo Metropark delivers lots of play-structure fun for kids, featuring – you guessed it – a climb-on pirate ship, complete with the crow’s nest lookout at the top. Find a separate area for younger kids, too.

Playscape at Pollard Park

Local volunteers helped make this 128-acre park possible. Various colorful structures serve up challenging climbs, swings and slides – ranging from big to small, straight to loopy. Also, a bevy of ladders includes spirals, ropes and more. Other park amenities include lighted baseball diamonds and lighted soccer fields.

Oakland County

Barnum Park

Walk along Barnum Park’s crushed stone path, through a garden sanctuary and tree-lined promenade to reach a spacious playscape and an outdoor ice rink, when in season.

Dennis Dearing Jr. Memorial Park

This fireman-themed tot-lot for kids, ages 2-5, comes with swings, picnic tables and open-play space.

Manitoba Park

A play structure and sand volleyball court comprise this park, and there are benches where parents can watch their kids or relax and read a book.

Normandy Oaks Park & Splash Pad

This state-of-the-art playground and splash pad opened for fun in 2021 after a $4 million investment. Watch your daring little ones take on the intensive climbing course followed by a long slide down from the top. There’s a splash pad, restroom, soccer fields and a natural habitat area for local wildlife, too. 

Paradise Peninsula

Built to mimic Michigan’s natural landscape, this universally accessible play area has an “up north” vibe and lots of fun in store. Find a challenge course, tree fort, log cabin, sand dunes and ground surface designed to look like Michigan’s Great Lakes. This detailed structure meets the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements to encourage kids of all levels of ability to get out and play. In June 2022 the Waterford Oaks water park will open for the first time since 2019.

Playscape at Catalpa Oaks County Park

Catalpa Oaks has two playgrounds — one for ages 2-5 and another for ages 5-12. The play structures feature a contemporary twist that’s simple, fun and addicting. Older kids can enjoy a wave slide, many climbers and spinning stuff while the younger kids can have fun on slides and climbers.

Playscapes at Friendship Park

There are two play structures at this spot for kids of all ages. The first is the “Dragon’s Den”, an ADA compliant playscape full of slides, tunnels, bridges and more for kids ages 5-12 to explore. The second, “Let Them Play” is a 100-percent wheelchair accessible structure for all ages.

Red Oaks Youth Soccer Complex Playground

Complete with slides, towers, a coaster climber and scientifically engineered Fibar-brand mulch, this play area is a kid favorite. It’s officially for ages 5-12 but with a rock climber and other features, tots and adults can have just as much fun.

Play Structure at River Woods Park

Located along the Clinton River and next to the Auburn Hills Skate Park, this playscape is fully equipped with slides, swings and tons of climbing fun. Kids also have the options of playing basketball, football or even going fishing. Families can have a cookout in open picnic areas equipped with barbecue grills.

Wooden Playground at Booth Park

This park boasts a playscape built with help from community residents. With 20,000 square feet to play with, it packs a punch! A lookout tower mimics the city’s old fire station, a misting wheel sprays water and an artificial turf allows year-round “sledding.” There’s also a play trolley, patio with chairs, tables and umbrellas and a giant gravel labyrinth for kids.

Washtenaw County

Playgrounds at Independence Lake Park

Here you’ll find a large, handicap-accessible play structure with slides, bridges and more, as well as a track ride and a climbing rock. There’s a separate swing area, too. The park’s Blue Heron Bay universally-accessible spray park (additional fees) has two water slides, a water play structure and more. Also enjoy disc golf, sand beach and boat rentals.

Playscape at County Farm Park

This farm-style play area has swings, a net climber, rubberized turf and two 24-by-20-foot shade structures. Be sure to hit the slides, rock wall and check out the toddler area featuring a John Deere tractor climbing structure.

Rolling Hills Park and Water Park

This 363-acre accessible park offers outdoor fun year-round! Families can float in the lazy river, slide down three 30-foot high water slides or splash in the waves at the water park (additional fees apply). There’s an accessible playground area with a wheelchair-accessible elevated sandbox, interactive music features, slide and monkey rings. Other park amenities include an 18-hole, disc-golf course, five miles of mountain bike trails, areas for softball and horseshoes, and during the winter, sledding and cross-country skiing are permitted on the rolling hills.

Timber Town Park

Built in 1996 by Friends of Timber Town and renovated in 2007, this unique spot is a small version of the city of Chelsea. The 12,000-square-foot playground has a wooden climbing structure, clock tower, bridges, slides, sandboxes, climbing wall, water zone, theater and a train depot. Plus, there’s a police car and a water-shooting fire truck.

Wayne County

Donald F. Kosch Village Playground at Greenfield Village

Opened in 2013, this cool playground offers fun for children of all abilities. It’s designed to look like a 1930s construction site and has a mix of new play features and historical artifacts that have been transformed into play features.

Kids’ Row

Its bright colors, bouncy turf, giant slide and “double-decker merry-go-round” (encased in netting) all make this oasis a Detroit fave. It’s got slides, climbers and towers, as well as cool animal statues, situated on a half-acre expanse and featuring up-to-standard safety.

Tattan Park

This beloved park will be reimagined as “Mission to Mars” and will feature a space themed structure with towering rocket ships, lunar rovers, slides and zero gravity play activities. Plus, it will have ADA accessible surfacing and sensory play options The project is slated for completion in spring 2023 and the city plans to refurbish and move the old Play Planet structure to the Lincoln-Johnson Field in Westland’s Historic Norwayne District. The $3 million update also includes a major project to change the H20 Zone Splash Pad into a dinosaur theme set to open Memorial Day weekend 2022.

Playscape at the Waterford Bend Recreation Area

Parents can enjoy the scenery of Middle Rouge River while chilling in a large, sheltered picnic area and watching kids play. This interesting Scandinavian-influenced, U.S.-made structure almost resembles an art museum sculpture. It’s great for climbing, jumping, sliding and more. There’s even an old-school tire swing.

Red, White and Blue Playground at Levagood Park

It’s a two-in-one. With one structure a little lower to the ground for toddlers and the other taller for kids ages 5-12, both have a lot of features to climb, slide and hang on. There’s even a big blanket of pea gravel on the ground to prevent injuries.

This post was originally published in 2014 and is updated regularly.

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