Best Kept Secrets, Parks Edition

I spend my $10 annually for admission to Great Parks of Hamilton County and can’t stay away from the photographer’s dream that is Ault Park in the spring, but my toddler’s quest to warm every swing in greater Cincinnati has lead us to a few unexpected—and awesome—outdoor finds.

Land of Make Believe at the Lunken Airport Playfield
The only thing that makes soaring on a swing even better is kicking at the planes coming and going from nearby Lunken Airport. With climbing structures and more slides than Chutes and Ladders, The Land of Make Believe is a paradise for parents, too: It’s fenced in, so there’s no escape.


1000 Hands Playground
You can’t miss Pleasant Ridge’s recently rejuvenated 1000 Hands Playground, next to the Pleasant Ridge Recreation Center, unless you’re blind to killer wooden castles (in which case, show yourself out). But it still flies under the radar where Cincinnati parks are concerned. Climbers and crawlers alike can get their fill of fun, though be warned: Once school’s out, the playground is under siege by the big kids.

Blue Ash Nature Park
Maybe I’m as partial to mulch as the mouthy toddlers I know, but the woodsy charm of the Blue Ash Nature Park, located behind the Blue Ash Recreation Center, is irresistible. Shaded paths, a babbling stream, and five separate playground areas cater to children of all ages. Don’t forget to bring a shovel for digging in the sand.

Our adventures are far from over, of course, and the Highfield Discovery Garden at Glenwood Gardens and Sawyer Point are on our list for this summer. I’ll keep you posted.

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