Accessible Playgrounds Across Texas
Some playgrounds are better than others when it comes to accessibility for all. It can make a big difference when designers take different levels of mobility and coordination into consideration when designing a playground. And accessible doesn't mean boring - many modern playground elements are highly accessible and exciting for any kid! Fortunately, more communities are putting this design philosophy into practice when updating or building new playgrounds. Here we've gathered a list of some playgrounds with accessible elements all over the state of Texas. Some are even worth a trip out of town!
According to the District Superintendent, there’s nothing else like this playground in all of Fort Worth. The specialty inclusive playground has several special features including a wheelchair accessible multi-person swing, easy-transfer see-saw & merry-go-round, slides going down a hill, treehouses, and a big roller slide. The ground is rubber for better mobility and there are also accessible swings and zip-lines. This elaborate playground is also conveniently located near many of Fort Worth’s most popular attractions such as the Fort Worth Zoo and the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. Located at 2001 University Drive, Fort Worth 76107.
Fort Worth: Patricia LeBlanc Park
Most recently updated in 2015, this playground received national attention in 1992 for being the first playground in the U.S. to implement universal design methodology, providing access for kids with limited mobility and encouraging side-by-side play for children with and without disabilities. Some playground elements include musical instruments, ramps, a merry-go-round, and more. The park also features a walking trail, basketball goal, tennis court and a large covered gazebo, though the only restrooms on-site are porta potties. Located at 6300 Granbury Cut Off St, Fort Worth, TX 76132.
Allen: kidMania at Celebration Park
In 2003, volunteers throughout Allen came together to construct a fully accessible, vibrantly colored playground that welcomes children of all ages and accessibility. There are dozens of activities within the playground, and each colored section designates a difficulty level while still providing inclusive fun for all. The playground has a mulch surface, but wheelchair-accessible ramps and pavements provide access to the play structure. Ramps also connect all six structures, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on little ones who like to wander. The playground is part of Celebration Park, which features a splash pad, pavilions, picnic tables, public restrooms, sports fields and a hike and bike trail. The splash pad runs every day between May 1 and October 31 (except Wednesdays). Both the playground and the park are spacious and popular! Celebration Park is located at 701 N Angel Pkwy, Allen, TX 75002.
Carrollton: Mary Heads Carter Park
This spacious playground has many accessible pieces of equipment and areas of play and sits on a wheelchair-accessible synthetic turf surface. The playground features ramps, a molded seat merry-go-round, supported swings, rock climbing walls, ladders, interactive panels, slides, decks, shade and a three-level tower. There is also a restroom building with water fountains, a large shaded pavilion, and a creek with some walking paths. Located at 2320 Heads Lane, Carrollton, TX 75006.
This park was recently rebuilt to become an inclusive destination for kids of all abilities. Some of the new features include four types of swings, including high-backed plastic seats that provide added support and two-person swings in which a child and an adult face each other, a sensory garden, two roller slides, and a fence surrounding the playground area to keep kids from wandering towards the creek. On the adaptive merry-go-round children can sit in molded plastic seats next to children who are standing. Right next to the park is an accessible, family-style restroom with a drinking fountain. The park also includes walking trails, two ponds, and a community pool for the summer. Located at 1301 W Belt Line Rd, Richardson, TX 75080.
Dallas: Fantasy Landing at Kiest Park
Kiest Park is one of the largest public parks in Dallas with numerous sports fields of all kinds, a 2 mile trail through the trees, a wildflower area, and a rec center. The wheelchair accessible playground has three play structures for all ages. The surface is mixed, with rollable surfaces on the main pathways and mulch covering the rest of the play area. This park does not feature many specifically accessible elements, but does have ramps to access the play structure. Water fountains and restrooms with changing tables are located across the parking lot inside the Kiest Park Fieldhouse, which is closed on Sundays. Fantasy Landing is located at Kiest Park on the far north side next to the tennis courts: 3012 S Hampton Rd, Dallas, TX 75224.
Tyler: Southside Park
Updated in 2019 with new ADA accessible playground equipment, this popular park features wheelchair ramps, smooth surface turf, musical instruments, accessible swings and a wheelchair rocker for kids of all abilities to enjoy. A small creek runs through the park, and there is a paved nature path for walking or rolling. In fact, the park is connected with 5.7 miles of the Tyler trail system, mainly the Rose Rudman Recreational Trail which is a 1.2 mile paved nature trail loop. The park also features a basketball court, restrooms, and a pavilion. Located at 455 Shiloh Rd, Tyler, TX 75703.
Just next to the Verne Cox Adaptive Recreation Center is a playground for all with an old west and underwater theme. There are ramps and swings for everyone, and even a sand pit with diggers. Next door, the Verne Cox Multipurpose Recreation Center is dedicated to recreational activities for youth and adults with disabilities. There is a pool, weight room, and a plethora of programs to participate in. The rec center and playground are located at 5200 Burke Rd. Pasadena, TX 77504 (Google Maps places the waypoint at a larger park just north, but this is the official address.)
Pearland: Ed Thompson Inclusive Park
This park recently opened as the first “all-inclusive” playground in all of Brazoria County, designed specifically to be accessible to children and adults of all abilities. The playground is a 9,200-square-feet space that has many accessible structures including a see saw, sensory play elements, swings, and a wheelchair transfer station for the slides. The park is located at the Sports Complex at Shadow Creek Ranch at 13050 Shadow Creek Parkway Pearland, TX 77584.
The Woodlands: Bear Branch Park
This is a recently updated playground that is part of a beautiful community park. Facilities at the expansive park include a Rec center, skate park, dog park, sports courts, disc golf course, restrooms, and a swimming pool. A brand-new splash pad is planned to be added soon, so there may be construction nearby when you visit. The playground was redesigned with the concept of inclusive recreation, and features elements designed to engage sensory systems and motor, cognitive and social skills to fully embrace the needs of individuals with disabilities of all kinds. Some of these elements include five swing options, an accessible merry-go-round, and ramps for the play structure. The park is located at 5200 Research Forest Dr, The Woodlands, TX 77381.
This 13,000 square foot playground is train-themed and is custom-designed as a tribute to Katy’s namesake rail line. Katy Play Station was designed with multiple-impaired and deaf children in mind and has received several awards. The playground features many ramps, a rubber surface, accessible swings, and a restroom. Play Station is on the north side of Katy City Park, and is located at 5611 Gardenia Ln, Katy, TX 77493.
Also known as the Rotary Club of Temple South Accessible Playground, this playground is located at Lions Park and is designed to serve children of all ages who have mental or physical disabilities. The major components of the playground include three large interconnected decks, swings, a whirl, a see-saw, an elevated sandbox, a freestanding hammock, and more features designed with accessibility and inclusion in mind. The surface is a mix of mulch and poured-in-place surfacing connecting access points. Lions park offers many more activities such as a 2 mile trail, dog park, a pond, bird watching, and more. Located at 4320 Lions Park Dr. Temple, TX 76502.
Round Rock: Play for All Park
This incredible playground features elements that encourage social interaction, non-verbal communication, and confidence-building. There’s even a racetrack and a miniature city in this one-of-a-kind park! The many types of swings include a wheelchair swing, molded swivel swing, belt swings, bucket swings, saucer swing, and companion swing. The structures are accessible to all with ramps and transfer points at ground level. Check out their website to see all this park has to offer. Located at 151 N A W Grimes Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78664.
Georgetown: Creative Playscape at San Gabriel Park
This park celebrates the history of Georgetown in a family friendly atmosphere. The play area is fenced in with only one opening, and even has a kid-sized carwash that mists water! There aren’t many adaptive-specific elements at this park, though there is a ramp to access the play structure, and there are 2 accessible swings. Located at 1003 N. Austin Ave. Georgetown, TX 78626
San Marcos: Children's Park
This elaborate pirate and mermaid themed playground will get anyone excited to play! The park is very spacious, with a poured rubber surface and wide ramps to access play equipment. Some equipment features include a roller slide, 4 seat We-saw, Expression Swing, Liberty Swing, Omni Spinner, Team Swing, and a therapeutic seat on the zip line. There are restrooms and water fountains on-site. The park is located at 205 S CM Allen Parkway, San Marcos, TX 78666, and can also be accessed by the River Bike and Pedestrian Trail.
Morgan's Wonderland is not just a playground - it's a full-fledged Ultra-Accessible Theme Park with more than 25 rides, playscapes, and interactive elements! Guests with special needs receive free admission, while others will need to purchase a ticket at varying prices. The sprawling campus is something to behold, and there’s even an Ultra-Accessible water park/splash pad as well! Check out their website to see the many attractions and events taking place, and take note of the open hours before you plan your trip. As it is a theme park, Morgan’s Wonderland has different park hours depending on the season. Morgan’s Wonderland is located at 5223 David Edwards, San Antonio, TX 78233.
Completed just last year in 2022, the new playground has been designed to welcome children of all accessibility levels through the inclusion of ADA-accessible play equipment. In addition to the playground, the facility includes a new walking path with access to five new adult exercise equipment stations. A fruit tree forest is planned as well. Located at Encino Branch Library, 2515 E Evans Rd, San Antonio, TX 78259.
This is a small, brand new playground that includes wheelchair accessible playground equipment and is connected to the San Antonio Greenway system. The Maverick Greenway Trail is a .7 mile paved trail that connects with the Huesta Creek Greenway Trail, and the Leon Creek Greenway Trail further south. The playground has a family restroom facility and is located at 13903 Babcock Rd, San Antonio, TX 78249.
Harlingen: Pendleton Park
This playground features ramps, musical equipment, an accessible see-saw and merry-go-round, and a synthetic turf surface. The 47-acre park has many more amenities including restrooms, a scenic pond with a fountain, 1 mile trail with handicap accessible exercise equipment, a park pavilion, Veterans memorial, the Pendleton Pool, 6 little league baseball fields, 18 lit tennis courts, and a basketball court. Located at 1427 Morgan Blvd. Harlingen, TX.
Abilene: Oscar Rose Park
This playground was recently renovated in 2022 as an innovative "parallel" playground. The intention is for kids of all abilities to play side-by-side thanks to the accommodating equipment, which includes large musical instruments, multiple types of swings, and a merry-go-round. There is a large open play area separate from the jungle gym structure, and the surface is synthetic turf. There is also a paved walking path, skate park, sports fields, and a rec center in the park. Located at 2601 S 7th Street Abilene, TX 79605.
Chris Davidson Opportunity Park uses the 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design, with four Quadrants that accommodate all age groups. Quadrant One is a ramped unit, Quadrant Two features PowerScape Swings, Quadrant Three has a custom train theme, and a freestanding area with shaded play comprises Quadrant Four. This spacious park also features zip lines, climbing walls, swings, and an elevated pavilion with ramp access to allow viewing of all four quadrants. The park is open to the public, and it is located next to a privately owned tennis center at 5700 Briarwood Avenue, Midland, TX 79707.
Amarillo: AMBUCS Playground at Medi Park
This playground features multiple play areas with different levels of challenges for children with varying degrees and types of disabilities. The park and adjacent splash pad include ramps, sidewalks and restrooms which comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It’s also conveniently located between the Don Harrington Discovery Center and the Amarillo Botanical Gardens at 1260 Streit Drive, Amarillo, TX 79106.
Lubbock: Milestones Development & Play Park (opening soon)
Though operated by a nonprofit, a paid admission pass will be required for kids to play at Milestones. Scheduled to open by the end of 2023, this innovative playground will bring the essence and feeling of a traditional “outside park” indoors so that kids of all abilities can play safely regardless of the weather.