Blogger, Writer, Urban Adventurer
Why is it that from a young age, kids seem to want to climb to high places and give us premature grey hair? While I might not understand it, I can try and contain this natural thrill-seeking behavior by taking our kids to local parks with structures designed to let them climb to their hearts’ content. Here are 10 wonderful playgrounds around Houston that feature climbing elements as central items.
3801 Eastside Street
Where: Upper Kirby
What to climb: Right smack in the middle of Levy Park is a giant orb structure with rope netting weaved throughout. It is like a blue spider web inside an open hamster ball—and your kids will love it.
What else to do: Levy Park also has a splash pad, a sweet slide and a number of other non-traditional playground features such as hills and musical step-pads. There are bathrooms on-site and they have some fantastic free events that you can find on their website.
1300 Seamist Dr
What to climb: Jaycee Park is often recommended for their splash pad, but did you know they have a rock wall, too? This particular wall is not very high, so it’s perfect for beginning climbers, as they don’t ever get too far off the ground.
What else to do: The play structure at Jaycee Park offers some shade and toddler-sized slides, as well as a bridge with circular cut-outs to climb between the playground elements. There is some shade, but take note that there aren’t easily accessible bathrooms.
3743 Garnet St
Where: Southside Place
What to climb: At Fire Truck Park, you will find a 3-D rock wall that was built to impress. Each element has at least eight faces to climb as you ascend to the top of the 3D shape and claim domination over the park.
What else to do: The play structures themselves are unique with bridges, tunnels and multiple slides for racing. The park also features a merry-go-round, swings, a seesaw and, of course, a fire truck-themed play structure that has its own mini rock wall.
3311 Beauchamp Street
Where: Northern Heights
What to climb: Travis Spark Park has a wave-like rock wall where kids can either take their time traversing up and down the wall, or attempt to make their way all the way across one side and back.
What else to do: The whole park has a dinosaur theme and there are Triceratops “bones” that are also climbable (and highly Instagramable). Though beware, this is a “spark park,” meaning that during school hours it is used by local elementary school kids. This one is best to visit on a weekend or on school breaks when the park is open to the general public.
700 Heights Boulevard
What to climb: At Donovan Park, you won’t find much plastic, but instead an entire playground full of wooden play structures begging to be climbed and explored. Climbing all over the wooden train is a popular choice among visitors of all ages.
What else to do: There are swings as well as wooden tower structures with bridges and slides. There are also monkey bars and plenty of places for a good picnic or snack.
Bellaire Town Square Loftin Park
Bellaire Town Square Family Aquatic Center
7001 5th St
What to climb: Loftin Park is a small park tucked between the Bellaire Rec Center and the Bellaire Aquatic Center. Even though the park is not large, it features a pretty unique climbing element that to master requires balance and problem-solving skills. The structure incorporates balance boards, spinning hoops, spider webs and a series of rings to keep the climbing interesting.
What else to do: There are some other small play structures onsite, as well as swings and a little jogging path if you want to race kids around the park. It is a good, low-traffic area to practice bike riding, too.
15108 Cullen Blvd
What to climb: You can’t talk climbing and not mention America Ninja Warrior. Tom Bass Park was designed as a challenge course to test out wanna-be ninjas in their climbing, speed and agility. There are ropes and rock climbing walls for strength and floating boards for balance. They even have a sprinting track to time your speed. Each obstacle is a chance to show off to your kids (or have them best you).
What else to do: If you get tired of attempting to beat the buzzer, there is a traditional playground right next door so you can slide into naptime.
3699 Norris Dr
Where: South Braeswood
What to climb: The renovations of Linkwood Park were completed in 2019 and include a number of sweet climbing components. The best of these items are aimed at five- to 12-year-olds and include an observation rope tower, a horizontal ladder, climbing nets and a small rock wall.
What else to do: For younger children, the upgrades include new swings and slides, a small climber and new stepping pods to keep them busy, too.
6200 Jaquet Dr
What to climb: Ware Family Park got a serious upgrade in 2019, and we couldn’t be more pleased. There are two, small triangle-shaped rock walls as well as some free form climbing structures. They also added some low-level play structures to make it more accessible for kids of all abilities.
What else to do: Outside of the climbing and sliding, our kids could not get enough of the spinning swings. There are three seats and the motion is propelled by kids pushing each other around in a circle. It’s a genius way to wear them out, too!
3047 Hampton Dr
Missouri City, TX
Where: Missouri City
What to climb: At MacNaughton Park, you’ll find a small rock wall, as well as some serious monkey bar action. The whole playground is tree-house themed and as such, super climbing friendly.
What else to do: This park also features some serious slides that are higher than pretty much anything else I have seen around town. The playground is on turf, so there’s no picking mulch out of your shoes, and has a shaded picnic area.
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