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This summer I would like to encourage families to get out and have some fun exploring some new parks. A few on this list are hidden gems while others are popular playgrounds known and loved by many. The top ten parks listed are my family’s favorite Maryland parks with awesome playgrounds and features. We live in Charles County and all these parks are perfect for day trips. Keep in mind that some are closer than others but none are more than an hour or so away for those living in Southern Maryland. Every week throughout summer I will feature a park and provide inside information and tips for exploring these places. Please feel free to print this passport and check off the places that you’ve visited. On Tuesday September 12, 2017 stop by The Playful Parent table setup at Texas Road House in La Plata to turn your passport in for a certificate and prize. 

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CLARK’S ELIOAK FARM

Let your imagination run wild at Clark’s Elioak Farm, where fairy tales and nursery rhymes are brought to life. With over 25 figures and play sets based on nursery rhymes and fairytales, enchanted forest, interactive petting farm, hayrides and cow train ride, playing outdoors has never been more fun!

Address: 10500 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042

Link: CLARK’S ELIOAK FARM

Guide: The Playful Parent Guide To Clark’s Elioak

 

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FAIRY LOLLY AT ANNMARIE SCULPTURE GARDEN

Imaginative play and nature come to life in the Fairy Lolly, where you will find engaging activities such as: jumping stumps, sandbox, tents, castles, tepee and more all perfect for make believe! 

Address: 13480 Dowell Road, Dowell, MD 20629

Link: FAIRY LOLLY AT ANNMARIE SCULPTURE GARDEN 

Guide: The Playful Parent Guide To Annmarie Sculpture Garden

 

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GILBERT RUN PARK

Gilbert Run Park may seem like an average park at first glance; however, it has so much to offer. This scenic wooded park is ideal for hiking and nature trails, picnicking and playing on the shaded playground. There is also a fresh water lake which is perfect for fishing, pedal boating, rowboating, canoeing and kayaking.

Address: 13140 Charles Street, Charlotte Hall, MD 20622

Link: GILBERT RUN

Guide: Coming Soon!

 

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GLEN ECHO PARK

Glen Echo Park is an arts and cultural center that offers tons of activities for families. From playground to picnic area and puppet shows to carousel rides, a trip to this park is sure to entertain your littles for hours.

Address: 7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo, MD 20812

Link: GLEN ECHO PARK

Guide: The Playful Parent Guide To Glen Echo Park

 

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MIEDZINSKI PARK (THE WOODEN PARK)

“The Wooden Park” is a really cool playground made entirely out of wood. When it comes to playground equipment this park has it all; from traditional swings and sandbox to unique suspended bridges and wooden  airplanes. My favorite is the xylophone with color coded keys and notes painted so you can play songs.

Address: 23145 Leonard Hall Drive, Leonardtown, MD 20650

Link: MIEDZINSKI (WOODEN) PARK

Guide: The Playful Parent Guide To The Wooden Park

 

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NICOLET PARK

This is the perfect place to visit on hot summer days! The park has an amazing splash pad to keep little ones cool. There is also a playground, picnic area and skate board park.

Address: 21786 Bunker Hill Dr, Lexington Park, MD 20653

Link: NICOLET PARK

Guide: Coming Soon!

 

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PISGAH PARK

Pisgah Park is one of Charles County’s best kept secrets! In addition to the basic play ground structure at the center of the park; Pisgah also has four unique and fun nature themed play areas spaced out along a .75 mile paved walking trail. I love that the play areas along the trail have adult workout equipment next to them that encourages exercise even for the busy parent.

6645 Mason Springs Rd

La Plata, MD 20646

Link: PISGAH PARK

Guide: Coming Soon!

 

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WATKINS REGIONAL PARK

Watkins Regional Park is a favorite to many. If you haven’t been yet you definitely need to go! Watkins Park has a puffer belly train ride, antique carousel, farm, nature center and two amazing playgrounds. The Wizard of Oz themed playground is like walking into a storybook as Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz” comes alive before your eyes. Start your adventure and follow the yellow brick road to the 12,000 square foot Wizard of Oz themed playground. Walk under a giant rainbow that reflects bright and vibrant colors at your feet. Cross over the bridge and the magic unfolds as you are greeted by the scarecrow and other characters.  

Address: 301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

Link: WATKINS REGIONAL PARK

Guide: The Playful Parent Guide To Watkins Regional Park

 

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WALKER MILL REGIONAL PARK

PG County has some of the coolest parks and this one is my favorite. This new park opened in 2015 and was designed by the same makers of the popular Wizard of Oz playground at Watkins Regional Park. From the bridge made out of piano keys that actually plays music to the misting station to cool off at, you are sure to find this park totally awesome. The slide at this park is longer than any I’ve ever seen and the fact that there is a built in high chair in the picnic tables had me sold.

Address: 8840 Walker Mill Road, District Heights, MD 20747

Link: WALKER MILL REGIONAL PARK

Guide: The Playful Parent Guide To Walker Mill Park

 

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WHEATON REGIONAL PARK

Wheaton Regional Park is a top favorite playground from my childhood. Nestled in a forested area of Wheaton, Maryland, Wheaton Regional Park offers a variety of recreational and educational opportunities within its 536 acres. This park has the best adventure playground in the state. Not to mention has a garden, nature center, stables, train rides and carousel to explore.

Address: 2000 Shorefield Rd, Wheaton-Glenmont, MD 20902

Link: WHEATON REGIONAL PARK

Guide: Coming Soon!

 

SOUTHERN MARYLAND PARKS LINKS BY COUNTY

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Charles County Parks

Calvert County Parks

PG County Parks

St. Mary’s County Parks

La Plata Splash Pad

VIRGINIA RECOMMENDATIONS

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LEE DISTRICT PARK- OUR SPECIAL HARBOR

Lee District has an amazing imaginative playground and splash pad! Best part is…it’s FREE!

Address: 12000 Government Center Park, Fairfax, VA

Link: LEE DISTRICT PARK – OUR SPECIAL HARBOR

Guide: The Playful Parent Guide To Special Harbor