As parents, we teach our children to be inclusive of others. Why shouldn’t play spaces celebrate children with many types of abilities? A growing number of playgrounds and recreational facilities are creating play areas and structures accessible to children of various physical capabilities.
From therapeutic swings to sensory panels, the following four playgrounds in the Baltimore area and surrounding Maryland counties are designed to make sure all children have a blast when playing outdoors.
Kelli and Andy Szczybor created Angel Park, Baltimore County’s largest all-inclusive playground, in memory of their son Ryan, who passed away from leukemia when he was a baby. The playground is specifically designed to accommodate kids with special needs and features a wheelchair-accessible “shaky bridge,” therapeutic swings, a Braille panel, 30-foot accessible zip lines and quiet spots for kids with autism. 9675 Honeygo Blvd., Perry Hall
Hailey’s Wish Boundless Playground
Brigitte Miller founded the Hailey’s Wish nonprofit for her daughter Hailey, whose cerebral palsy diagnosis prevents her from playing on other community playgrounds. In 2015, the foundation built a playground at Carroll Springs School, a school for children who have multiple severe disabilities or chronic health issues and who, like Hailey, need an inclusive space to have fun. With rubber surfacing and ramps, six ADA bucket swings, a saucer merry-go-round and music and sound sensory activity panels, Hailey’s Wish accommodates an array of disabilities so that every child can find something to enjoy. 495 S. Center St., Westminster
Hollofield Play Space at Patapsco Valley State Park
Located in the scenic Hollofield area of Patapsco Valley State Park, the Hollofield playground is both eco-friendly and accessible. Recycled materials make up this play space, which features a rubberized surface and ramps so that individuals in wheelchairs can easily access any part of the playground. The space also features gliders—platforms that move as swing seats—to accommodate a range of disabilities. 8020 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City
Upcoming Northwest Regional Park Playground
A new accessible playground is coming to Northwest Regional Park this year, thanks to a $500,000 donation by the Baltimore Ravens. The new park, which is set to break ground this summer, will feature a wheelchair-accessible rubberized surface, a timed 40-yard dash and other fun features for children of all ages to enjoy. 4515 Deer Park Road, Owings Mill