Swing into 2022 by checking out a new place to play!
Did you know there are over 500 playgrounds in Central Florida? From city-centric ones with free splash pads to neighborhood parks within walking distance of your home, there are so many quality play areas around town worth exploring. These are the best spots in Orange County and Seminole County. With lots of parking, clean bathrooms, just enough shade and a balance of activities for a range of ages and interests, the five hidden gems listed below are the complete package.
Words and photos by Jasmin Barone
Lake Lorna Doone Park
1519 W. Church St., Orlando
Across the street from Camping World Stadium is the best-kept secret in The City Beautiful. Having just opened months ago, it’s Orlando’s first inclusive playground for families with differing abilities. It’s built with accessibility in mind thanks to several wide playset ramps, inclusive seat swings and lots of room to navigate around structures. Plus, the smaller equipment section is sturdier than usual for the littles who need extra support in ascending the slides. The larger section of the play structure is a climber’s dream with lots of options for spinning and music as well. This park also includes a walking loop, a fitness station, pavilion, basketball courts with covered seating, a spray water park and even a one-of-a-kind mini-golf replica of the back nine at Bay Hill.
70 Tucker Rd., Winter Garden
An oak tree-lined haven provides the perfect amount of sunshade for this wooden Kompan Designs® playset. This picturesque park fosters imagination and provides ample opportunity for kids to explore. Toddlers can meander into the tiny house modeled as a perfect cabin, while more skilled climbers can go all the way up to a tall tree fort overlooking a rope bridge. Once there, suspended in the air, they can descend back down to another cute wooden house, making this playground an ideal place for little adventurers.
1300 N. Fort Christmas Rd., Christmas
Children will love exploring and playing in this replica of the original Fort Christmas, which was built in 1837. The settlement-themed playground feels like you’ve gone back in time! It’s positioned near a 400-hundred-year-old oak tree, so parents have a shady place to watch kids play. Fort Christmas also includes a historical schoolhouse, homes and even a museum — all of which have been donated for preservation and viewing. Live chickens, goats, and rabbits roam alongside the log cabins as well, making this free park a wonderful mix of education, history and hands-on fun.
Lake Mills Park
1301 Tropical Ave., Chuluota
A must-visit for outdoorsy families, this newly renovated play space near beautiful Lake Mills is a dream for picnicking, and it also has convenient camping, fishing and scenic walks overlooking the water. The splendid nature-themed location has two playsets: one for novice adventurers and another for expert explorers. The largest structure includes three levels of mazes that wind up to exceptionally tall, fully enclosed slides along with brand-new rubber floors designed to cushion jumping feet. There’s also a sizable dragonfly see-saw, tree-themed baby swings and nature games for all ages.
Torcaso Cove Park
104 N. Moss Rd., Winter Springs
Set sail to this ocean-themed playground where adventure awaits! This Winter Springs playground brings the beach to landlocked Orlando. Kids can scale an enormous blue whale, play aboard a boat or climb a lighthouse-shaped tower with a slide. The rubber floor makes running a breeze and has bouncy feel to protect against falls — great for kids who like to roll around. There’s also a nearby sand pit and a splash pad, encouraging more swashbuckling play.