"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood." ~ Mr. Rogers
We are lucky to have so many great playgrounds and parks in Douglas County and surrounding areas to explore. From swings and slides to climbing walls and water features, our parks and playgrounds keep my kids active, are a great place to meet old friends (and make new ones), and they're FREE!
Following is our list of what we consider to be some of the BEST parks in Douglas County and surrounding areas. Several have splash pads too, which makes them the perfect destination for summer's hottest days! Locations are listed alphabetically.
5001 S. Inca, Englewood
What we love about Belleview Park: Located next to Pirates Cove, it's famous for the Farm and the Train (both are $2 per person and open throughout the summer except for Mondays). It also has two playgrounds with a covered picnic area between them, plenty of room to run around, and a shallow creek filled with wading children. You'll want to have two pairs of shoes for each person when you visit this park: closed-toe shoes for the farm and water shoes for wading.
Amenities at Belleview Park: Four pavilions, restroom, softball field, tennis courts, basketball court, bike path, Canine Corral Dog Park
1390 Clear Sky Way, Castle Rock
5:00 AM–11:00 PM
What we love about Bison Park: It has a covered picnic pavilion, a HUGE playground with a variety of structures suitable for kids of all ages, and synthetic turf fields. Bring lots of sunscreen and lots of water as there is very little shade on the playground other than the pavilion.
Amenities at Bison Park: Pavilion, portable restroom, ADA accessible, ADA swing, trails, basketball half-court, climbing wall, tennis court, multi-purpose fields, lighted tennis court
Centennial Center Park
13133 E. Arapahoe Rd., Centennial
What we love about Centennial Center Park: There are several playgrounds for children of all ages, educational and historical information about the state of Colorado, a large grassy field, two covered picnicking areas, and a really, really big splash pad. Since the park opened, it has been one of the most popular in the area and the different levels can make it a little hard to keep track of more than one child. Just play together and stay together and you will have a great time!
Amenities at Centennial Center Park: Amphitheater (reservable), barbeque grills, bicycle paths, bicycle racks, covered shelter (reservable), electrical power, gas fireplace, picnic tables, playground, restrooms, shade areas, trash receptacles, walking trails paved and unpaved
Civic Green Park
9370 Ridgeline Blvd., Highlands Ranch
What we love about Civic Green Park: There are TONS of family-friendly events all year round, from festivals to the annual ice cream social to cultural performances. Located next to the James H. LaRue Library, the park has a wonderful playground, a small man-made creek running next to the playground, fountains for splashing in to stay cool, and a stage.
Amenities at Civic Green Park: BBQ grills, drinking fountain(s), electrical outlets, picnic tables, playground, restrooms, shelter/pavilion, water features
7306 W. Bowles Ave., Littleton
What we love about Clement Park: Clement Park hosts a variety of events including the Colorado Irish Festival in July and the Summerset Festival in September. This park literally has something for everyone — three playgrounds, a skate park, tennis courts, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, trails, and a 60-acre lake with a stroller-friendly walking path all the way around it. And if an afternoon shower comes in, the library is adjacent to the parking lot.
Amenities at Clement Park: Batting cages, concession stand, Grant Amphitheater, horseshoe pits, inclusive playground, lake, lighted trails, multi-use fields, picnic shelters, restrooms, sandpit volleyball courts, skate park, smaller play structure, softball fields, splash park, splash park shelters (reservations are required), tennis courts
Deputy Zack S. Parrish III Memorial Park
2020 Fiddle Rd., Castle Rock
5:00 AM–11:00 PM
What we love about Deputy Zack S. Parrish III Memorial Park: This park is huge, with a 3-story enclosed play structure, zipline, multiple climbing structures, a percussion area, and a younger child's play structure you can spend hours without getting bored. The 3-story playground is big enough for even those of us that are young at heart.
Amenities at Deputy Zack S. Parrish III Memorial Park: 5.5 Acres, ADA accessible, bocce ball courts, cornhole boards, multiuse court, paved trails, pavilion (general use, no reservations at this location), pickleball courts, 2 playgrounds (2-5 years and 5-12 years), portable restroom, synthetic-turf area
16831 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison
Bus Tours: $10-$15/person
What we love about Dinosaur Ridge: THE place to go if you've got a dino fanatic in the family. Dinosaur Ridge Trail has more than 15 marked fossil sites, including a site with more than 300(!!) dinosaur footprints. Follow it up with a trip to Morrison Natural History Museum, and your kids will think they're in Dino Heaven!
Amenities at Dinosaur Ridge: Dig-pit, restrooms, hiking trails, visitor center
Elk Ridge Park
7005 Mira Vista Ln., Castle Pines
What we love about Elk Ridge Park: 360-degree views of the plains and foothills, an educational scavenger hunt, a large playground with a two-story slide, and a fun splash pad. Even though it's in the midst of the "burbs," the park has a wonderfully natural setting and feel to it.
Amenities at Elk Ridge Park: Maze, pavilion, playground, portable restrooms, rock climbing area, scavenger hunt, spray-ground, turf field,
6115 S. Santa Fe Dr., Littleton
What we love about Hudson Gardens: Well-known for its summer concert series. Its regional display gardens — including the Plant Zoo with Porcupine Grass, Ostrich Fern, and other "animals" — showcase plant life that grows well in the Rocky Mountain Region. The miniature Garden Railroad (for viewing, not riding) and the Water Gardens with giant lily pads and scores of tiny frogs are some of our favorite features. Borrow a Family Explorer Pack and wear comfortable walking shoes.
BONUS: Hudson Gardens is FREE (donations gratefully accepted).
Amenities at Hudson Gardens: Restrooms, visitor center
Greenwood Plaza Blvd. and E. Caley Ave., Greenwood Village
What we love about Marjorie Park: Marjorie Park isn't very big, doesn't have a playground or a splash pad or even a picnic table. So why is it on our list of favorite parks? Because it has incredible, gorgeous, life-size sculptures of the characters from Alice in Wonderland, including a huge one of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. Enter from the parking lot and follow the path to see the White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, and others presented in the same order that Alice met them. Make your visit extra special by bringing cupcakes with "Eat Me" labels or use cookie cutters to make bread-and-butterflies.
NOTE: Marjorie Park is on the north side of Fiddler's Green Amphitheater, so check the concert schedule before you go to avoid closed streets and parking issues.
Amenities at Marjorie Park: Paved walking trails
10795 Victorian Dr., Parker
What we love about O'Brien Park: Located near downtown Parker, O'Brien Park has two playground areas, a multi-purpose field, a basketball court, and H2O'Brien Pool (requires paid admission to enter). Many family-friendly events, including outdoor summer movies and Parker Days Festival, take place at this popular park. A variety of shops and restaurants are within walking distance.
Amenities at O'Brien Park: Multi-purpose field, basketball court, BBQ grills, pavilions/gazebo, picnic tables, restrooms, water fountain
Philip S. Miller Park
1375 W. Plum Creek Pkwy., Castle Rock
5:00 AM–11:00 PM
What we love about Philip S. Miller Park: This 300-acre park has something for EVERYONE... great hiking trails, a large playground, the Challenge Hill outdoor staircase, and more. We can (and have) spent an entire day at this park. If the weather turns sour or it gets too hot, we head inside to the Miller Activity Complex (the MAC) to jump on the trampolines or swim indoors.
Amenities at Philip S. Miller Park: 2.5-acre adventure playground, Millhouse events center, outdoor amphitheater, Miller Activity Complex, Challenge Hill outdoor staircase, The EDGE: Zipline Tours, adventure playground, interconnected trail network, synthetic-turf field, concrete pathways, picnic pavilions, restrooms, splash pad, plaza area, outdoor fireplace
18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison
What we love about Red Rocks: Red Rocks is famous worldwide for the Amphitheatre, the only natural geologically formed open-air theater in existence. The beautiful setting, various trails with breathtaking views, and impressive sandstone monoliths make it an extraordinary place to spend the day. The Visitor Center has a variety of educational exhibits and pamphlets on nearly every tourist destination in Colorado.
Amenities at Red Rocks: 4 hiking trails, amphitheater, restrooms, breastfeeding area, visitor center
3280 Redstone Park Cir., Highlands Ranch
What we love about Redstone Park: Redstone Park has a skate park (fun for skating or just watching), baseball fields, tennis courts, covered picnic tables, and a fun playground with a sand table.
Amenities at Redstone Park: batting cages, BBQ grills, dog park, drinking fountain(s), electrical outlets, picnic tables, playground, restrooms, sand play area, shelter/pavilion, skate park, sports field(s), tennis courts
Roxborough State Park
4751 E. Roxborough Dr., Littleton
What we love about Roxborough State Park: Filled with spectacular red-rock formations that are just as beautiful in the winter as in the summer. It has an educational Visitor Center, kid-friendly hiking trails, and Junior Ranger programs year-round (reservations required). Friends of Roxborough sponsor events and programs for all ages, including moonlight hikes and summer concerts.
Amenities at Roxborough State Park: Amphitheater, hiking trails, visitor center, restrooms
11920 Motsenbocker Rd., Parker
What we love about Salisbury Park: In addition to the baseball fields and equestrian complex, there are two playgrounds, one of which is completely ADA accessible, with a multi-purpose field and access to the Cherry Creek Trail.
Amenities at Salisbury Park: Batting cages, BBQ grills, horseshoe pits, multi-purpose fields, pavilions, playgrounds, restrooms, water fountain
S. Downing St. and E. Louisiana Ave., Denver
What we love about Washington Park: My favorite feature is the flower garden, which is replanted every Memorial Day weekend so it is "new" each summer. One of the three largest parks in the Denver park system, Wash Park also has a great playground, a large field frequently filled with volleyball nets, walking and biking paths, soccer fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts. Smith Lake has a paved walking path around it, or you can rent a kayak, canoe, or pedal boat.
Amenities at Washington Park: Playground, large field, walking and biking paths, soccer fields, basketball courts, tennis courts
5701 S. Quebec St., Greenwood Village
What we love about Westlands Park: A hidden gem. It has a HUGE playground area, a two-story treehouse, a giant sculpture of two hands holding a rock (and usually several kids perched atop it), a man-made lake, an inline hockey rink, paved and unpaved walking paths, and a splash pad. The playground area has very little shade but it also had the best-maintained bathrooms of all the parks we visited.
Amenities at Westlands Park: large climbing structures, 3 playgrounds, multi-use playing fields, musical instruments, interactive water feature, pond, hike/bike trail, charcoal grills, restrooms, pickleball courts, basketball court
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