In no particular order, these playgrounds represent some of the best from around the city. Some of the playgrounds have been on the list for a while, but I try to include a lot of newer ones each year.
1. Thomson Family Park. This newly-redeveloped Beltline Park used to be home to Calgary’s lawn bowling club. The highlight of this playground is the tall hill slide. It also features a hexagonal climber and a large web climber. Located at 1236, 16 Avenue SW.
2. Applestone Park. Applestone Park has a huge accessible playground with equipment suitable for kids of all ages and ability levels. Hands down one of Calgary’s best and biggest playgrounds. I encourage everyone to make the trip to see it but especially if you have a child with special needs. Located at 188 Applewood Drive SE.
3. Confederation Park. This playground was designed to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and includes a tipped-over canoe climbing sculpture, a multi-level fort with huge slides, a water pump, sand area, and swings. The play space is set up as more of a social space, with seating integrated into the play area rather than just along the perimeter. Located at 905, 30 Avenue NW.
4. Currie Barracks Airport Playground. This playground has become instantly popular. The airplane theme is really attractive, the flooring is accessible, and the control tower slide is really tall. Located at 3951 Trasimene Crescent SW.
5. Curious Park. This playground features colorful accessible flooring, some unusual pieces of equipment, and a tall slide. Located at 42 Sage Bluff Gate NW.
6. St. Patrick’s Island. This playground has recently undergone some modifications, which includes the addition of climbing rocks as well as a new slide. The playground has a wonderful setting and includes unusual equipment. Be sure to visit the other side of the park where you’ll find a river wading area and a rocky beach. Located at 1300 Zoo Road NE (you can access the park by car through the south zoo parking lot).
7. Prairie Winds Park. This brand new playscape is located in northwest Calgary’s largest recreation park. It is a different style of playground from most in the city as it uses a ‘natural playground’ setting with hills, slides set into a hill, and a long double zipline. The south playground is only a short walk away (which has a more traditional accessible playground with ramps and saucer swings). Located at 223 Castleridge Boulevard NE.
8. Haysboro. This is one of the most ‘natural’ playgrounds in Calgary. It’s quite different from the more traditional metal and plastic playgrounds, and provides different kinds of challenges for kids. Haysboro Natural Playground is located at 1204, 89 Avenue SW.
9. Valleyview Park. This beautiful park has two fantastic playgrounds both with accessible flooring. The preschool playground is inside a fenced area along with a spray park. The school-aged playground is just up the hill and the equipment will challenge and entertain even your biggest kids. Located at 3224, 26 Street SE.
10. Forest Lawn Natural Playground. This playground is built out of natural-looking materials including logs, stumps, rocks, boulders, and ropes. This playground will be well loved by little and big kids. Make sure to look for the little hidden animals, too! Located at 43 Street and 10 Avenue SE.
11. Evergreen Estates. People can’t stop talking about the swing at this playground. So far, this is the only kind of swing that I know of in the city: It allows you to swing facing your child in a baby swing. The swing is awesome, but so is the rest of the playground! With tons of climbing equipment, a good ramp system, slides, and a high catwalk, there is something for everyone. Located at 1611 Evergreen Drive SW.
12. Prince’s Island Park. Calgary’s most popular playground is definitely a destination playground. The surrounding park area is gorgeous, complete with pathways, mature trees, and surrounding river. During the Summer months, you can also walk over to the wading pool at Eau Claire. This playground is one of the largest in Calgary and has something for everyone. It is partially-accessible with great shade. The Calgary theme with a cowboy hat swing set and Fort Calgary climber completes the package. Located at 698 Eau Claire Avenue SW.
13. Manchester Insect Playground. Located near CF Chinook Centre, this playground offers accessible flooring, a tree house, insect climber, saucer swings, and a large rope spinner. Located at 1A Street SW and 57 Avenue SW.
14. Auburn Bay Toddler Playground. A great playground built for the smaller set with just enough to entertain younger schooled-aged kids for a bit, too. This playground offers great opportunities for active and pretend play, and allows safe independence for kids under age five. Located at Auburn Crest Way and Auburn Crest Green SE.
(Alternative Playground: Mahogany Giant Rock Playground.) This playground is different from any other in Calgary. Older kids will love it! But if you get nervous when your kids climb up high, you might want to skip this one. Kids (and adults) who love a climbing challenge will love testing their skills at this very different style of playground. Located at Mahogany Boulevard and Marquis Heights SE.
15. Killarney Accessible Playground. This playground is generally aimed at younger kids and features accessible flooring throughout. Toddlers will love being able to easily run around the ground, going up and down the ramp and little slides. Kids a bit older will love the high balconies, navigating the step trees, and walking across the wobbly balance beam. Located at 29 Street SW at 19 Avenue SW.
(Alternate Playground: 12 Mile Coulee School Fitness Park Playground.) The equipment at this park is set up in a circuit-like pattern. It was designed to be challenging and support the middle school’s physical education and fitness programs. (This playground is located next to a school so you may be asked to leave during school hours.) Located at 65 Tuscany Hills Road NW.
Dana is the creator of Calgary Playground Review, calgaryplaygroundreview.com. She searches out the best places to play, eat, and learn with kids in Calgary, across Alberta, and beyond. Her three kids also contribute their unfiltered opinions to her reviews.
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