10 Best Kid-Friendly City Parks in the US

Think your city boasts some awesome parks? See how they stack up against these best-of picks from around the country.
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By Anisa Arsenault, Associate Editor
Updated September 27, 2017
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Looking for a fun day activity for you and the kids? If you happen to be in the neighborhood, you’ll want to check out these amazing parks that, in our eyes, are among the best kid-friendly options anywhere in the country. Nestled in urban areas, they’re easy to get to—and offer spectacular features that truly set them apart.

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McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, AZ

If your household can’t get enough of Thomas the Tank Engine, you’re not going to want to miss out on McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. It’s full of family-friendly attractions like train rides, an antique carousel, a museum and shops.

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Ann Morrison Park in Boise, ID

Home to the Sprit of Boise Balloon Classic, Ann Morrison Park offers Boise residents an escape from the city with 153 acres of gardens, playing fields and courts. Ready to head back downtown? A pedestrian bridge over the Boise River takes you right there.

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North County Recreation Complex in St. Louis, MO

St. Louis’s North County Recreation Complex in Veteran’s Memorial Park will keep your kids entertained all day long: It’s home to a gymnasium, tennis courts, a golf course, a playground and even a water park. And did we mention there’s day camp?

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Civic Center Park in Denver, CO

Denver’s Civic Center Park is best described as an urban oasis. Constantly hosting family-friendly events like bike-in movies, the park may be best known as a hotspot for gourmet food trucks, which participate in Civic Center Eats.


Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn Bridge Park is a sprawling waterfront recreation area with a stunning background of the Manhattan skyline. Spread across several different piers, the park offers large lawns, playgrounds, a carousel and even a beach built from the remnants of a railroad float transfer bridge (you can’t swim, but having fun in the sun is encouraged!).


Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, FL

Covering more than 2,600 acres along the St. Johns river, Blue Spring State Park is home to a growing population of manatees! From mid-November through March, kids can catch sight of these adorable marine mammals. They can also go tubing, canoeing, kayaking and hiking along the many nature trails.


Millenium Park in Chicago, IL

In addition to 25 acres of awe-inspiring landscape, Millenium Park boasts tons of family-friendly events, including a summer movie series, outdoor concerts and art exhibitions. Kids can enjoy sing-alongs and art lessons in the Lurie Garden in the warmer months, and the iconic “Cloud Gate” sculpture—better known as the Bean—offers fun for all ages throughout the year.


Smothers Park in Owensboro, KY

Located along the Ohio River, Smothers Park features three fountains with cascading waterfalls and four water shows every hour. The Lazy Dayz Children’s Playground and Spray Park sports a 30-foot elevated walkway through the trees and a splash park so kids can cool off in the warmer months, and is fully handicap-accessible.


Griffith Park in Los Angeles, CA

Boasting over 4,210 acres, Griffith Park is one of the largest municipal parks with urban wilderness areas anywhere in the US. Head to the Oschin Planetarium for live shows, look through telescopes to spot the Hollywood sign (and other spectacular views), check out the LA Zoo (where kids can feed the giraffes!) or mosey on over to the Travel Town Museum to see steam locomotives from the 1940s.


Zilker Metropolitan Park in Austin, TX

Zilker Metropolitan Park offers plenty to keep the kids entertained all day: Your family can hike or bike along miles of trails, take a train ride on the Zilker Zephyr miniature train, splash around in the Barton Springs natural swimming pool, check out the Austin Nature and Science Center and so much more.

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