If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly trying to find some new playground areas for your kids. We have our standards – Vandergriff Park in Hixson and White Oak Park close to our home – but a new playground is always fun to explore!
I’m featuring some of the favorite parks of my family, as well as the families of our contributors and readers. We asked for your input on the Facebook page, and I’m sharing some quotes from our readers so you can learn from them, too! And if you have a favorite not listed here, leave us a comment, and we’ll get it added.
Vandergriff Park, 1414 Gadd Road – This park offers something for everyone! There are structures for younger kids, older kids, even wheelchair-bound children; swings galore; a walking track; and a shelter with picnic tables.
“I love the multiple structures that are age appropriate, pavilion for picnics, and a walking path.” – Vanessa T.
Chester Frost Park, 2318 Gold Point Cir. N – Chester Frost has several playground areas: the popular “beach” playground near the entrance, which also has entrances to the lake for swimming during the warm months, and a couple age-divided structures farther into the campsites.
Rivermont Park, 3400 Lupton Drive – Near the Champions Tennis Club, this structure has handicap-access structures.
Kid’s Corner, 3817 Redding Road – A smaller, wooden playground tucked behind Dayton Boulevard near Red Bank Methodist and Baptist churches.
White Oak Park, 798 Ben Miller Parkway – A great hidden gem, this park is cooler on summer mornings, with slides, climbing, and swings.
Red Bank Elementary School, 1100 Mountain Creek Rd. – We live close to Red Bank Elementary, and although my kids don’t go there, we enjoy using the playground when school is not in session. The adjoining Mountain Creek Park has a great path for walking, running, and bike and scooter-riding. Lots of green space for running around, too. This is our local school, but I know the situation depends per school. There should be signs telling you whether the school playground is open to the public during off hours.
Hill City, 26 Trewhitt Street – This park offers swings, a slide, and a climbing structure.
Riverview Park, 1000 Barton Avenue – This park has a great, large play area with fenced-off area for younger children. It’s been spiffed up the last several years, and now it also has an outdoor amphitheater, areas for picnics and grilling, and a covered area with tables. It’s a little hard to get to, especially if you’re coming south on Hixson Pike, but well worth it!
Downtown/St. Elmo/Amnicola Highway
Elmo Playground, 4909 St. Elmo Avenue – Completely changed during the pandemic, St. Elmo Playground got a BlueCross Healthy Place grant and received a makeover. It now has a large obstacle course, swings, play areas for larger and smaller kids, and a path with grass.
Chickamauga Dam Day Use Area, 3020 Kings Point Rd – Right on the river, this playground has a seated zipline, a climbing wall structure, and some unique structures for play! When it’s warm, you can also swim the roped-off area of the river or take a long walk with your pet.
Fort Negley Park, 1700 Mitchell Street – A sweet neighborhood park with slides, a merry-go-round, and climbing structures.
Miracle League Warner Park Playground, 301 N. Holtzclaw Ave. (adjacent to Chattanooga Zoo) – Designed with the “7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design” in mind, this large playground is a treasure for the downtown area. It does get HOT though in the summer – bring water!
Ross’s Landing Park, Riverside Drive and Chestnut Street – Right on the river across the street from the aquarium, this playground has great structures and a view!
- Main entrance (4301 Amnicola, “Harrison Bridge” entrance) – A great playground split into areas for younger and older children. If you get tired of playing, take a walk or ride along the Riverwalk, stop for a snack in the pavilion, or just blow bubbles and run around the large green space. Areas for grilling and picnic tables as well.
- Entrance at Lost Mound Dr. and Amnicola Highway – Even locals might not know about the “bug playgrounds.” Turn toward the river on Lost Mound Drive, and then left into the Riverpark entrance. Keep going until you see the dragonfly play structure. You can eat a picnic lunch at the covered picnic tables before journeying down the path of the “bug playgrounds.” Several different mini-structures mimic a beehive, a spider’s web, and more!
Harrison Bay State Park, 8411 Harrison Bay Road – A quick drive into Harrison Bay will land you at their large playground, with picnic areas and plenty of space to run.
Imagination Station, 4910 Swinyar Dr., Collegedale – “Lots of great stuff, including awesome climbing and sliding structures, sand, swings, a train. They just added ‘baby-and-mommy’ swings. Really nice for an infant.” – Betty E.
Nature Nook, 5225 Tallant Rd, Ooltewah – This park has a picturesque, landscaped area with an open-air ampitheater, a playground, a gazebo, and a swing.
Thatcher Switch Recreational Area, Tucker Rd & Apison Pike, Collegedale – A small playground with rentable pavilion and sports fields.
Camp Jordan, 323 Camp Jordan Parkway – This newer playground is just stellar, from the beautiful “stained glass” art to the structures encouraging jumping, exploring, and creativity.
Heritage Park, 1428 Jenkins Road – The playground is situated in the middle of a walking path, near the dog park.
“Heritage Park has a highly visible playground, semi-wooded areas, and a creek.” — Laura M.
Standifer Gap Park and Recreation Center, 8327 Standifer Gap Road – As well as tennis courts and a sand volleyball court, the park has a wooden playground.
Pioneer Frontier Playground, 1517 Tombras Avenue – Updated in the last few years, there is a large playground and a whole “Ninja Warrior” type course!
Lookout Mountain/Lookout Valley
John A. Patten Park, 3202 Kellys Ferry Rd. – The recreation center here is a converted school and has a nice, clean playground just west of downtown.
The Commons, 700 Scenic Highway, Lookout Mountain – According to their site, “The Commons (located in Lookout Mountain, TN) is a hub of community recreation. Not only does this park have a track, the Navarre Pavilion, ball fields, and tennis courts, but it also features summer camps (including the popular Kiddie Day for 4- and 5-year-olds). There is even an annual baseball parade, which starts at Fairyland Elementary School (in Lookout Mountain, GA) and ends at The Commons on Scenic Highway.”
Althaus Park, James Boulevard & Timberlinks Drive – Located behind the country club, this playground has lots of swings and slides, as well as green space to play and a picnic shelter for snacks. The old-fashioned merry-go-round has been a huge hit with every kid I’ve seen at the park.
The Pumpkin Patch, 1836 Taft Highway – Nestled into the woods is this community-built playground, which is enormous enough to spend a few hours exploring. Gated areas for toddlers and younger kids with a sand area, giant xylophone, and train to “drive.” The main area features a huge slide, swings, all kinds of climbing areas, and more. Your only concern here is losing your kids!