10 Epic Playscapes around Cincinnati & Dayton

Fall is in the air, and it’s time to get outdoors. In the spirit of true outdoor adventure, why not swap the standard swing-and-slide playground for a nature playscape? Part playground, part unstructured park play, nature playscapes are a must for curious, adventurous kids.

Here are 10 Epic Playscapes in Southwest Ohio you must visit:

Cincinnati Playscapes

Arlitt Playscape

Corryville, OH

Nestled inside UC’s campus, Arlitt Playscape is the perfect place for imaginative kids. Arlitt Playscape is the very definition of a true hidden gem. It’s literally located in the middle of the campus; yet, once you’re in it, you don’t feel at all like you’re at the center of our city’s largest school. The playscape is completely enclosed by a fence, so you can truly let your kids run wild in this little piece of urban paradise. There are trails winding through the playscape, like a labyrinth, connecting the various areas together.

Huffman Park

Fairfield, OH

A hidden gem, Huffman Park is located next to the picturesque Fairfield Greens golf course, and it’s one of the most unique playgrounds we’ve come come across! If you aren’t looking closely, you’ll drive right by this playground, which is a fun take on a nature playscape. Its slides are built into the hillside, and there is a tunnel that literally takes kids underground. There are fun structures to climb and other playground-like features, brightly colored and spread across the park’s rolling hills.

Marge & Charles Schott Cincinnati Nature Center PlayScape

Milford, OH

Imagine a large labyrinth of trails, giant logs, kid-sized creeks, rocks, trees and mud. Everything is connected and contained… and your kids can touch, feel and manipulate to their hearts’ content. That’s the Marge & Charles Schott Cincinnati Nature Center PlayScape. This was the first playscape in Greater Cincinnati, and it really set the bar high. And, of course, the Cincinnati Nature Center is one of our city’s most wonderful outdoor treasures. If you’re not a CNC member, you’ll pay daily admission — but it’s totally worth it.

NaturePlay @ BCM

Covington, KY

NaturePlay at BCM is a unique playground, built into the natural elements of a hillside adjacent to the museum. On a nice day, it’s a must before or after your time in the museum. It allows for imaginations to literally run wild and keep in mind that there are many opportunities to get a little dirty. Admission to NaturePlay is free! {Tip: Make a day of it and explore the Behringer-Crawford Museum!}

Summit Park Nature PlayScape

Blue Ash, OH

Summit Park’s Nature Playscape is expansive and features natural materials such as water, sand, mud, sticks and timber. Over the last few months, my kids and I have watched as log forts, ropes courses, two zip lines and kid-sized creek have come together into something truly magical. This Blue Ash gem is FREE.

Dayton Playscapes

Englewood MetroPark Nature Play

Dayton, OH

The nature play area at Englewood MetroPark provides an opportunity for kids to explore, build forts, count bugs and use their imaginations in unstructured outdoor play. There are comfy chairs for caretakers to sit and watch, too. It’s also a short hike to see Patty Falls.

Forest Field Park

Dayton, OH

Forest Field Park is an arboretum as well as a community park. The Park District has planted 14 varieties of evergreens and 41 species of deciduous trees around the park. The play equipment in the park was updated in 2018 and includes a natural play area adjacent to the traditional playground.

Hills & Dales Nature Play Area

Kettering, OH

Offering a traditional play area and a nature play area on the tree-covered hill where children engage with nature. Kids can move back and forth between the two play areas. Caretakers can walk on nearby paths or enjoy the comfy Adirondack chairs. Park in the lot off of Hilton Drive or access by a three-quarter-mile trail walk from Twin Oak Camp off of South Patterson Boulevard.

Russ Nature Reserve Nature PlayScape

Beavercreek, OH

This Dayton gem features hiking trails through mixed prairies and woodlands, apiary, nature study, photography, bird watching, Nature PlayScape are a few things this playground offers.

Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark

Dayton, OH

This Dayton MetroPark has a Children’s Garden unrivaled by any other, featuring lots of sensory play areas, different animal habitats and even a learning garden where kids can get hands-on experience. We especially love the musical garden (which features large, outdoor musical instruments) and the sandbox (because what kid doesn’t love a sandbox?)

Playscapes are all-natural playgrounds where kids can explore, interact and engage with their environment. Enjoy a day of wonder and fresh air at these epic Southwest Ohio playscapes!

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