Dear reader: This article contains links to products and services that I may be compensated for, at no extra cost to you.
No matter the season (except, you know, when it’s -30 degrees out…), my kids can’t get enough of Edmonton’s playgrounds.
One of our favorite things to do in Edmonton with our kids is to drive around and “discover” new playgrounds in different Edmonton communities, and in suburbs as day trips from Edmonton.
To compile this list of the best playgrounds in Edmonton for toddlers or young kids, we spent a whole summer and fall exploring ones all over the city. Some didn’t make the cut, while all the ones that did were special or unique for a particular reason, which I’ll cover in detail in this article.
For more fun ideas, also see my guides to the best Edmonton neighborhoods to explore, the top fun things to do in Edmonton, and read about our stay in Fantasyland Hotel’s awesome space-themed room.
Table of Contents
The 5 Best Edmonton Playgrounds (according to my kids)
After visiting 20+ playgrounds around Edmonton and choosing which ones to include in this article, I reviewed all the pictures I had taken with my kids to refresh their memory. Then I asked them to pick their top 5 favorite playgrounds in Edmonton. Here are their most memorable picks:
- St. Boniface School Playground (#2): For it’s super tall slide.
- Meadowview Dinosaur Playground (#7): Because dinosaurs.
- Blatchford Tomato Playground (#8) For its funny tomato theme.
- Elizabeth Finch School Playground (#11): Due to the cool insect theme and and tree towers.
- Sir Wilfred Laurier Park Natural Playground (#15): For its coyote structure.
South Side Playgrounds
1. Kinsmen Park Grizzly Bear Lodge Playground
Beginning right on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River, Kinsmen Park’s Grizzly Bear Lodge Playground is one of Edmonton’s best playgrounds for several reasons.
As the name suggests, the park is grizzly bear-themed, and there are some cute grizzly bear and cub statues that kids can ride.
My kids especially loved the various climbing structures in the park, some of which are quite tall. They have a natural look, so the kids felt like they were climbing out in nature, not in a playground.
Right beside the playground, there’s also a spray park, Queen Elizabeth Outdoor Pool, a huge field, John Walter Museum (read my guide to the best Edmonton museums here), and of course the huge Kinsmen Sports Centre. Also, a short walk will take you to Edmonton’s iconic Walter Dale Bridge and Queen Elizabeth Hill, which has a great view of the city.
As a parent, I especially like Kinsmen for its views of the High Level Bridge, and I have memories of taking diving classes at Kinsmen Sports Centre and going to the park to watch the fireworks on Canada Day.
If it had been up to me, I would have put this playground in the top 5.
2. St. Boniface Elementary School Playground
My kids loved the playground at St. Boniface Catholic Elementary School even more that I expected.
For them, it was all about the super tall slide, which they had to climb up three levels to reach. We had fun doing timed races to see how fast they could get from the bottom all the way to the top and back down again.
Besides the slide tower, there’s another cool rope climbing tower off to the side (see pic below). Across the field and on the other side of Royal Gardens Community League, there’s another playground, Royal Gardens Playground, which also has a small spray park.
3. Jackie Parker Playground
Jackie Parker Park is one of Edmonton’s largest parks outside of the River Valley. It is located on the edge of Mill Woods, along Whitemud Drive and 50 street.
The Jackie Parker Recreation Area is at the east end of the park. The playground there is excellent and very large, with rock climbing, an adventure park, and more.
The park also features a large off-leash area for dogs and lovely pond with walking trails around it. In winter, the pond becomes a skating rink.
But our favorite park of Jackie Parker is the large spray park on site, which is the best one we’ve been to in Edmonton (see here for a full list of spray parks in Edmonton).
4. Hills at Charlesworth Sustainability Plaza
This is a playground in a new community called The Hills at Charlesworth at the far southeastern corner of Edmonton, just outside of Anthony Henday Drive.
The “Sustainability Plaza” name refers to the playground’s focus on sustainability; there are solar-powered lights, a community garden, a rain water tap on a large watering can, benches in colorfully painted shipping contains, and playground elements made from recycled materials and far more wood than plastic.
My kids liked this park main because most of its features were totally unique, and not carbon copies of all the other playgrounds in town.
In the large park behind the playground, there’s a walking & cycling trail, disc golf course, and some hills with tobogganing potential in winter (see my Edmonton in winter guide for more tobogganing options around the city).
5. Svend Hansen School Playground
If you venture as far as Hills at Charlesworth, then you should also add on a stop at the large and fairly new playground at Svend Hansen School. It is just a few minutes east of Hills at Charlesworth by car, but inside Anthony Henday Drive.
This school playground will be a big hit for climbers; there are all kinds of monkey bars and towers of various heights to climb, some being more difficult and suitable for older kids. There are also accessible swings and seesaws.
Our kids really liked the double swing and spinning swings. The park’s most unique feature is a pole with a spinning kaleidoscope that shines colorful lights on different parts of the park, depending on the angle of the sun.
6. Meadowview Dinosaur Park, Leduc
If your kids love dinosaurs as much as mine do, then it is worth making the 20 to 45-minute drive (depending on where in Edmonton you’re coming from) to Meadowview Dinosaur park in Leduc, near the Edmonton International Airport.
According to a sign at the playground, it was inspired by the discovery of a Hadrosaur fossil in the area in 2013, which my kids thought was incredibly cool. The dinosaur fossil is currently stored at Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller.
The park has several dinosaurs built in to the playground’s elements. Our favorite part was the search challenge, which included a dozen or so dinosaur eggs, fossils, teeth, claws and more to find throughout the playground.
If you make the drive out to Leduc, then consider visiting the previous two playgrounds (Svend Hansen and Hills at Charlesworth Sustainability Plaza) on the way back to Edmonton; there’s a lovely drive through farmland connecting them with Leduc.
North Side Playgrounds
7. Blatchford Tomato Playground
Just west of Kingsway Garden Mall, the old Edmonton City Centre Airport is currently being developed into an eco-friendly community called Blatchford. A few homes are already built and occupied there, while most of it is still under construction.
One thing that is already built and available for use is the Blatchford Tomato Playground. The park stands out from afar with its vibrant red and yellow decorative poles. For now, since most of Blatchford is still undeveloped, you can see all the way to downtown from the playground.
While the park isn’t huge, my kids enjoyed it enough to put it on their top 5, I think mainly because it’s just very unique, and the tomato theme made them laugh. I was also happy to note that there are actual tomatoes being grown right beside the playground!
To access the playground, park on Airport Road near the Blatchford Control Tower. The park is just a few minutes’ walk behind the tower.
8. Hudson Park
Hudson Park is a decent playground outside of Hilwie Hamdon School in Cumberland neighborhoods, northwest Edmonton.
My kids dubbed this “Fish Playground” after the large fish that connects two towers; there are other nautical themes like a ship and a crocodile head-topped tower. Watch for the fossilized claws on the rock climbing wall!
Besides the fish theme, this playground has pretty standard features, so it just barely made our list. There’s also a small spray park, skating rink, and field hockey court on site.
9. Elizabeth Finch School Playground
Just five minutes north of Hudson Park by car, Elizabeth Finch School in Carlton neighborhood has one of my kids’ favorite playgrounds in Edmonton.
The first thing that drew my kids’ attention was the forest of tree towers; it was a challenge for them to traverse the whole forest from tree to tree.
One section of the park is insect-themed, with a dragonfly seesaw, honeycombs to climb in, a caterpillar tunnel, and more. There are several informative signs about plants and insects.
The playground also has a tightrope to walk and a small cycling path adjacent to the park that goes over a small bridge.
10. Castle Downs Playground
The Castle Downs Playground makes our list mainly for being one of the largest playgrounds in Edmonton. Because of its size, it’s easy to pass a lot of time there.
Besides the usual playground features, there’s a sandy toddler area, as well as a ship. The ship’s flags denote various neighborhoods of Castle Downs, which we thought was cute.
Beside the playground, there’s also a small spray park, gazebo, and skateboard/scooter park. Because Castle Downs Park is so big, though, that you’ll probably want to hop in your car to visit the YMCA pool, Castle Downs Arena, or Castle Downs Outdoor Skating Rink at the other end of the park.
11. Eaux Claires Playground
Heading east from Castle Downs Park, the community playground in Eaux Claires in the far north of Edmonton almost made my kids’ top five, but this was influenced by the fact they made some friend there, and not the park itself.
The park’s coolest feature is the themed stations: a fire engine & fire station, corner store, bank ATM, and so on. For this reason, I think this is one of the best playgrounds for toddlers in Edmonton, or any kids who love role playing.
There’s also a dedicated toddler section with a small track around it, so bring your tricycles! My kids didn’t, so they used it as a running track instead…
12. Florence Hallock School Playground
Just three minutes by car from Eaux Claires Playground, the playground at Florence Hallock School stands out for one particular feature: a super long zipline for kids.
The rest of the playground is pretty standard, but large enough to keep the kids occupied for a while. But in this case, it’s really that zipline that made this playground memorable for my kids.
West End Playgrounds
13. Westglen School Playground
Tucked away in Westmount neighborhood just south of Westmount Park, Westglen School has one of the city’s most challenging rope climbing towers.
The tower was a little too scary for my son (age 7), but my daughter (age 5) and I both went up, and then agreed one time was enough. But for older and/or braver kids, this would be awesome!
While the tower is on the north side of the school by the parking lot, there’s also a regular playground on the south side of the school, and yet another playground plus a spray park across the field.
14. Sir Wilfred Laurier Park Natural Playground
A brand new playground can be found in Sir Wilfred Laurier Park, one of the city’s most well-known parks.
The playground features two beautifully designed wood towers; the taller one has a super tall slide, while the other is shaped like a howling coyote.
The playground is enclosed by trees, and a path connects the park to a field with several large picnic sites (both reservable and first-come-first-served) and another smaller playground created by the same designers. From the picnic sites, you can also access a walking trail along the river.
To find the playground, take Buena Vista Road toward Edmonton Valley Zoo, turn right at the traffic circle, and park in the parking lot to the left. Then you’ll need to find one of the trails through the bush to access the park.
15. Spruce Grove Natural Playground
Because I saw it recommended in other local blogs about Edmonton playgrounds, we decided to check out Natural Playground in Spruce Grove, west of the city. The playground is mining themed and features a cement slide (tell your kids to watch their heads on the top part; my son bumped his) and a few climbing structures.
The park was smaller than we expected, so it just barely made our list. Even though its small, its quite natural looking, with almost no plastic.
The park’s main appeal for us was the lovely walking trail behind it, which connects to a whole system of trails running through Spruce Grove. The playground also has a nice log cabin beside it which houses Spruce Grove Play School, and some lovely fall foliage.
Was it worth the 30-minute drive from Edmonton, though? I would say no, but if you happen to live in the far west end of Edmonton, or Spruce Grove itself, certainly check it out.
Or, if you’re driving along the Yellowhead or going hiking in Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area (which, by the way, I recommend for some easy hikes with kids!), then it could make for a little stopover on the way. The Spruce Grove Grain Elevator Museum is also nearby.
If you enjoy hiking with your kids, then see my guide to the best easy hikes in Kananaskis!
East End Playgrounds
16. Borden Park Playground
Borden Park is one of the most well-known non-river valley parks in Edmonton. It is quite central and right beside Edmonton EXPO Centre and site of K-Days, one of Edmonton’s biggest summer festivals.
The playground in Borden Park is tree-themed, with a treehouse-like structure. My kids also especially liked the little structure with a snake, bear, and beehive statue.
Besides the playground itself, Borden Park has an outdoor swimming pool, several great picnic spots, walking/rollerblading/cycling trails, and several sculptures and pieces of fine art spread out around the park.
My kids especially liked the Vaulet Willow statue, which they described as a colorful alien. It’s at the southwest end of the park, 5 minutes’ walk from the playground.
Keep an eye out for events hosted at Borden Park; in early fall of 2021 dinosaur-themed Jurassic Festival took place there.
17. Rundle Park
Rundle Park is a large River Valley park on the far east side of Edmonton. To be honest, the playground there is quite small and nothing too special, besides the small music-themed section where kids can bang some drums and push buttons to make musical noises.
I still include Rundle Park though because the park itself has a lot going for it. There are lovely walking trails, including one that crosses pedestrian Ainsworth Dyer Memorial Bridge to Gold Bar Park on the other side of the river. We like going down to the riverside there to skip rocks.
Rundle Park also has several ponds with paddling available in summer, and ACT Aquatic and Recreation Centre (currently undergoing renovation).
In winter, Rundle Park has some of the best tobboganning hills in the city as well as our favorite skating rink in Edmonton, which includes a brand new network of skating trails through the woods and a large rink where hockey is allowed.
18. Broadmoor Lake Park, Sherwood Park
Broadmoor Lake Park is the best park in Sherwood Park, the suburb directly east of Edmonton.
The large park includes a pond with ice skating in winter, gymnastics club, indoor arena, and Kinsmen Leisure Centre.
The playground itself is very large and centres on a huge rope climbing tower with a tall slide coming down from it, with several other sections to the sides. There’s also an adjacent ship-themed spray park; my kids especially liked the dragon that sprays water.
The park can easily visited as a stopover on the way to Elk Island National Park, making for one of the most fun day trips from Edmonton.
19. Elk Island National Park Playground
Our family loves Elk Island National Park, the smallest of Alberta’s 5 national parks, in all seasons.
At the park’s main lake, Astotin Lake, there’s a good playground with various climbing structures, information signs about local wildlife, and a diagram of animal paw prints to find hidden throughout the playground.
From the playground, it’s a short walk to Living Waters Boardwalk, a very short and easy boardwalk trail onto the lake that is very suitable for toddlers or young kids.
The Elk Island National Park Campground is also nearby. Besides regular sites, they’ve also got oTENTik luxury tents available.
20. What Did I Miss?
I’d like to include one more entry to round out this article. Is there an awesome Edmonton playground that I missed? Please let me know in the comments below!