Wheaton Regional Park2000 Shorefield Rd.
Wheaton, MD 20902-1820
Website ~ Map Link
Bottom Line: Really big, fun park with unusual equipment, big slides and full sun. Great for older kids, shady tot lot for younger kids. Bathrooms, carousel and miniature train make this park a big winner. 5/5 stars
The train and carousel operate weekends only in April and September and daily from May through August. Tickets are $1.75/pp.
Wheaton Regional Park’s “Adventure Playground” has been on my summer bucket list for a while. I stopped by to check it out this week with all three of my kids (8, 7, and 4) and it was a big hit with everyone.
Wheaton Regional Park, is a sprawling park nestled in Wheaton, MD. At 536 acres, it is one of Montgomery County’s largest parks and offers a variety of recreational amusements including: a miniature train, carousel, gardens, ice skating, playground, park trails and more.
The Adventure Playground, located in the Shorefield Area, was recently renovated and re-opened in May 2012. This large playground spans two acres and includes a variety of features and unique environments for children of all ages and abilities. Here’s the conceptual drawing:
Image Credit: Montgomery County Parks
The playground has a ton of different features, I’ll do my best to break it down for you.
The Lower Basin
There are 3 large tube slides that start on the upper level and empty into what I am calling the lower basin.
Also in this area is a spinner and a unique painted “mound” which kids loved climbing up, running around and simply hanging out on.
A concrete wall forms a perimeter around the high side of the basin. To get to the top area of the playground, you must either walk around the wall, or climb up through the openings near the slides.
Once you’ve gotten up to the high side, a variety of play equipment awaits.
The three slides vary in height. Two of my kids loved them, but one complained that the slides banged him around too much as he went down. If you have adventure seeking kids who love fast slides, they will enjoy these!
There is hardly any shade in the park, so folks took refuge under the slides to escape the sun.
There is a large climbing structure — two climbing pyramids joined by a swinging rope bridge. My kids loved this. The right side stayed shady until noon.
The rest of the playground is filled with a variety of abstract equipment designed for climbing, spinning and having fun.
The Adventure Playground has an impressive number of swings — eight in this area, plus some more in the smaller kids play area. 7 of these swings are regular, one is an accessible chair-style swing.
Speaking of accessible, there are several touches designed to make the park wheelchair friendly. Although the surface is primarily mulch, there is a boardwalk style path that runs through the park.
The main portion of the Adventure Playground is designed for ages 5-12, but tucked back in the shade is a play area for younger kids.
In addition to a play structure designed or littler bodies, there were a bunch of rocking animals as well as concrete animal sculptures.
There is a very shady concrete sandlot adjacent to the tot play area. This was hugely popular with a variety of ages.
There are three baby/bucket swings and one more accessible chair swing in this area. These swings are pretty well shaded.
Miniature Train & Carousel
The park has a cute miniature train and carousel. Both operate seasonally — they are open daily May through August, and weekends only in April and September. Tickets are $1.75 per person. Children must be accompanied on the train, and children under 42″ must have a (paying) adult with them on the carousel. Tickets are purchased at the station (pictured above). This building also has bathrooms and a party room.
The train is a replica of an 1863 C. P. Huntington engine and passenger cars — the ride lasts ~10 minutes and takes passengers on a scenic tour through the park.
The carousel is located right next to the train station.
This turn-of-the-century musical carousel (c. 1915), originally resided on the National Mall and operated for many years as the Herschell Spillman Carousel. Now renamed the Ovid Hazel Wells Carousel, it features 33 jumping horses, three zebras and two chariots.
As you might imagine, it was a huge hit with the kids and made for a great finale to our visit.
Wheaton Regional Park is a wonderful destination that has much to offer its visitors. In addition to its many features, free and easy parking, bathrooms on site and water fountains throughout the park add to its appeal.
Do keep in mind that the main playground area gets full sun. The tot lot, sandbox, and baby swings are much shadier. Because of its layout, it can be hard to keep up with kids on the playground — especially if they go down the slides and you are still topside. The park generally has good visibility, but not so much between the big kids section and tot area. The playground is also not enclosed, so if you have children prone to wander, you need to pay attention.
Little kids should be closely supervised in the main play area — they could possibly fall through the openings in the fencing where kids climb up from below.
If you’ve never been, I recommend visiting Wheaton Regional Park — it’s worth the drive.
Looking for more places to play? Check out my reviews of other Playgrounds, Parks, and Play Areas in Arlington and the greater Metro DC area.
Find more parks by visiting my main Arlington Parks & Playgrounds page.