During our last family vacation (before Covid), I found myself Googling two words.
Not "best restaurants" (though we ate out plenty.)
Not "family attractions" (though we hit several tourist spots).
But "awesome playgrounds."
Obviously awesome is relative, but I really wanted some great playgrounds. My then-4-year-old and 2-year-old were wiped out from the heat and bustle of popular tourist spots and were sorely in need of some place where they could run and just "be" without me worrying about them running into the ocean or getting lost in a shopping center. My search led me to several in the area, and we ended up spending many relaxing hours there as a family. Frankly, they were among the highlights of our trip!
When we returned home, it made me wonder what I was missing in my own city.
Murfreesboro, Smyrna, La Vergne and Eagleville have a combined 30-plus number of parks, playgrounds, and trailheads that are open to the public, and while not all have large playgrounds, many of them do, and for those of us lucky enough to live here -- or visit!-- it's worth taking the time to explore them. I picked out seven playgrounds that have exceptional factors to them, namely up-to-date equipment and becoming settings, but my hope is that this list is just a starting point for families to experience more of what our parks have to offer!
Check out these seven awesome playgrounds.
110 Sam Ridley Pkwy E. Smyrna.
For a playground to keep the whole family busy, Smyrna's Lee Victory Recreation Park is an intriguing blend of trails and playground. Sitting across from the Smyrna Airport, the park also offers visitors a close-up of different aircraft departing and arriving (kids adore this). Leveled playground equipment ensures tiny toddlers and even active middle schoolers can find a challenge to try, while the 1.25 Greenway trails offers a cool respite in a large forest, complete with paved paths and boulders for climbing. Don't forget to visit the Capt. Jeff Kuss USMC Memorial, with its tribute to the fallen Blue Angel pilot and the history of aviation in Smyrna.
3640 Morton Rd., Smyrna.
Part of a $7 million dollar project to provide much-need baseball fields for Smyrna's youth programs, the playground adjacent to the grounds of this sports mecca is worth a visit in its own right. Merry-go-rounds, bridges, and lots of climbing apparatus, mean kids can get a workout, while shaded decks make hot days feel a little easier.
115 Floyd Mayfield Dr., La Vergne.
La Vergne's destination for all things outdoor recreation offers a plethora of fun, from inviting climbing and sliding apparatus, swings, to a skate park, basketball court, in-line hockey rink, green space, and even horse shoe course! Take advantage of covered pavilions for eating and resting, and hit the walking the trails with strollers or bike.
120 Dejarnette Ln, Murfreesboro.
As part of the special needs baseball facility, the playground at the David Price Miracle Field (above) features inclusive activities for all ages and abilities. A zipline and glider with secure seating, sensory stations, music equipment, and some serious climbing tunnels-- all on top of springy turf and flooring-- means not only will kids (and caregivers) have fun, but will also be safe. In the summer look for the water to turn on the oversize baseball fountain, too!
515 Cherry Ln Dr. Murfreesboro.
Set next to one of the most beautiful soccer parks in the country, the playground ensures that littles watching siblings in a game, or just hanging out, will have a wonderful time. Little climbers will find rock walls and ropes to scale, along with swirling slides and covered observation stations. A walking trail around the playground means Mom and Dad can get in some steps while kids play, or easily transition to bike or stroller activities.
1019 Ball Park Ave. Eagleville.
A recent addition to the city, the playground at Eagleville City Park is worth the drive from those farther in the county! Swings, covered bridges, towers, slides and places to climb are all served at the fenced-in park. Pick up a game the three baseball/softball fields and stroll the walking trails in this community spot in the heart of Eagleville.
Old Fort Pkwy, Murfreesboro.
A favorite haunt for many Murfreesboro families, the 50-acre Old Fort Park (above) features the incredible Kid's Castle, a large, fenced playground with activities for most ages from baby to middle school. Towering slides await on top of high climbing towers, while a merry-go-round, swings (infant and child), climbing ropes and monkey bars challenge scrappy climbers. Adjacent to the playground are Greenway trails, picnic tables, green space (perfect for throwing frisbees!), and tennis courts.
What's your favorite playground to recommend to your friends with kids? Share it in the comments!
Laura Beth Payne is a writer mama and Murfreesboro native who lives in the Blackman community with her husband and two children. Follow her at @murfreesboromama on Facebook and Instagram. Got a column idea? Email her at email@example.com.