Best Playgrounds Can Be Found Right Here In St. Louis

By Jessica Hoagland 

I’m going to make a bold hypothesis: Saint Louis has the best playgrounds on the planet. 

Let’s start with Forest Park. Much bigger than Central Park in New York or Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, it’s America’s most beautiful urban park. Forest Park is a historic natural playground all its own, even without the gigantic new children’s playscape currently under construction. 

Any tour of America’s most amazing playspaces must include the City Museum. It’s so out-of-the-box it defies definition, except as an adult playground, which is a ridiculous thing to say but arguably true. 

Citygarden, (not originally designed as a children’s playground), has become a magnet for children of all ages. When viewed as a children’s playscape, it blows Millennial Park in Chicago out of the water. 

Throw in the Children’s Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden, the new ropes course at Union Station and the Magic House, and these anchor institutions alone put Saint Louis on the map of best playgrounds. 

Now turn your attention towards Turtle Park, Rocket Ship Park, the Children’s Fountain at Tower Grove Park, plus inclusive playgrounds at Tilles Park, Forest Park and Zachary’s Playground. Does not the mosaic of great playgrounds come into focus? 

Simply put, Saint Louis has both a density and a diversity of creative playgrounds. 

Saint Louis is like a grand old lady who loves her children. She throws her heart into the wide open spaces, has the imagination to fill those spaces with surprising delights and the pocketbook to keep them all fancy. 

I enjoy nature travel and believe our gateway city is home to the most creative playgrounds on the planet. But how do we quantify this rather bold hypothesis? 

Let’s encourage families to make adventure maps of the places in parks beyond the playground tape. It’s something you can do while maintaining social distancing and pondering a rather bold hypothesis. It also draws into focus that nature is the greatest adventure playground. 

Let’s prove that Saint Louis has the most creative playscapes on the planet — or at least enjoy finding out.

Jessica Hoagland is the founder of Green Spiral Tours and the co-creator of family adventure maps with Angela Wildermuth. You can find her at GreenSpiralTours@ gmail.com or look for our new book of “Urban Wild” Adventure Maps on Amazon.