The new farm-themed playground at Edgewood Community Park. Credit: Natasha Dillinger
Taking advantage of a rare sibling-free afternoon, I fully intended to take my 6-year-old daughter on a grand tour de playgrounds around the South Sound. We made our first stop at the recently opened Edgewood Community Park and it ended up being so much fun that we abandoned the rest of our itinerary and barely had time to stop for dinner. It’s that good.
Edgewood is a community in Pierce County that sits east of Tacoma, between Milton and North Puyallup.
Fun on the farm
The new playground’s real tractor provided a spectacular teaser when we spotted it last fall, during the park’s construction phase. And now that the playground is open, the tractor is living up to the hype — during our visit, kids slunk across the cable obstacle course at the tractor’s rear before scrambling into the driver’s seat for a turn at the wheel. A large spinner, giant tractor tires to climb and a small spider net nearby provide excellent distractions while waiting for a go on the tractor.
A two-story barn provides another visit-worthy centerpiece. My 6-year-old dashed through the barn doors to climb through a faux chicken coop (blissfully poop-free) and up repurposed metal pipes to the tallest slide. Climbing holds and wagon wheels provided more ways to scale the walls.
While it wasn’t an issue for my older child, the barn did not have great visibility for parents watching from the sidelines. If you come with a toddler, be prepared to let them enjoy a little independence and have a good extraction plan when it’s time to go — there are plenty of places for kids to hide in an attempt to extend a playground visit.
Just when I thought my daughter was ready to see more of the play space, she discovered the scavenger hunt. Following a guide posted on the barn siding closest to the parking lot, kids can search for small metal replicas of apples, pickles and more hidden throughout the structure. She kept returning to look for more items throughout our park visit and it seems like the type of activity that would keep slightly older kids more engaged.
But wait, there’s more
Swing banks can be tricky at a busy playground: my kids seem to spend half their time waiting impatiently for their turn. Edgewood offers six swings with a nice variety so everyone can join in. You’ll find two toddler swings, two standard belt options, a friendship swing for a parent-child pairing and a basket swing that accommodates multiple kids or a disabled child who needs some support.
You’ll probably find a queue at the zip line, though. With launch points at both ends, figuring out whose turn it was to speed across the track took a little parental coaching (it seemed to work best if kids “return” the rope to each other by alternating from each side). It’s worth the wait — a nice smooth ride and a grade with the perfect amount of acceleration made it a top feature for my thrill-loving kid.
While my daughter is sadly too old for toddler structures (honestly, so is her three-year-old brother), the tot play area here is bigger than the usual fare. The treehouse shape and variety of climbing and sliding areas even attracted a few older kids.
A $1 million grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office gave this project more flexibility to add several unique and inclusive features. Edgewood maximized its accessibility budget with two ramps leading into the barn, and mixing poured rubber and engineered wood fiber surfacing. The poured rubber surrounds the barn and leads up to the swing bank, while less expensive wood chip surfacing fills in the rest of the playground.
The lower level of the barn where I hung out helping with the scavenger hunt (yes, it was fun for me too!) was darker and quieter than the rest of the play area. This is the perfect spot for kids in need of a break from sensory overstimulation. Props to the kid who very politely asked me to move so she could slip down the firefighter pole.
Taking advantage of a sunny afternoon with just the two of us, my daughter and I enjoyed a much-longer-than-anticipated playground outing. Edgewood Community Park easily earns can-entertain-for-hours status.
We finally had to leave to pick up dinner, but next time I’ll plan ahead and bring along a picnic or some takeout. We’ll eat at one of the many picnic tables, including some under a shelter. There are also multiple grills if you care to cook out. This way we can enjoy the park for even longer.
If you go…
Find it: Edgewood Community Park is located at 10301 36th Street E. in Edgewood. Caution: Google Maps labels nearby Edgemont Park with the same name, so make sure you head to the right location. Edgewood is about 20 minutes from Tacoma, or about 40 minutes from either Seattle or Bellevue.
Parking and facilities: Free parking in the adjacent lot. Gender-neutral restrooms with flush toilets were very clean on our visit.
Bring Scooters or bikes for the 0.7 miles of paved trails that surround the park. Bring a picnic lunch or dinner to enjoy at multiple widely spaced picnic tables (including a first-come, first-serve shelter) so you can extend your park visit.
Nearby: We visited Brank’s BBQ for our post-playground dinner (strong recommendation for the Brisket french dip!). You’re also only 10 minutes away from the excellent bakery and restaurant at Puyallup’s Farm 12.
More places to play: