5 All Abilities Special Needs Playgrounds in Utah (And Tips For Navigating Normal Parks Too!)

I am admittedly not a very fun mom. At least I haven't been the last several years. I've always walked this line of being fun enough that my kids don't go crazy... but not too fun because that would put me in an unpredictable situation that I don't know how Em would react to. I know my kids love being outside though, and I do too, which is why we're making such a huge effort to be an outdoors family this summer through hiking, camping, and playing at parks more often.


One thing that Georgia did well was parks. I felt like each town had at least one special needs playground and we were never lacking in having places to go to keep the kids busy. I've been a little disappointed in that all ability playgrounds are a lot harder to come by in Utah... which is weird since Utah is such a family focused state, and I feel like their is an incredibly large special needs population. I've scoured the internet, and have asked around, and have found six special needs, or all ability playgrounds in Utah. Hopefully one of them is near you to take advantage. 

**Side note. I know a lot of you are going to mention the new park in Bountiful. It is not fully accessible, and there is a HUGE hill by the jungle gym that I'm VERY confident a child just learning to use a gait trainer or wheelchair would get very injured on. I wish they wouldn't reference this park as all abilities because I'm confident that Em would get hurt if we went there.**



1.  Adventure Playground: Located in Logan, Utah at 290 N 400 E in the Whittier Community Center. 

2. Veteran's Memorial Park: Located in West Jordan at 1985 W 7800 S

3. All Together Playground: Located in Orem, Utah at City Center Park, 200-298 100 N Orem, Utah

4. Chloe Sunshine Playground: Located in Syracuse, Utah within Centennial Park, 1800 S 2000 W

5. Thunder Junction: Utah's most well known park in St. George Utah. 1851 S Dixie Drive


Since all ability playgrounds are few and far between, and it's not always practical to travel a long distance to get outdoors with your family, here are a few tips to make navigating typical parks with a special needs child:

1. Know What You're Getting Into: Know which park you're going to and it's terrain before you get there. Don't hop into the car to check out a new park just to find out your child's wheelchair doesn't work on the wood chips, or their gait trainer won't fit between the equipment. Try googling the park ahead of time and see if you can find any pictures on google images so you know what you're up against.

2. Bring Toys With You: If you're going to a park that your child won't be able to access the play structures and equipment, bring toys for them to use there. Is there sand or wood chips that your child can scoop up with a shovel and put into a bucket? Is it padded with a rubber material that they could push trucks and cars onto? Do you have a bubble machine that could occupy them?

3. Dress Your Child For The Terrain: If we're going to a park with lots of sand and grass, I don't pay too much attention to clothing, but if wood chips or rubber padding are involved, I'll likely put Em in pants despite the heat so that she doesn't scratch up her legs. I just recently ordered these knee pads for her from Amazon though, and I'm excited to try them when they get here.

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  1. The Weber School Foundation has recently built quite a few brand new all-ability wheelchair accessible playgrounds for schools in Weber County. I have been to Green Acres Elementary playground (in North Ogden, UT ) and it is pretty nice. The Green Acres playground is fully fenced in and has sidewalks that go from the parking lot to the playground for easy access. It has a solid rubber surface and a merry go round with high backs along with a few other fun features. I have also heard that Plain City Elementary and North Park Elementary in Roy also have the wheelchair accessible playgrounds but I have not visited them myself. All the public elementary schools are open to the public after school hours, on weekends and all summer. I really hope that more playgrounds will become inclusive to all abilities and kids. It kind of baffles me that there are so many kids that would love them and so few built in Utah.

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