We were away for much of the summer, so we had to put our tour of the 25 Imagination Playgrounds in Prince George’s County on hold. Now that we’re back, we decided to continue the tour at the Little Critter Playground (also known as Mitchellville South Park) in Bowie.
This fully ADA compliant playground is just plain awesome for kids of all ages and abilities. There are so many features to explore and ways for kids to use their imaginations, plus plenty of shade and some super comfy seating for the grown-ups.
Little Critter Playground in Bowie
My kids immediately hopped onto the old fashioned bench swing and spent a huge amount of time swinging there in the shade. It was just like the porch swing I had at my house growing up (except metal, not wood), but I realized my kids have probably never seen such a swing. Wild. They liked it so much that I had to encourage them to go check out the many, many other features of the Little Critter Playground.
Wildflower began going nuts in the drum circle. Some playgrounds have a couple of these plastic drums; this one has a ton, plus bells and other musical instruments. I feel bad for the neighbors, but he had a blast making joyful noise.
Her Majesty and Sport headed over to the main play structure, which is huge and features three big shade sails. It is really elaborate, with lots of different climbing options, steering wheels, slides, and secret hideouts. The shade sails are a major bonus; on a hot day, there’s no chance we would have stayed very long without them.
The playground is vaguely animal themed, but I think they should consider a sailing theme, because that’s how my kids interpreted it. They had a blast turning the play structure into a ship and using the steering wheels to guide it through choppy seas. A tidal wave came and we had to lie down on the wide ramp to avoid it, but our ship was crushed anyway, so we had to make for one of the adjacent “lifeboat” structures.
The obvious choice for that seemed to me to be the big “Sway Fun” swaying boats, which rock gently, or not so gently, depending on your level of enthusiasm. I thought these were pretty cool, but my kids had no interest and headed straight back to the bench swing. Luckily, their big ship was repaired just in time, so we returned to the main structure and continued sailing.
This playground is perfect for families with kids of different ages or abilities. Her Majesty could play right along with her brothers because the wide, gently sloping ramps let her easily access all areas of the play structure. There are very few high heights to fall from, which meant I could sit back and relax on that awesome bench swing. The ground is a poured rubber surface, making it ideal for strollers, wheelchairs, and unsteady toddlers. Sport and Wildflower still found plenty of cool things to challenge them, including a linked chain climber and a rock climbing wall.
If your kids aren’t weirdly obsessed with the bench swing like mine were, there are also two accessible swings, two standard swings, and a tire swing, plus lots of stand-alone spinners, game boards, and interactive signs.
Even though the Little Critter Playground in Bowie is a bit of a hike from our house, I think we’ll add it to our rotation because it’s one of the few playgrounds where I can actually relax while they play without having to be right next to Her Majesty at all times. That and the swing. We love the swing.
Water fountains: No
Address: 15540 Peach Walker Drive, Bowie