The next stop on our tour of the 25 Imagination Playgrounds in Prince George’s County is the Woodland Wonderland Playground in Capitol Heights. With a huge selection of play structures for all ages, a respectable amount of shade, and – get this – a misting park, Woodland Wonderland is one for the summer bucket list, my friends.
Woodland Wonderland Playground in Capitol Heights
I actually had to hurry my kids along to enter the playground itself because they were so taken with the fun features you pass on the way in. There’s an arch that magically plays music as you pass beneath it. There’s a kind of creepy clay troll that tells some pretty great jokes. Her Majesty (the toddler) also found some pretty great trash that was worth exploring. Eww.
Once we finally made it into the playground (and sanitized Her Majesty’s hands), the kids immediately headed for the awesome tree slide that is arguably Woodland Wonderland’s coolest feature. They climbed through a pretty realistic looking tree trunk and into a rugged fort complete with “Keep Out” signs.
From there, Sport (the oldest) and Wildflower (the middle kiddo) slid down the extra high red slide and back up a hill of gigantic clay ants, over and over and over again. Her Majesty was intimidated by that big slide, but found a sweet little green one that was just her size. This was a major win for Mama – all three kids playing on the same feature but in age-appropriate areas. There was even a bench nearby, so I got to sit down for three whole seconds. Pure bliss.
Then, someone noticed another amazing feature of Woodland Wonderland: the misting park. The kids pushed buttons to release gentle mists of water from giant cattail reeds and other features. I loved that we could cool off without everyone getting completely soaked like we do at splash parks. Even Her Majesty, who gets freaked out by avalanches of water at splash pads, enjoyed this.
The mists of water flow in really creative ways. A big clay fish squirts water from its mouth; a bee hive drips big gooey drops of water; a cleverly positioned misting fountains creates a gentle water slide. And best of all: a clay skunk sprays water from its behind. I’m all about a playground with a sense of humor. And the kids spent ages just figuring out which button corresponded to which sprayer.
While Sport and Wildflower bounced between the spray park and the anthill slide, Her Majesty and I checked out the toddler area. It has several nice slides and climbers at toddler height, plus a set of swings.
There are so many other features that we didn’t have time to check out all of them. There’s a big windmill slide feature in the center, a herd of giant ladybugs lazily crossing a stream, and a pair of oversize acorn seats for relaxing.
When we visited at 11 am on a hot day, this playground had a surprising amount of shade. There are quite a few mature trees overhanging the Woodland Wonderland Playground, plus picnic seating areas under large mushroom domes. There’s also a lot of shade built into the play structures themselves. It’s a huge playground, so at any given point, there will be plenty of sunny areas, but it’s not hard to find a shaded part to play. And you can always cool off at the misting park if the sun becomes too much.
Another great design feature of Woodland Wonderland is that most of the structures are made a kind of clay that does not heat up in the sun. This prevented little hands and legs from getting burned while climbing. One notable exception was the metal windmill structure in the center of the playground, which got hot as Hades. Avoid that area and you’ll stay cool and comfy.
This playground also has real bathrooms in an actual building. Obviously, we took advantage of this. When Wildflower walked in, he exclaimed, “These bathrooms are amazing! They smell like Gatorade!” That’s a high compliment. He was right; they were sparkling clean and smelled pretty darn good. The water fountain outside was another nice touch. My kids only leave a playground because they’re too hot or they have to go to the bathroom, so it was as hard to extract them from Woodland Wonderland as it was to get them through the entrance in the first place.
With creative play features, ways to stay cool, and essential amenities like bathrooms, Woodland Wonderland in Capitol Heights checks all the boxes for an awesome playground. Definitely add it to your summer playground list!
Bathrooms: Yes – real ones!
Water fountains: Yes
Shade: Fairly shady throughout the day
Address: 8001 Walker Mill Road, Capitol Heights