Indian Creek Playground in Berwyn Heights
At first glance, this playground doesn’t seem very big, but that’s because it’s tucked inside a grove of trees. The several large, mature trees within the footprint of the playground make it a shady option throughout the day. It’s my go-to playground for warm, sunny days.
Despite the initial appearance, this is actually quite a large playground with several distinct sections. Once you cross a wooden bridge over a small creek and pass under an arrow shaped archway, you have several options for where to play.
The playground’s main feature is a large, red and brown play structure with two teepees and a realistic tree trunk climbing space. Kids can access the teepees through several rope climbers, a rock structure, or stairs. There’s also a pretty dream catcher climber and a hollow log feature to explore.
This section is so much fun for older kids, but it’s pretty hazardous for toddlers. My girl made her way over to the tree trunk ladder in a matter of seconds. Were it not for her brother guarding it, she would have tumbled straight down. My attempts to distract her from this area only made it more appealing, so parents of tots – be warned.
If your toddler is less single-minded than mine, there’s plenty of fun to be had. There is a smaller climbing structure with a really authentic looking tree trunk slide. I love the details that went into this slide. See if you can find the beaver and owl carvings on it when you visit.
There’s also a canoe, large drum climber, play house, and several log rounds for littles to climb, plus another big rock feature for the older kids. There are two sets of swings – one with baby swings and one with regular swings. I wish they had put a baby swing next to a regular swing so siblings could swing together. This playground does not have any accessible swings. But, a lot of other features are accessible, including a play area with musical instruments and a tactile bead pattern feature. And there are other ways for siblings and kids of different abilities to play together, including an arrowhead treasure hunt.
What I love most is that the Native American features are not simply there to create a theme. Instead, the designers of this playground included informative plaques on many of the features to help visitors learn about Native American culture, in particular the area’s earliest residents, a group of Algonquian people known as Nacotchtank. They are written in language that is accessible to young children, but they are really informative and interesting. I enjoyed walking around the playground and learning about the role of corn and canoes and the symbolism of eagles, dream catchers, and totem poles while my kids played. Maybe that’s how the baby made it over to a precipice without my noticing…
The playground has several benches and two picnic tables and is nestled between a basketball court and a big field. It’s located just off the Indian Creek Trail, which connects to nearby Lake Artemesia, so bring strollers, bikes, and scooters if you want to make a day of it. While there are no bathrooms on site, the Sports Park, about two blocks away, does have bathrooms, so you’re not totally stuck in an emergency. There is plenty of street parking and a small parking lot.
If you’re looking for a stunning, shady playground to explore on a hot summer day, look no further than this Imagination Playground in Berwyn Heights. There’s a good chance you’ll see us there this summer!
Water fountains: Yes
Shade: Fairly shady throughout the day
Address: 8900 56th Ave, Berwyn Heights