Inclusive Playgrounds in Kansas City

The Kansas City metro has experienced an explosion of new inclusive parks in the last few years. Many of these are thanks to the efforts of local non-profit Variety KC as well as individual cities and counties making it a priority to build inclusive playgrounds in Kansas City that are accessible for all people.

What makes for a great inclusive playground? Variety KC has a fantastic guide that breaks down how to have a truly inclusive playground that goes beyond the ADA minimum standards. I love this quote from their guide “The real test is if every child is playing and no child is left on the sidelines watching.”

I chatted with a couple of friends that frequent inclusive playgrounds and asked what their “must haves” are. They mentioned the importance of fencing around the playground to prevent kids from running off, surfaces free of mulch and gravel so wheelchairs can move freely, and shade to prevent overheating. Other key features they stressed are easy access from the parking lot to the playground as well as a variety of ways to access ALL of the playground equipment, not just a couple of accessible features. Bathrooms with adult sized changing tables are a very important accessible feature for many families.

Kansas Inclusive Playgrounds

Bonner Springs

Wyandotte County Park (Variety KC)
N. 126th St. Bonner Springs, KS

  • Best Features: This baseball-themed park opened in 2020. The stadium shaped playground structure features a ticket booth, all four bases, a score board, and Kansas City Royals colors throughout. There are ramps, adaptive swings, an accessible merry-go-round, and a music area. The playground is fenced in and there is a communication board on site.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Leawood

Leawood City Park (Variety KC)
10601 Lee Blvd. Leawood, KS

  • Best Features: This playground is fenced in and has ramps to enter the play structure. You’ll find lots of music features and separate play structures for smaller and bigger children. A couple of the unique fixtures are the accessible zip line and two person swing.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Shawnee

Shawnee Mission Park Inclusive Playground
7900 Renner Rd. Shawnee, KS (North Walnut Grove area of park)

  • Best Features: This fenced in playground has tons to offer kids of all abilities. The rubber surface makes it easy to navigate and there are plenty of play features for small kids as well as big kids. There are adaptive swings, musical instruments, and misters for hot summer days. Bring sidewalk chalk with you and let your kids draw all over the giant chalkboard.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Stilwell

Stilwell Community Park
6402 W. 207th St. Stilwell, KS

  • Best Features: This playground is huge and has a smooth surface making it easy for all to navigate. It is fenced in with a large covered shelter with picnic tables just outside the fence. This park is very similar to the inclusive playground at Shawnee Mission Park including misters but offers less shade so keep that mind depending on the season.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Olathe

College Boulevard Activity Center (Variety KC Playground & Baseball Field)
11031 S Valley Rd, Olathe, KS

  • Best Features: This is a baseball-themed playground with rubber tiles on the ground and ramps to get on the equipment making it easier to navigate for folks using wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers. Umbrellas provide shade over much of the equipment as well as the nearby seating. An in-ground merry-go-round, instruments, and a braille alphabet board are some of the other accessible features. The playground is near the accessible ball field that hosts the Miracle League for children of all abilities.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Indian Creek Park at the Indian Creek Library
16100 W 135th St, Olathe, KS

  • Best Features: This is Olathe’s first accessible city park and offers an in-ground merry-go-round, a variety of swings (including adult/child combo swings), a story walk, and a shaded play structure.
  • Indoor bathrooms: available when the library is open.

Coming Soon

 

Missouri Inclusive Playgrounds

Belton

Memorial Park
998 Commercial St. Belton, MO

  • Best Features: This playground has a transportation theme with a train structure for small kids and a firetruck structure for bigger kids. There are adaptive swings including a swing for wheelchairs. Shade umbrellas cover portions of the play structures to keep them from getting too hot in the summer.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Independence

McCoy Park (Variety KC Playground and Baseball Field)
800 N. Bess Truman Pkwy, Independence, MO

  • Best Features: This inclusive playground has a pioneer theme featuring a covered wagon play structure. There are ramps to help kids access the play features and the park has adaptive swings, musical instruments, and a smooth playground surface. Nearby you’ll find a splash pad and a Miracle League accessible baseball field.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Kansas City

15 and Mahomies Playground at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park
MLK Jr. Blvd & Woodland Ave., Kansas City, MO

  • Best Features: This colorful new inclusive playground has fun features for all kids and all abilities. You’ll find a Variety KC communication board and a sign language board, adaptive swings, a smooth playground surface, and lots of fun and unique pieces of playground equipment.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Hospital Hill Park (Variety KC Playground at Children’s Mercy Hospital)
2401 Gillham Rd, Kansas City, MO

  • Best Features: This playground, also called the Sybil Silkwood Nutter Inclusive Playground has special features that make it accessible for families with children that are current hospital patients. Whether in a wheelchair or using an IV pole or receiving physical therapy, this playground can accommodate a wide spectrum of needs. The playground is fenced in and the play structure has ramps that can take kids to all of the slides and fun features.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Kansas City Zoo (A Variety KC Playground)
6800 Zoo Dr, Kansas City, MO

  • Best Features: This is the first inclusive play exhibit at a zoo nationwide! The playground can be found down in the Africa portion of the zoo near the Sky Safari. Features of the playground include zip lines with companion harnesses, an elephant swing, a slide, and a low sensory area for kids that need a quiet break. There are also sensory kits with weighted blankets and noise canceling headphones available to check out. Variety KC communication boards can be found throughout the zoo. Check out our full mom’s guide to the Kansas City Zoo here.
  • Indoor bathrooms. In addition to the restrooms nearby, a universal changing station can be found in the Elephant Expedition restroom.

Sheila Kemper Dietrich Park
2601 Gillham Rd, Kansas City, MO

  • Best Features: This is one of the older inclusive playgrounds in the city. The ground is accessible for wheelchairs and other assistive devices and the playground structure has ramps to help kids get to the slides and other features. The pirate ship and sea dragon make this park perfect for imaginative play.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Lee’s Summit

Legacy Park (Joseph A. Dyke Playground)
1201-1501 NE Legacy Park Dr. Lees Summit, MO

  • Best Features: This playground features a wheelchair accessible sand box, accessible swings, and play structures with built in ramps. Shade umbrellas are positioned over the equipment to keep slides and other features cooler in the summer. There are adaptive swings available as well as a smooth rubber surface.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Northland

Fred and Shirley Pryor YMCA Challenger Sports Complex
2100 NW 87th Terr, KCMO

  • Best Features: In addition to ramps making the play structures accessible, there are  play pods specifically designed for children on the autism spectrum. There is also a wheelchair accessible aero glider and smooth rubber ground covering. In addition to the playground the YMCA offers an accessible baseball field.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Tiffany Hills Park (Variety KC Playground)
9400 N. Congress Dr, Kansas City, MO

  • Best Features: This is a pirate-themed Variety KC playground with ramps and smooth surfaces for accessibility as well as musical instruments and sound games. The playground is fenced in with only one entrance/exit point.
  • Indoor bathrooms

Raymore

Recreation Park
1011 S. Madison St. Raymore, MO

  • Best Features: This playground has rubber surfaces and ramps allowing children of all abilities to access the play structures. The playground equipment has shade umbrellas to keep things cool and a music area nearby. Other fun features are a four person seesaw and a merry-go-round with supportive seating.
  • Indoor bathrooms

T.B. Hanna Station Park (Variety KC Playground)
214 S Washington St, Raymore, MO

  • Best Features: There is a fun play structure, merry-go-round, musical instruments, and communication boards throughout. During the summer, there is an accessible train themed splash pad (the first accessible splash pad in the metro!)
  • Indoor bathrooms

Coming Soon

I'm Julia and I live in Olathe with my husband of 15 years, my 9 and 5 year old daughters, and our rescue pug Mabel. I’m a social worker turned SAHM and love Dr. Pepper, thunderstorms, and talking to other adults. I hate coffee, diet culture, and washing dishes. I'll talk your ear off about the best local parks and which restaurants have wronged me by changing their long-standing menu items. I try to walk the line between knowing a lot of stuff and not being a know-it-all. Some days I'm better than others.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here