The new PNC Grow Up Great® Playground is open and ready for play
This newly renovated playground at Inwood Park has one of the largest playground areas for the littlest little ones. And don’t worry – there’s still an area for bigger kids to play too. Designed with input from children and accessibility experts and built with a grant from PNC, this innovative playground is best enjoyed on a cooler morning with a few clouds in the sky.
PNC Grow Up Great® Playground
- Just opened in August 2021
- Designed with input from local children and accessibility experts
- One of the larger playgrounds for babies and young toddlers
- Cool features include a large climbable butterfly, a ground-level accessible merry-go-round, two playhouses, and a zip line.
The PNC Grow Up Great® Playground at Inwood Park was designed with inspiration from local children and input from accessibility experts. This playground, reopened in August 2021, features a large playground for little kids, a ground-level accessible merry-go-round, a playground and zip line for bigger kids, and a variety of swings.
The playground is a short walk from the parking lot, just past the picnic shelter with plenty of tables. First is the little kid playground with artificial turf. Here you will find the merry-go-round and playhouses. At the back edge of this area is a small hill to separate the little kid and big kid areas. The big kid playground is distinguished with mulch ground covering and features a large climbing structure, zip line, and swings.
There is not a fence, though the sidewalk goes around the outside of the playground with a few benches throughout. Also, a heads up about the potty situation – there is no bathroom onsite at the playground. The only bathroom in the park is a bit of a hike from the playground.
How to get there and where to park
Directions from a GPS will take you to the lower part of Inwood Park. To reach this playground and adjoining parking lot, you want to go to the part of the park off of Wellington Place. Use the directions from the dropped pin and guide below to navigate to the correct spot.
Turn down Wellington Place from Auburn Avenue. You will see sign for Inwood Park on the corner. There is a new apartment complex on your left. Shortly after the road changes from brick pavers back to pavement, you will see a traffic circle ahead and a small parking lot to your left before the circle. Park in that parking lot and the playground is a few steps away.
Little kid playground
Inwood Park has one of the best playgrounds for young toddlers and children who are still crawling. There is a large variety of things to do for the littlest littles, while also still fun for older toddlers and preschoolers. This area has artificial turf covering the ground and each structure is spaced out enough to provide a clear view throughout the playground. It is not fenced in, but a small artificial hill covered in turf separates this area from the big kid playground.
First, you will see a solid surface race strip with two lanes closest to the sidewalk. Next are the musical toys. You will find drums, xylophone and pentatonic set to enjoy. Behind the musical area is a large, blue climbable butterfly. Further over are the two playhouses, separated by gumdrop steps.
The playhouses are perfect for the youngest kids to explore, with several features on the ground level. But they are also perfect for 3 and 4 year olds, who love to play pretend. I really liked how one playhouse is smaller than the other so it serves a variety of ages, but gives more than one option for kids who aren’t walking yet.
At the far side of the playground is the ground-level accessible merry-go-round. A set of textured walls with different shapes and colors borders the merry-go-round.
Big kid playground
The big kid playground is just over the little hill, where the ground switches from artificial turf to mulch. This area is best for kids ages 4 and up.
The main playground structure consists of a two-story tower with a connected ropes course. The ropes course is cool, but a bit intricate. The tower has several ladders and stairs, 2 slides from the first level, and several interactive toys along the walls.
One thing that stuck out is that there is no slide from the top level, which the kids found a bit disappointing. The only way to get up and down from top level are ladders (1 inside the structure and 2 outside).
The zip line was a cool surprise! It is located along back side of playground, behind the big kid playground structure. My son had a blast zipping back and forth all morning long.
Look for the swings in the mulch area next to the big kid playground. There are 6 swings to enjoy: 2 regular swings, 1 bucket swing, 1 ADA, and 2 dual accessible swings – plus one disc swing for friends to share.
No nearby bathrooms
There are no bathrooms on site near the playground. It would be a good idea to make sure you have a car potty in your trunk before heading to this playground if you have one.
The Inwood Park bathrooms are located in the lower part of the park, closer to Vine Street, in the comfort station by the lake. There appears to be a path (and quite a few steps) to the lake area that begins at the bottom of the nearby traffic circle. Unfortunately, it does not appear to be a quick walk from the playground to the park potty.
The not so greats
No bathrooms. There are no bathrooms onsite at the playground, and unfortunately, the park bathroom is not a quick walk away.
Not fenced in. There is a fence along the side of the playground that borders the apartment complex, but the playground itself is not contained. For a playground that caters to the youngest kids, it would be a nice bonus to have the playground fully fenced in.
Not a lot of parking. The nearby parking lot is nice but small with less than 10 spots. You can park further up the street on Wellington Place, but I do not believe you can park on the part of the street that is closest to the playground. That being said, the parking lot was never completely full the entire time we were there on a week day morning.
No shade at all. Inwood Park would be a better playground to visit on a cloudier day. The addition of a few shades, particularly over the little kid area, would be a welcomed addition!
The mulch. It would be nice if entire playground was solid surface or artificial turf instead the mulch that covers the big kid area and swings.
More slides! The kids found the big kid play structure to be a bit disappointing because of lack of slide down from the top level. Both my son and my friend’s child asked where the slide was when they got up top.
Overall, the PNC Grow Up Great® Playground at Inwood Park a nice, medium sized playground with a lot to do for infants and older. There are spaces to climb, explore, and play pretend – not to mention the accessible features so all children can be included. This playground has a lot of cool, newer features you can find at playground hot spots like Makino Park or West Fork Park, but Inwood Park is much less crowded.