A playground, a splash pad, a creek… and a saber-toothed tiger?
Sharon Woods Harbor has become one of our favorite spots this summer with a large playground, toddler area, splash pad, man-made creek and saber-toothed tiger (yes, you read that correctly). There are still pieces of the prehistoric theme, such as the large rock formation with saber-toothed tiger on top, dating back from our childhood. The playground itself however, is from a much more modern era.
Sharon Woods Harbor is located within Sharon Woods, which is part of the Great Parks of Hamilton County. The best way to access this area of Sharon Woods is from the main Kemper Road entrance.
Sharon Woods Harbor
- Large playground with solid surface ground
- Separate play area for toddlers
- Both a splash pad and man-made creek to cool you down
- Still pieces from the prehistoric theme dating back from our childhood
When you walk through the large entrance at Sharon Woods Harbor, the first thing you will see is the long, man-made creek stretching before you just in front of the side of the boathouse. To your left, picnic tables stretch down to the end of the creek. The creek ends just before an overlook with a view of Sharon Lake. One set of restrooms is also located nearby at the back of the boathouse.
On the other side of the boathouse is a large overhang with a snack bar and plenty of picnic tables. Behind the picnic tables is a stairwell leading down to the lake. If you have kids who like to wander off, make sure to keep an eye on them in this area.
Next to the snack bar area is the splash pad. Moving forward towards the parking lot is the toddler playground, the rock formation (complete with a big-toothed kitty), the main playground, a smaller picnic shelter and then a building with individual unisex bathrooms and a changing area. Closing the loop, you’ll find the beginning of the creek next to the big playground.
The main playground at Sharon Woods Harbor is one large play structure. Part of this playground is designed to be wheelchair accessible, with a large ramp running down the center and back to the left of the playground. The ramp ends at a set of monkey bars and a slide, but there are several interactive features to play with along the way.
The other half of the play structure is a higher platform with several slides and a rock wall to climb. This section can be accessed from a tunnel located about midway up the ramp or by a set of stairs next to the ramp. The ground is made of solid surface rubber, and there is a lot space to run around and play in this playground area.
On the edge of this playground is a large, man-made rock structure that acts as a wall to separate this playground from the toddler playground. Kids love to climb across and over the rocks, but what they really love is to sit on the back of the saber-toothed tiger that sits atop the highest rock. I know this because as a kid, I loved sitting on top of this saber-toothed tiger, just as my kid does today (and if you’re counting, yes, that does make this part of the Sharon Woods Harbor playground pretty old).
The toddler playground
Sharon Woods Harbor has a cute toddler playground for the not-quite-so-big kids. The toddler playground consists of a smaller playground structure, 2 bucket swings, and a rock wall tunnel. It isn’t a huge area, but it’s a nice spot for an early walker to explore and play.
What I like about the toddler playground structure is that there is one way in and out. The steps are easy to climb or crawl up, and the slide isn’t too steep. Little ones would have more fun crawling through the rock wall tunnel than climbing over it. It’s great that there are swings in this area, but unfortunately, these are the only swings in the entire Sharon Woods Harbor playground.
The splash pad & creek
The water feature at Sharon Woods Harbor consists of a splash pad next to the playground and a man-made creek that runs along the side of the boathouse. Both water features are operating for summer 2021.
The creek is fed by a little bubbler near the playground, then runs the length of the boathouse. There are metal casts of fossils to discover throughout the creek. The water never gets more than a few inches deep, so this is a perfect space for little ones to explore.
The splash pad is located next to the toddler playground. It’s a mid-sized splash pad consisting of circles of different sized fountains shooting water from the ground. It’s not a huge splash pad, but it compliments the creek nicely.
The not so greats
No shade. Although there are trees galore in Sharon Woods, there are very few in Sharon Woods Harbor. The ground and playground equipment can heat up quickly in the summer sun.
Not much for crawlers. Although the ground in the playground area is solid surface rubber, Sharon Woods Harbor is not the spot for crawlers. There’s is not much on this playground to explore on the ground level and as I mentioned, ground heats up quickly – which can hurt little hands and knees.
Not many swings. There are only 2 swings at the Sharon Woods Harbor playground. Both swings are bucket swings, which means there are no regular swings for bigger kids or ADA swings.
Not fully fenced in. There is a fence that separates Sharon Woods Harbor from the parking lot, walking path and lake. However, there are some big gaps in the fence that made me nervous when my son was younger. The entrance way from the parking lot is quite large and does not have a gate. There is also a stairway by the snack bar area (and close to the splash pad) that leads down to the lake. These are the two biggest spots to be aware of if your kid has the tendency to take off running (we’ve all been there).
While the playground and splash pad at Sharon Woods Harbor are free, a Great Parks Annual Motor Vehicle Pass is required to enter the park. More info can be found on the Great Parks of Hamilton County website.
Overall, Sharon Woods Harbor is a great park with a large solid-surface playground and two fun options for water play (be sure to bring a swimsuit). There is enough to do to keep kids from toddler-age to big kids entertained for a few hours.
And be ready to take your kid’s photo atop a saber-toothed tiger.
Sharon Woods Harbor Playground is located near the Boathouse at 4631 E Kemper Rd, Sharonville, OH 45241