A beautiful playground in the gem of OTR
What’s got a water feature, a sandbox, a castle, is fully fenced in, and pays homage to the Queen City’s history? It’s Washington Park Children’s Playground! This playground in Over-the-Rhine is beautifully designed with many features to explore and enjoy for everyone.
And it’s just a stone’s throw from the large sprayground open through October.
- Great for all ages
- Fully fenced in with one entry point
- Features water play and a sandbox in addition to playground structures
- Parking garage located conveniently underneath the park and nearby streetcar stops
- Beautifully designed and landscaped with a mix of natural and artificial elements
- Manned by 3CDC staff member
- Nearby sprayground and dog park
The Children’s Playground is located the southeast part of Washington Park. Designed to honor the rich history of Cincinnati, this half-acre playground is semi-shaded and offers a solid-surface ground throughout. No need to worry about mulch here!
Enter the playground through the large gate to find the canal and a shipwrecked canal boat in front of you. To the left are the restrooms, benches and picnic tables. Further in is the ruins play area with hills and valleys. To the right is a shaded area with swings and more benches.
Back to the left, a deck walkway borders a nature area. Follow the deck to find the sandbox and musical toys. Continue along this path to reach the castle play structure at the back of the playground.
At the front of the playground is a small canal that runs towards the front corner of the fence, ending near a canal boat. This feature pays homage to the Miami and Erie Canal that flowed down what is now Central Parkway nearly a century ago. The canal is separate from the nearby sprayground, and is the perfect spot to cool down your toes or watch a leaf boat race downstream.
The ruins area
In the heart of the playground is the ruins area. The highlight of this area is the large structure designed to look like a ruin for kids to climb and explore.
In the center is a large valley that is a blast to run down and up. Large stones designed for climbing or sitting also border the valley. Grippy solid surface rubber coats the ground in this area.
The swings are also in the ruins area. The swings sit under a row of large trees towards the edge of the playground. Two bucket swings and a saucer swing are nestled in their own alcove in an area covered by artificial turf. And look for a little library housed near the bucket swings.
The sandbox area
Take the deck walkway leading to the side of the playground closest to Race Street to find the sandbox. The sandbox is off the side of the deck, right across from the musical toys.
It’s not the largest sandbox, but it’s nicely landscaped with large boulders to play on. A small crew of kids could play here together quite comfortably.
What I like most about this sandbox are the facets stationed next to the sandbox to conveniently wash off sandy fingers and toes.
Way in the back of the playground is a castle structure for kids to climb and explore. The castle boasts two slides – one dual slide and one spiral tube slide, a rock wall, and a cool staircase.
To reach the castle, you must either scale the artificial turf hill leading up to the front of the castle or journey along the path from the sandbox and musical toys area.
Washington Park Sprayground
Washington Park boasts one of the largest spraygrounds in town. This interactive water park is 7,000 sq. ft. and runs from 10:00am to 10:00pm from April through October.
While the sprayground isn’t within the gates of the playground, it’s only a short walk away. You can find this water feature just up the path from the playground, in the center of Washington Park.
Don’t miss my complete guide to Cincinnati Splash Pads for a full list of places to cool down.
When you gotta go, look for the family bathroom in the building next to the gate. If the family bathroom is closed, other bathrooms can be found around the other side of the same building, just outside of the playground gates.
The not so greats
The gate may be open. While the Children’s Playground is fully fenced in, the big gate is sometimes open. This is something to be aware of if your kid is a runner.
Few swings. There are only 3 swings at this playground, and there are no regular swings for older kids.
Not a lot for the littlest littles. A baby could happily crawl around in this playground or swinging on one of the bucket swings, but there aren’t any playground structures designed on the ground level for a baby to enjoy. (But don’t miss these other playgrounds that are perfect for baby.)
Big variety, but low volume. There’s a great variety of things to do – from water play to sand to swings to climbing to slides. But each area isn’t very large, and doesn’t keep kids engaged for long. We typically spend about an hour at this playground.
Overall, the Children’s Playground at Washington Park uses a mix of natural and artificial elements to create a space that is both beautiful and fun. This fully fenced in spot hosts a variety of attractions, from water to sand to swings to slides, to capture the interest of every child. It’s the perfect playground to include while exploring Over-the-Rhine with your kids.
Washington Park is located in OTR at 1230 Elm St, Cincinnati, OH 45202