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A Guide to Special Needs Playgrounds in Central Indiana

Many playgrounds in central Indiana have agreed on one thing: No child should have to sit on the sidelines at a park, limited in their abilities. There are now playgrounds all around the state that have either created a playground or updated an old playground so that it offers inclusive play. The amenities that these special needs playgrounds offer range from handicap accessible swings to sensory playgrounds to AeroGliders {of course, safety remains top priority!}.

Here we highlight some of the best playgrounds geared toward children with special needs in central Indiana: 

 

Central

Brooks School Park

This is the first inclusive playground of its kind in the Fishers municipal park system. The playground features two play areas appropriate for kids ages 2-5 and 5-12. Five big Timber Toppers provide shade, while twenty one different activities invite children to explore. Nine slides, five climbers, stepping stones, bridges, climbing rocks with cables, a sensory play area with drums, chimes, bells, xylophones, activity boards and a rubberized surface all provide hours of fun and the opportunity for motor and sensory development. In addition to the ADA Accessible playground, Brooks School Park has a Born Learning Trail that kids and adults love to to investigate and explore. Call {317} 595-3150 for more details.

Location: 11780 Brooks School Road Fishers

 

Freedom Trail Park

This Westfield-based park offers an inclusive playground and sensory garden to provide a chance for all children to learn and grow while playing together. During the design of the play area, the Hamilton County Autism Support Group worked with the City of Westfield to ensure the features included are ones which children with autism would prefer {example: spinning and twirl features}. Wide ramp systems leading to play features allows more than one wheelchair to pass at a time. The swings also include handicap accessible swings instead of platform swings. In the future the park plans on adding interpretative signage as well. Call {317} 804-3184 for more details.

Location: 500 Deer Walk Trace, Westfield

 

“Everybody’s Playground” at River Heritage Park

Within the 40-acre River Heritage Park there is an enormous playground that includes handicap-accessible play features, swing sets, slides and more. There is also an amphitheater, where the Carmel Clay Parks Kid Concerts are held during the summer months. Call {317} 573-4020 for more details.

Location: 11813 River Road, Carmel


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Independence Park

This 13.5-acre park was Indiana’s first all-accessible playground area for persons with disabilities and provides the only green space park located in White River Township. It features a wheelchair-accessible trail and basketball court, an 8,000sq ft playground area with an all-accessible rubberized surface, and a sensory playground area with 20 different elements for children with autism. Call {812} 526-6809 for more details.

Location: 2100 S Morgantown Road, Greenwood

North

Friendship Corner at Matter Park

Friendship Corner is a colorful and fun special needs playground. The park offers wheelchair paths, transfer stations – low platforms where those using wheelchairs can lift themselves onto playground equipment, sound-play components {outdoor devices that make sound or music, such as drums and marimbas}, accessible swings, and visually-impaired play components such as Braille panels, interesting textures or fragrances. The park also has a fence enclosing the entire playground and there is only one entrance, so parents and caregivers can always keep track of children. Call {765} 662-9931 for more details.

Location: 1803 North Quarry Road, Marion

 

Taylor’s Dream Boundless Playground

Special Needs Playgrounds Guide Indiana_ Indy's Child Magazine
Taylor’s Dream Boundless Playground; Photo Credit: fortwayneparks.org

The first Boundless Playground of Indiana includes: The Alpha Pod, designed for younger children {2-5 years}, provides opportunities for parallel, group and solitary play. It also encourages role playing, socialization and creative, imaginative play. The Beta Pod, designed for children of all ages {2-12 years}, has a multi-sensory themed play area featuring a fossilized T-Rex skeleton. The Gamma Pod is designed for older children {5-12 years}. Motion is an important aspect of play in this area. The Aero Glider – a multi-user rocker – accommodates two wheelchairs, a 60” turning radius and handholds/footholds on the back. Call {260} 427-6000 for more details. 

Location: N River Rd, Fort Wayne

 

South 

Tony Stewart Playground

This inclusive, race-inspired play system features exciting climbers and slides, an integrated shade structure {decorated with Stewart’s No. 14!} and checkered flag toppers that will have children racing down the ramps to the finish line. Accessible tile surfacing, swings, ramps and a Rock-N-Raft allow children of all abilities to play together in this one-of-a-kind play space brought to life by GameTime’s custom PlayWorx division and the Columbus Park Foundation’s Race2Play Initiative.

Location: On Locust Dr (north of US 31/National Rd, off of Westenedge Dr), Columbus

 

Freedom Field

A 1.5-acre play area with a large section for older children, and a smaller one for toddlers. Some of the play space features include wheelchair-accessible ramps, a 3D climbing web called Spacenet, a rock wall, a “Sway Fun” wheelchair glider, bucket swings, roller slide, and futuristic-looking teeter totters. Freedom Field also has Play Panels with chimes and Braille letters. Call {812} 376-2599 for more details.

Location: 1400 Parkside Drive, Columbus

 

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