Best Playgrounds in Winnipeg
Outdoor play is good for kids. It’s a natural form of exercise, it encourages kids to stretch their capabilities, physically and in their imaginations. Being outdoors helps with sensory and emotional regulation. Playgrounds provide settings that facilitate interaction and communication, as well.
It’s good for parents to be outside too, providing a break in home routines and an opportunity for us to do some moving, too.
The barrier, especially for children with autism, can be safety. It can be difficult to ensure a child remains in sight and in the play area, especially if parks are very large, are unfenced, or have blocked sight lines.
We’ve visited a few parks in Winnipeg, and our goal here is to list some favorites. Depending on your perspective, “best” means either lots of interesting things to see and try, or a safe place to enjoy being outdoors with friends, or both!
Sometimes the best park is your neighbourhood one – they tend to be smaller and quieter. This list includes both the big, full-feature Winnipeg parks, as well as some of the small ones that can be just as fun and perhaps more relaxing for the parents as well.
Rainy day? Check out our list of indoor recreational activities in Winnipeg.
Bunn’s Creek Park
In Kindergarten and Grade 1 our children’s school came for a Fall Walk at Bunn’s Creek, with good reason. There’s a large stand of oak trees right next to the playground where piles of leaves carpet the ground in the fall, and there is also a path that leads to the creek, with lots of signs of the seasons and wildlife to observe.
The playground has a sandbox, climbing equipment, swings, slide, and teeter totters. There’s a washroom and picnic tables, and a skating rink and toboggan slide in the winter.
The park itself is small and has good sight lines. It isn’t fenced, though. The 3 km long walking/bike trail is a fairly short distance away from the playground and it’s heavily treed, so it’s a spot where you’d want to keep a close eye on your children.
Age Range: Toddler to 10
Location: MacIvor Road, northeast Winnipeg
St. Vital Park
Our family calls this one the “Duck Park,” because we typically bring birdseed to entertain ourselves with the bird population. Our usual routine is to walk around the pond on the paved path, then head over across the soccer field to the playground. It’s divided into two sections, one for little ones and then a bigger structure with more climbing for older kids. There are swings as well, and the play area is surrounded by trees. It’s possible to lose sight of one child while you are on the other side, so it was a bit challenging when our kids wanted to play on opposite sides. But it’s got a good variety of things to try, and is in a beautiful setting. Great place for kites, too, with the open field.
If you have a kid who likes puddles and you’re not worried about them getting wet or cold, come at the spring thaw. The playground is unusable then, but there is lots of potential for water and ice exploration.
Age Range: toddler-12, older if you bring sports equipment
Location: River Road, north of Bishop Grandin (south central Winnipeg)
Assiniboine Park Nature Playground
This one has to be included, just because it’s such a fantastic park. Branch-covered tunnels, pancake swings, climbing hill and super-long slide, musical instruments, a sandy stream to wade in, round knobby things to stand on, and more…the look is a little like diving into a Dr. Seuss book.
The drawback is that if you have two children who don’t stay together, you can’t stop watching to interact with one while the other is elsewhere. It’s big and you can’t see everywhere, and there’s a lot of space to get lost…as well as a very attractive pond outside one of the exits.
Come if you have 1:1 supervision, and be prepared to cover some ground.
Age Range: 1-99
Location: Assiniboine Park at 55 Pavilion Crescent; entrance at Corydon and Shaftsbury (Southwest Winnipeg)
Like Assiniboine Park, this one was recently renovated and is too good not to mention, but it also has some supervision challenges.
Kildonan has two widely separated play areas, one for small children and one for elementary-age kids. It’s beautifully designed for accessibility – safety swing for larger children, ramps onto the play structure, and interactive features at the right height for a child with mobility limitations. There are lots of swings and climbing opportunities, and a large raised sand play area.
There’s a lot more to enjoy in the park – there’s a pool and splash pad right next to the playground (there is a gate and admission charge). A short distance from the playground is a replica of the witch’s hut from Hansel and Gretel, with a duck pond behind it. Kildonan is also the home of Rainbow Stage, beautiful gardens and walking paths.
Unfortunately the widely separated play areas make it easy to lose sight of a child, and the playground is right next to the road, where traffic is steady. Not a restful playground for the parents of children prone to wandering without notice. 1:1 supervision recommended.
Age range: 1-12
Location: 2015 Main Street (north central Winnipeg)
Ecole St. Avila
This spacious school playground has 5 or 6 widely separated play areas that offer lots of climbing, sliding and swinging on a unique variety of play structures, especially for children who like to climb. The space is also unique in the way the landscaping is part of the play experience – the area contains lots of hills, native vegetation, rocks, and boardwalk and paths leading from one play area to another. There are also a good number of benches; this could be a great park to join up with friends.
Nearby, the school and community centre also have a basketball court, baseball diamond, a soccer field, and even four square, hopscotch, and snakes and ladders games painted on the asphalt. There’s lots of room to run and roll down small hills.
While the fields are fenced, the playgrounds are open and spread out, so this would not be fun for parents of children who wander. There are too many directions for children to disappear. Visibility is pretty good, though, for children who have figured out about staying within a play area.
Age Range: 3-10 (there are no baby swings)
Location: 633 Patricia Ave
Note: Harbourview Playground was damaged by fire on April 10, 2017. Hopefully repairs will not be delayed…
Harbourview Playground is appealing for preschoolers to elementary school students, with a boat theme and soft black rubber chips. There are swings, slides, climbing, and a wobbly boat — lots of props to imagine a water journey.
It’s located near a golf course and has a mini-golf and tennis courts right next to it, which might be nice if you are looking to entertain a range of ages, but might also be a distraction. If you’re comfortable near water, a walk will take you to a small pond. There are lots of hills and pathways for walks, and picnic tables. It would be a great spot for an outdoor party.
In the wintertime, Kilcona Park is a great place for sliding and skating.
It’s not too hard to keep children in view in this playground, although it’s not fenced. It’s a fair distance from the parking lot and any traffic hazards. It’s usually pretty quiet. The water is also quite far from the playground, but kids who like to wander and explore will find it and the golf course pretty appealing.
Age range: 1-10 (for the playground)
Location: Kilcona Park, northeast Winnipeg near Springfield and Cox
Safe Spaces for Social Outings
William Reid Park
If you have small children and want to relax or visit with a friend while your kids play, this is one of those nice little neighbourhood parks. It’s a small park with elderly equipment, but swings are very low and ideal for kids transitioning to a “big kid” swing. There’s a short slide and some climbing and balancing structures, and benches and picnic tables….and loads of trees. The jaunty red benches are the perfect place to drink your coffee, and like most small playgrounds, we usually have the place to ourselves. It’s fenced with only one opening, and is small enough so you can see everywhere, and is also quite shaded, which is nice for warm days.
Age Range: 1-6
Location: 901 Leola Street, in Transcona
King George Park
This is a lovely neighbourhood park. Full of beautiful oak trees, it’s got a playground perfect for young children, with slides, climbing, swings, a sandbox, and a few benches. There are lots of leaves to pile and play in the fall. Beyond the trees is an open space that would work for older kids to throw a ball around, and there are horseshoe pits as well.
It covers a large area but is fenced – there are only two openings from the park, and a child has to cover a lot of distance before they get to the second entrance. It’s easy to keep an eye on your kids. It’s a great place to meet up with friends for a visit.
The former wading pool that neighboured the playground is under construction to become a pretty fancy wading pool/splash pad, and the aging playground is also slated for renovation.. As long as the fence stays, this will be a great park to visit.
Age Range: toddler to 6, older if you bring some sports equipment
Location: 5 Des Meurons Street (St. Vital)
Oxford Heights Community Centre
This park is tucked away in the northeast corner of Winnipeg, and offers a new and brightly colored play structure with opportunities for sliding, swinging, climbing, and balancing. While not fenced, it’s away from the street and backs on a partially fenced field. There is a basketball court on the street side, and lots of parking. The playground is landscaped with wood chips.
It’s also worth noting that Oxford Heights Community Club has some great family programming, including a drop-in play space during the week, in the gym – with a focus on gross motor activities. They also have offered early fireworks and skating on New Years Eve.
Age Range: Toddler to 10
Location: 359 Dowling Ave E
This, of course, is a partial list. Do you have a park to recommend? Share in the comments, or send your favourites to us via email@example.com, and we’ll add them. Pictures are welcome!
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