Outdoor Fun: Visit a Local Playground

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Get out and enjoy a playground with your kids!

With more than 90 parks and greenways in the greater Nashville and surrounding area there’s a facility for your family’s every outdoor whim.  Want to help Peter Pan get the crocodile? Pinkerton Park in Franklin. Can’t live another day without pretending you’re a farmer?  Mt. Juliet’s Charlie Daniels Park.

The first playground in Middle Tennessee was built at Watkins Park (616 17th Ave. N., Nashville) in 1906. Today, the region is home to a myriad of elaborate play structures, old-fashioned play places and scenic greenways. Though every family has a favorite neighborhood park, here are a few options to broaden your horizon.

Long Hunter State Park, Hermitage 2910 Hobson Pike
The ship playground at the Bryant Grove area of Long Hunter State Park is sure to fire little sailors’ imaginations.  The two-mile paved nature trail around Couchville Lake is perfect for a woodsy “hike” with the stroller.

Old Fort Park, Murfreesboro
1021 Golf Lane off Old Fort Parkway
Reconstructed in June 2012, this modern day playground features saddle seats that spin, rockers, slides of varying sizes, a toddler area, a baby area, swings and more! There are picnic tables, grills, restrooms, ballfields and tennis courts as well. The scenic Stones River Greenway can be accessed from the Fortress Rosecrans trailhead in the parking lot.

Pinkerton Park, Franklin
405 Murfreesboro Road
The entertaining “Tinkerbell Playground” features a pirate ship theme with mermaid’s treasure to hunt for and a crocodile to battle – just like Peter Pan! A myriad of other playground equipment includes a pretend fire engine and train as well as two merry-go-rounds. There are picnic tables and restrooms. Historic Ft. Granger and a paved walking trail lie just behind the playground.

Charlie Daniels Park, Mt. Juliet
1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy (off Mt. Juliet Road)
Mt. Juliet resident and musician Charlie Daniels donated the land for this new community center (758-6522), playground and ballfields. The large modern playground features a space ship, castle area, covered picnic pavilion and colorful toddler barnyard. There are also restrooms, open green space and a real caboose.

Shelby Park/Shelby Bottoms Greenway, Nashville
Shelby Ave. @ S. 20th St.
Shelby Park opened to the public on July 4, 1912. A portion of the site was previously home to a turn-of-the-century amusement park. The park has two playgrounds, numerous  picnic tables and shelters, open green spaces, restrooms and a community center (862-8467).

Memorial Park, Hendersonville
Gallatin Road (between lights 8 and 9), Hendersonville
The amazing, castle-themed “Kids’ Kingdom” playground features a space ship area and “Tot Circus” for smaller children. A finger of Old Hickory Lake draws lots of seagulls and other birds who eagerly await your stale bread. There are many picnic tables, as well as tennis courts, a soccer field, ballfield, plenty of open green space, restrooms and a vending machine.

Smyrna Recreation Park, Smyrna
110 Sam Ridley Parkway
Smyrna Recreation Park features playground equipment, tennis courts, a volleyball net, horseshoe pits, ballfields and basketball courts.  There are restrooms, a water fountain and a pay phone. The pretty, mostly wooded Rec Park Trail is a paved 1 1/4 mile pathway that makes up part of Smyrna’s urban trail system, connecting via Bicentennial and Airbase Trails to Rotary Soccer Park and Volunteer Park.  A large map at Smyrna Recreation Park gives trail and landmark distances.

Crockett Park, Brentwood
9025 Crockett Road, Brentwood
This large community gathering place features 14 playing fields (six multipurpose and eight baseball/softball diamonds), concessions, vending machines, restrooms, tennis courts, picnic tables, open green spaces and an amphitheater.  The Brentwood community playground is a local favorite.  A historic area features Cool Springs House (ca. 1830).  A two-mile bike/walking trail along the Little Harpeth River connects with River Park (1100 Knox Valley Drive)

Greater Nashville

Bellevue Park, 656 Colice Jean Road
The “caboose” park – large, modern wooden playground, caboose, amphitheater with summer concerts/programs; restrooms, walking track and community center.

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park,
170 1st Avenue North
Fountains for running through (wear your swimsuit), Farmer’s Market, neat globe floating on water at the World War II memorial.

Centennial Park, 2500 West End Ave.
Ducks and squirrels to feed, lots of green open space.  The historic Parthenon offers economically priced culture (call 862-8431 for more information).

Coleman Park, 384 Thompson Lane
Playground, baseball fields, swimming pool, community center; adjacent to the Thompson Lane Branch Library.

Elmington Park, 3531 West End Ave.
Extensive playground equipment, sand for digging and lots of open green space for playing soccer and flying kites.

Fannie Mae Dees Park, 2400 Blakemore Ave.
The “Dragon Park” – fort with tunnel and slide, swings, picnic tables and of course, the most famous dragon in town.

Moss-Wright Park, Caldwell Lane, Goodlettsville
Large playground,  historic Mansker’s Fort and Bowen Campbell House (call 851-2253 for more information), one-mile walking trail, picnic areas, football and baseball fields, basketball and volleyball courts.

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, 3777 Nolensville Road
You have to pay zoo admission to get in, but the Jungle Gym is quite possibly the most adventurous playground in Middle Tennessee.  The farm and historic home at Grassmere are well worth a visit.  Call 833-1534 for more information.

Two Rivers Park, 2235 Two Rivers Parkway
Large modern wooden playground located right next to Wave Country wave pool.  Disc golf course, additional playground, picnic areas and a restroom.

Edwin Warner Park, 50 Vaughn Road
Percy Warner Park, 2500 Old Hickory Blvd.
More than 2,600 acres with hiking trails, picnic areas, open green space and restrooms.  Edwin Warner has a nature center and playground (with the best swings in town, some say, and an  old-fashioned merry-go-round to boot).  Percy Warner features an equestrian center and horseback riding trail.  Visit http://www.nashville.org/parks/warnerpark/index.html.

Rutherford County

Barfield-Crescent Park, 697 Barfield-Crescent Road, Murfreesboro
The ballfield at this brand-new park opened in April.  Additional facilities in the works include a playground, disc golf course, picnic pavilions, walking trails, wilderness stations and camp sites.  Call 890-5333 for planned completion dates.

Bicentennial Park (LaVergne City Park), Behind LaVergne Library (5053 Murfreesboro Rd)
Swings, ballfields, tetherball and volleyball.  A trailhead for the one-mile greenway is located at the ballfields.

Veterans Memorial Park
Off Floyd Mayfield Drive, LaVergne
Playground, ballfields, tennis courts, basketball courts.  Peewee fields are planned for next season.

Williamson County

Granny White Park, 610 Granny White Pike, Brentwood
Modern playground, paved walking trail, picnic tables, open green space, tennis courts and softball fields.

Grassland Park, 6803 Manley Lane, Brentwood
Playground, picnic areas, ballfields, tennis courts, recycling education center and restroom located behind Grassland Elementary School.


Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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