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Northwest Bella Vista Bentonville Elm Springs Fayetteville Gentry Lowell Prairie Grove Rogers Siloam Springs Springdale
Northwest Travel 2

Ultimate NWA Park Guide for Parents

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The sun is out. Everyone is wearing smiles. Moms and dads are chasing covered picnic tables, and it is time to get outside and enjoy the Arkansas outdoors. Local playgrounds and parks are some of the easiest ways to get outside with children and possibly even meet up with other families.

When we travel or investigate a new city, checking out the local parks is always an easy option for toddlers, preschool and elementary children. There is just something about slides and swings that make children happy no matter what town they visit.

Ultimate NWA Park Guide for Parents - Citizen Park in Bentonville

Parent’s Guide to Parks in Northwest Arkansas

Citizen Park | Bentonville
Bentonville Community Center | 1101 SW Citizens Circle

  • By far, our favorite park in Northwest Arkansas because of the variety of play equipment, the safety gate and the ADA accessibility.
  • Near walking trail and soccer fields
  • Favorite game: zipline and roller slide

Dave Peel Park | Bentonville
206 E Central Avenue

  • This park, near Bentonville square, is an easy walk over from the farmers’ market.
  • Shaded areas for parents to sit and watch
  • Many skill and age levels can enjoy this park – littles and bigs can enjoy this together
  • Fenced in and close to bathrooms
  • Favorite game: all the slides

Ultimate NWA Park Guide for Parents - Lake Bentonville

Lake Bentonville & Thaden Field | Bentonville
2100 SW I Street

  • A ropes-based playground that is hard for younger children
  • Fishing from trail and kayak rentals on-site
  • Connects to Osage Park, and that’s a bonus to park in one spot and have both areas
  • Connected to Thaden field, so you can watch planes land and take off while you play, go inside and try out the pedal bikes or stay for lunch
  • Note to parents: while this is not your play place for littles, it is so cool with the planes coming and going. The ropes are hard for younger children to manage – but it can be a good lesson in determination!
  • Favorite game: going inside the fieldhouse and riding in the pedal airplanes

Osage Park and OZ Art Walk | Bentonville
700 SW 16th Street

  • Lots of trails through wetlands – beautiful ecology experience and seeing different types of wildlife and foliage environments
  • Great spot for stroller walking. The trails have sculptures woven in and it feels very safe.
  • Scary with littles because there are no rails on all the spots, and children could quickly enter the water
  • Food truck court with tables and access to an open-air pavilion
  • Note to parents: I really enjoyed the learning and conversation side of this experience, but the wetlands area does not have any rails or curbs, and you just must hold on to small children.
  • Kid response: “Mommy, look over here!” – so many observations of surroundings the whole time

Ultimate NWA Park Guide for Parents - Austin-Baggett Park in Bentonville

Austin-Baggett Park | Bentonville
601 SE D Street

  • Feels like a New York neighborhood park sandwiched between a newly-renovated row of homes and The Momentary.
  • The equipment is fun and brings a variety from any other city park.
  • Children can navigate most of this park on their own.
  • Gazebo and benches in shaded areas make it a place you can sit and play for hours.
  • Favorite game: merry-go-round – but someone has to push!

Ultimate NWA Park Guide for Parents - Railyard Park in Rogers

Railyard Park | Rogers
216 S 1st Street

  • This park is brand-new and is set up for tourists and trendsetters using repurposed train and industrial materials for play equipment with a strong focus on safety.
  • It has an excellent path for bikes and scooters and includes a splash pad in warm months.
  • A school is nearby with middle and high school students who take over the park in their rest period. So visit in the morning or non-school days.
  • Note to parents: Lots of hidden spots and all the gates are not complete, so you must keep a close eye on your children because it is in the middle of downtown with busy streets
  • Favorite part: walking to get a smoothie at Iron Horse Coffee Company, pizza at The Rail or cupcakes downtown.

Lake Atalanta | Rogers
500 E Walnut

  • Big, wide-open playground spaces
  • Most of the trail around the lake is shaded, but there are many turns. It does feel a little long with littles, but there are walkouts with benches.
  • People generally seem friendly to the stops along the trail with littles – scooters and bikes are welcome
  • Ducks to watch and water life to study
  • Note to parents: On the front side, there are some low spots near the water, so watch children until you get on the trail
  • Kid response: “Mom, that was long, but it was fun. When can we go back?”

Ultimate NWA Park Guide for Parents - Rotary Park in Springdale

Rotary Park  at Randal Tyson Recreational Facility | Springdale
4303 Watkins Avenue

  • Zero entry, very ADA friendly with access and equipment
  • It is in full sun most of the day, but a nearby pavilion is fully covered.
  • I felt like it was easy to lose sight of my kid unless I was willing to walk around.
  • No gate, wide entrance close to a parking lot
  • Favorite equipment: all the options off the big main area that is zero entry

Ultimate NWA Park Guide for Parents - Shaw Family Park in Springdale

Shaw Family Park | Springdale
7341 W Downum Road

  • First, make sure you use the North entrance to access the fun area for children – splash pad and playground area
  • Because of how the playground is set up, I’ve seen several mamas doing workout routines while their children play. The obstacles in the equipment can serve a dual purpose.
  • Part of a larger park complex with extreme fitness areas, dog park, bike and skateboard ramps and green spaces.
  • Note for parents: easy to sit and talk and still see children play – you just chase the shade!
  • Favorite equipment: tunnel and switching between splash pad and playground

Ultimate NWA Park Guide for Parents - Wilson Park in Fayetteville

Wilson Park | Fayetteville
675 N Park Avenue

  • The rock castle area makes this park unique. It’s a little scary with the rugged edges, but it feels very enchanted.
  • Lots of shade and picnic areas in a grove of trees.
  • Great sensory experiences throughout and a music park.
  • Note to parents: It is in a neighborhood area, so it’s close to many roads with traffic coming and going.
  • Favorite game: climbing at the castle

Some of the smaller towns around Northwest Arkansas have the best parks. They are less crowded and clean. I may get in trouble for sharing some of the local’s favorite hangouts!

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Keisha (Pittman) McKinney lives in South Arkansas with her husband and sweet Boxer, Bailey and one-year-old son! Keisha is passionate about connecting people and building community, seeking solutions to the everyday big and small things, and encouraging others through the mundane, hard, and typical that life often brings. She put her communications background to work as a former Non-profit Executive Director, college recruiter and fundraiser, and Digital Media Director at a large church in Northwest Arkansas. Now she is using all of those experiences through McKinney Media Solutions and her blog @bigpittstop which includes daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats, the social justice cases on her heart, and all that she is learning as a #boymom!

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2 responses to “Ultimate NWA Park Guide for Parents”

  1. Jennifer A Casey says:

    You forgot a real hidden gem on the list. Hiwasse park has a large covered pavilion with picnic tables, bathrooms, a play area, walking trail, basketball courts and tennis courts. I hate to spread the news on this one – but it’s fun for all ages!

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