I recently attended a barbecue at the home of a friend who doesn’t have children. Another friend and I wondered what we’d do to occupy our kids in a toyless home with a small backyard crowded with adults. We spotted a park around the corner and decided to walk our brood down the block to the check it out.

We hit the jackpot.

From the road it looked like any other tiny neighbourhood park, but our closer inspection revealed one of the most unique playgrounds I’ve come across in recent memory.

Meadowlark Community Playground (not to be confused with West Meadowlark Park, which is also fabulous!) blends into its surroundings. Green and grey set against a background of grass and trees. From afar nothing stands out. Take a closer look, and there are fabulous features at every turn.

Meadowlark Community Playground

Rope climber. Photo by Jill Footz

My friend’s boys loved the amazing rope climbing structure suspended from a metal arch. My girls were keen to tackle the super long side-by-side slides – you have to navigate a narrow rock wall, twisted chain link ladder, or other unusual climbing structures to reach them.

Meadowlark Community Playground

Super slides. Photo by Jill Footz

Meadowlark Community Playground

Climb the boulders. Photo by Jill Footz

The green and black merry go round was a hit with the whole group, as was the toddler park, which features everything from a retro frog bouncer to a modern climbing wall built into the wings of a giant green dragonfly!

Meadowlark Community Playground

Swings that are fun for parents AND kids! Photo by Jill Footz

Meadowlark Community Playground

Climb the dragonfly wings. Photo by Jill Footz

The two-person tandem swing drew some special attention from our group, and we had to try the different seating arrangements in every combination possible. These feature a toddler swing connected to a flat “big kid” swing. A smaller rider can sit in the toddler chair, while a kid or grown up can sit or stand on the platform to drive the movement. (A little research revealed this is called a “memory swing”.)

But the true piece de resistance at Meadowlark Community Playground is the duo zipline!

Meadowlark Community PLayground

Zipline! Photo by Jill Footz

That’s right, little old Meadowlark Community Playground is home to that rarest of fabulous park features – the zipline! Meadowlark has two ziplines, and they were put through their paces during our visit.

Kids can sit or stand on these popular rides. The platforms are low enough to the ground to make them accessible for most kids, and the ziplines hang low enough to the woodchip base to make them fairly safe in the event of a fall. The setup is such that once kids are school aged or so, they’ll likely be able to pull the zipline over to the platform themselves, climb on, and launch their own ride.

Meadowlark Community Playground

Toddler play area. Photo by Jill Footz

Meadowlark Community Playground features a number of benches and picnic tables, as well as a covered picnic shelter. It’s adjacent to an open field, offering ample opportunity for free play! The park is home to one of the city’s Green Shack programs, but I didn’t spot a bathroom or porta-potty during our visit.

Meadowlark Community Playground:

Where: 15961 – 92 Avenue, Edmonton
Website: www.meadowlarkcl.net   (no park information, but location and community league info.)