Best Local Inclusive Playgrounds


One step here, two steps there. Platform up, platform down. Mounds of mulch, piles of sand. These are elements of most playgrounds, providing kids with the opportunity to run, jump, skip, and play to their heart’s content. An inclusive playground can offer just as much fun as a traditional playground (and so much more). These playgrounds are planned out with kids and families of all abilities in mind. An example of universal design, inclusive playgrounds are meant to be visited and enjoyed by everybody as best they can, no matter how they move around, see and hear the world, or understand the world. These playgrounds offer a space where kids can learn, grow, and play with one another, regardless of their physical, intellectual, or other abilities.

My family and I are always on the hunt for accessible playgrounds as my husband is a wheelchair user. It is so refreshing when we find a space that has inclusive play structures and other features of accessibility that allow our whole family to play together.

Here are a couple of our favorite local inclusive playgrounds in Central Mass:

Barrett Park in Leominster

This playground has a mix of activities and play structures. We love the wheelchair-accessible swing, which my kids and my husband love to use. There are a couple of sensory-friendly options, too. The playground itself is flat and mostly easy to navigate around. There is some mulch which is a little tricky, but the terrain around is hard, packed dirt. Some picnic tables on the far side of the park extend on one side to offer wheelchair users the ability to roll under the table (most picnic tables are not wheelchair accessible, so this is a nice feature to see).

Sam Pawlak Community Park in Fitchburg

This park features lots of different play options for kids of all abilities. There are easy transfer seats on a few of the play structures. Like Barrett Park, there is a wheelchair-accessible swing. There is also a paved path all around the playground, which even loops through the main play areas so that every play space in the park can be accessed by visitors with physical disabilities. Much of the play space features barrier-free poured rubber, which also increases ease of movement for those with physical disabilities. Finally, a few sensory-friendly options round out this inclusive playground.

Are there any local inclusive playgrounds in Central Mass that we are missing? Let us know in the comments or if you visit one tag @centralmassmom!


  1. Hi.

    Dean Park in Shrewsbury has an inclusive playground with non-wood chip flooring that is fenced in. It was recently renovated to include children with physical impairments to engage in play with the other kids.


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