You know those kids. The ones that can scale anything and everything and who seek out adventure in every corner. I have one of those kids. He's tiny, but he's strong and scarily brave. Because of the lack of indoor activities, my kid and I have tested a significant amount of playgrounds in the Los Angeles area. These are some of the best places to seek out adventure for even the bravest little monkeys.
Ralph Foy Park - 3211 W. Victory Boulevard, Burbank
If you're looking for adventure, this Burbank park is the place to be. The playground features numerous gargantuan structures with high-flying net-covered obstacles and two-story-tall covered slides that make even the most brave adults in Los Angeles a little timid. This is, by far, a "big kid" playground with numerous rope structures to climb, spinning contraptions, and oodles of sand.
The playground is practically always full of running children and parents sitting on blankets in the surrounding grass. The area around the playground features a baseball field, an open grass area, an outdoor hockey rink, and if kids need a little indoor time, the playground is right next to the Burbank public library. And, like almost all good high-traffic playgrounds, there is almost always an ice cream truck in the parking lot.
Ralph Foy Park also has public restrooms, shady trees, and large coverings so that kids and families can spend a good amount of quality time together exploring the numerous opportunities for adventure. There is a large grassy patch in front of the park where families can play their own games and benches surrounding the playground for those who wish to join in the action.
Granada Hills Recreation Center - 16730 Chatsworth Street, Granada Hills
Yes, it's a bit of a schlep for families who live in the center areas of Los Angeles, but this playground is definitely worth the drive. The Granada Hills Recreation Center has multiple play structures, multiple swing sets, and a few climbing structures that are excitingly precarious The sandy playground is surrounded by grassy areas and has sand on the ground under the structures.
The Granada Hills playground features a rock wall-esque blue plastic mountain for kids to climb, a long structure that is shaped like a red train, and a multi-layered flat climbing area with countless ways to scale it. The area between the multiple structures is unobstructed, so children and families can move between each of them with ease. And, for those who want to practice their swing, the playground is directly beside a baseball field as well.
The down side of this playgound, though, is that there are few places for parents to sit and no (unlocked) public restrooms at this time. However, the playground is great for a short and adventurous trip and some fun in the sun.
Shane's Inspiration Park - 4800 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles
I saved the best for last. Shane's Inspiration Park is one of the most epic playgrounds in Los Angeles. Nestled near Griffith Park, Shane's Inspiration is a "universally accessible" playground that was built to provide a place for children with disabilities to play with other children in a creative environment. The playground features airplane jetways, pirate ships, a covered wagon, and rocket ships and is an absolute blast (pun intended) to explore.
The playground is built on squishy turf that cushions most spills and has a covered area for families that want to get out of the sun. There are multiple freestanding play contraptions other than the main structures including swings, merry-go-rounds, and gliders. The playground is also beautifully spaced out so that kids and families can play or sit between the structures.
Whether you're in downtown Los Angeles, Burbank, or any of the surrounding areas, a good playground is worth a little trek. If your little one is feeling adventurous, these are some great options to check out.