One of the things Berlin has going for it for families, is the number of pretty cool, themed playgrounds we have throughout the city. Not just your average slide plus a swing and maybe a roundabout if you’re lucky. No. Pirate ships, dragon lairs, fairy tale forests – you name it, Berlin has it. We are far from having explored them all, but I have frequently posted pics on Instagram of the playgrounds in our neighbourhood. So, following on from my recent post about the fabulous Gleisdreieck Park (which also includes several playgrounds), I thought I’d share some of our favourites with you and show you why our neck of the woods is perfect spot in Berlin for a family getaway.
1. The Cowboy Playground
My kids call it the ‘Cowboy Spielplatz’ (Spielplatz = Playground), though I think it’s official name is the Grand Canyon Spielplatz.
It’s located at the junction of Schwerinstrasse and Frobenstrasse, just a couple of blocks away from Nollendorfplatz subway station. This playground is split in to two parts, both of which are fenced in. One half includes a big climbing structure made to look like a forest of cacti, alongside some small trampolines and a separately enclosed football court.
The other half of the playground includes a seesaw, two slides (one for bigger, one for smaller kids), a baby-swing, and a couple more climbing structures, with everything made to look like Wild West scenery: a covered wagon, a canon, a gold mine, arrows, snakes…and more cacti.
This is my favourite playground – specifically the half with the swing and slides – when I have both boys with me, as it has something for both ages, and it’s also relatively small and enclosed, meaning I can still have my eye on one boy while running after the other.
2. The Witches Playground
Known locally as the ‘Hexenspielplatz’, this playground is located on the corner of Eisenacher Strasse and Frankenstrasse. It’s quite a large, sprawling playground – though also enclosed – and gets its names from the witch themed play area at one end.
The focal point is a witches hut to climb in and on, with a slide coming out of it, but there are also other cute features such as a broomstick, witches hats atop of the benches, a washing line with witches bloomers, a wooden carving of a witch.
The rest of the playground doesn’t have a specific theme. There are various other climbing structures – including ridiculously tall ones, which give me the jitters despite being enclosed – various swings (including baby swings), a spinning disc, a flying fox.
You can easily spend an afternoon here. While there is plenty to do for both boys, I prefer going here when my husband is with us too, as due to its sprawling nature we can split up if the boys want to go in different directions. Though the older they get, the more I can trust my elder boy to look out for himself while I keep an eye on his daredevil little brother!
3. The Jungle Gym
This playground isn’t really a themed one, more of a giant climbing structure made of rubber mats, which I’d call a ‘jungle gym’ but which some locals refer to as the ‘Gummi Spielplatz’ (Engl: rubber playground).
It’s located next to Winterfeldplatz, a square which hosts a farmers market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so can be perfectly combined with a trip to both (though the Wednesday edition of the market is fairly small, for the full experience go on a Saturday). This is my elder son’s favourite playground, and he could spend hours here climbing around. But it’s not ideal with the two year old, as he’s much too small for the climbing structure, which only really leaves the small slide and playing in the sand. In the summer, there’s also a water pump which turns one of the sandpits in to a mud pit – so be prepared to bring a towel and a change of clothes, if you have a little water baby. Also, don’t be surprised to see kids stripped off to their birthday suits, as child nudity is a normal occurrence at Berlin’s water playgrounds! Next to the playground is a grassy area which is popular for picnics during the warmer months, and the whole complex is surrounded by a fence, though the gates at either side are wide open during the day, so make sure to keep an eye on any little ones prone to wandering off.
One more word on Berlin playgrounds: when I say sandpit, I mean a dedicated space set aside for little ones to play in. Because pretty much all playgrounds are covered in sand – unlike the rubber or wood chips we used to from Scotland – so in a way most playgrounds are giant sandpits! Living here, you are pretty much guaranteed to have sand pouring out of your children’s shoes and clothing from Spring to Autumn. But don’t let that put you off exploring the fantastic playgrounds Berlin has to offer!