The World's Best Parks and Playgrounds
10. RiverPlay Playground, Eugene, Ore.
Oregon's got another playground that beats out all the competition: It's the enormous and phenomenal RiverPlay Playground in Skinner Butte Park in Eugene, Oregon, south of Portland. Here you'll find a 25-foot replica of Skinner Butte, a miniature Willamette River (complete with a hand-powered ferry that your kids can shuttle each other across), water features, a blacksmith's shop, stagecoach, and a one-room schoolhouse. After a jaunt at the park go for a hike up the real Skinner Butte or walk along the paved River Bank Trail that parallels the real Willamette.
11. Coram's Fields, London, England
Hands down the best playground in London, Coram's Fields is such a well-kept neighborhood secret that even many London children have never visited. A kids-only affair (you must be accompanied by a child to enter), this 7-acre playground has wooden castles, tunnels, multi-child tire swings, rope bridges, a zoo (rabbits, goats, sheep, and more), indoor craft rooms for rainy days in London, open grass, a German-run outdoor café with great prices, healthy snacks, and coffee for parents, and a giant zip line that even teens enjoy!
12. 'Unnamed' Aristotle Lane Playground, Oxford, England
If you're on a jaunt to London with small children and you take a side trip to Oxford, make time to visit the unnamed playground off Aristotle Lane in Jericho (the same neighborhood where Lyra plays with Gypsy kids in the "Golden Compass"!). The playground abuts a brook lined with quaint houseboats and filled with ducks and swans. You'll find 21st century play equipment for older kids as well as swings, slides, merry-go-rounds, balance beams and soccer fields. When kids get tired of exploring European play structures you can walk along the towpath back to town.
Jennifer Margulis, a writer and mother of four, has traveled to Europe and Africa with her children and is a frequent contributor to Disney Family.