If you’re a parent with young children, you likely have a playground (or two) that you tend to visit when your kids just need to burn off some steam. Neighborhood parks are great for this, but I have noticed that after about 30-45 minutes, my kids will start to wander, looking for another form of stimulation. Another thing that you may not think of while you’re watching your kids play is that the playground environment can be extremely overwhelming and difficult for children with sensory disabilities, and really a disability of any kind.
West Fork Park in Green Township recognized all of these concerns and made extreme plans to solve every playground issues possible. And if you’ve paid a visit to their new play space on West Fork Road, then you know they’ve succeeded.
Having grown up on the west side, I remember when the original West Fork Park opened (it was huge, awesome, and had a sand pit!), and I had even taken my kids there a few times. Now that we live in Northern Kentucky, we are now only over that way when we visit family, but when I started to hear about the new park that was being built, I knew we had to visit. West Fork Park is unlike any other playground in the city. It more than meets the accessibility guidelines put in place by playground experts and it is truly a place space for everyone. Each zone has been purposefully planned and the playground as a whole was specifically built to keep the attention of children for longer than 30 minutes and to meet the needs of all children.
There are 8 play zones within the park and my 5-year-old and 3-year-old enjoyed every single one of them. In addition to these areas, there’s a large covered picnic area, clean bathrooms (with changing station!), and a decent size parking lot (it can get crowded). The zones include areas like an infant/toddler play area with two imaginative play houses, a colorful maze that also has texture to its walls for those children with sensory issues, a 14-foot mega tower with plenty of chances to climb and slide, and perhaps the best feature – a zip line!
Another favorite zone is a turf hill with two metal slides and two tunnels. These features were very intentional, as the metal slides allow children with cochlear implants to still enjoy them and children who become over stimulated can take a break inside the tunnels.
There is just so much to love about this unbelievably charming playground. As a parent, one of my favorite things is that there is no mulch or dirt — which also means no mud! There are benches around the space and it’s the perfect size so you can easily keep an eye on your kids. Another unique feature is the interaction you can have with the app, Biba. You can download the app to your phone and kids can look at a map of the playground and go on a scavenger hunt of sorts. It’s just another added layer of fun at an already wonderful destination.
West Fork Park is one of those places in Cincinnati that is so worth the drive with your kids, no matter where you live. It’s very close to the North Bend Road exit from 74, so it’s easy to access and you can pack a lunch to enjoy or there are a few restaurants/fast food options nearby, as well. Make a day of it and check out this beautifully inclusive park in Cincinnati that provides vibrant fun for every member of your family.
West Fork Park is located at 4764 West Fork Road, Cincinnati, OH 45247. Click here to visit the park’s website and to learn more about this one-of-a-kind play place.
A native Cincinnatian, Andrea has experienced life in all four corners of this city. After growing up on the west side, she headed north to attend Miami University, then moved east to Hyde Park and now lives in Northern Kentucky with her family.
When she’s not playing trains and doing the “hot dog dance” as a stay-at-home mom to her two toddlers, Andrea is busy writing for Cincinnati (and, ahem, Kentucky!) publications and brainstorming ideas for her next children’s book! With a newfound passion for fitness and overall health, she spends a lot of time at her family gym and loves to play outside.
Andrea worked in education for several years and has a special love for children’s literature. She loves showing her children all our city has to offer and enjoys sharing her finds with other parents. Her favorite spots include the Cincinnati Zoo (although she steers clear of the bird house), her local library and any playground.