20 Fun Outings for Kids with Special Needs

These parks, theaters and attractions are great for children of all abilities.

Rosedale Playground in Northeast D.C.

Hayes Park and Sprayground

Located just a few blocks from the Arlington Central Library (and across the street from Arlington Science Focus Elementary) this shady, partially-enclosed park has playground equipment suitable for both younger and older kids, along with tennis courts and basketball courts. There is a sand-play area, great swings for different age groups, water fountains and bathrooms on site, and a shaded pavilion with tables and benches. The water park is low-key and there are no dumping buckets or strong water streams. Partially wheelchair accessible.

Pro tip: Bring an extra water bottle and towel for any park with a sand-play area.

1516 N. Lincoln St., Arlington

Lacey Woods Park

We love this small, shady park with water fountains, bathrooms, and a shaded pavilion with tables and benches. It’s next to a busy road (George Mason Drive, where it intersects Washington Boulevard) but the park is enclosed with a fence and gate, and opens up to a large field. There is a small sand-play area, and basketball courts for playing, scooting or biking. A meandering path leads to a wooded area, which is fun for family walks but might be an issue for kids who are at risk of flight. Partially wheelchair accessible.

1200 N. George Mason Drive, Arlington

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

An ideal spot on a beautiful spring morning, this sprawling, wheelchair-accessible botanical garden in Vienna is, for us, a family favorite.  The 95-acre site is enclosed and there are benches throughout for resting. Staff is supportive and there is a simple and fun scavenger hunt for children. Note: there is water access at one spot.

Pro tip:  Avoid weekends. It’s practically deserted during the week.

1200 N. George Mason Drive, Arlington

Rosedale Playground

This big, inviting playground in Northeast D.C. was jaw-dropping for my entire family the first time we visited. It’s completely wheelchair accessible—even wheelchair-welcoming, and was designed with all types of children in mind. The sensory elements are beautifully thought-out. I couldn’t find a single activity that hadn’t been built to accommodate mobility-impaired children or caregivers. This is a very special park!

Pro tip: Go early on the weekends. My son needed to leave as it got closer to lunch and more crowded.

1701 Gales St. NE, Washington, DC

Westover Park

This small, fully-enclosed park is partially wheelchair-accessible. Its smaller size keeps crowds to a minimum, which lets my easily-overwhelmed kids play longer. There is access to the W&OD trail for longer walks and another nearby playground. You’ll find bathrooms and water fountains on site, as well as a shaded pavilion with tables and benches.

1001 N. Kennebec St., Arlington

Categories: Parents & Kids
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