Top Parks {Scottsdale and Surrounding Areas}

Best Playgrounds in Scottsdale and Surrounding Areas sorted by Zip Code
{this post was a collaboration from several SMB posts published over the years, see the links to each post below}

++++++++ 85254 ++++++++

Desert Horizon Park aka “the Police Park” (56th Street and Paradise Lane)
What we love: My kids love the tire swing, which many playgrounds don’t have. I love watching the collaborative muddy sand play that always happens near the water spout, and my five-year-old insists that there are good climbing trees at this park.

Sereno Park aka “the Horse Park” (56th Street and Sweetwater, between Thunderbird and Cactus)
What we love: Horses! There’s a public/free corral in the southwest corner of the park where you can watch riders work their horses. I love how close the playground is to where you park your car, because it makes it easy to pop back to the car for a diaper or sand toys. The bathrooms are right next to the playground, and the whole area gets a ton of shade.

++++++++ 85255 ++++++++

Florence Ely Nelson Desert Park (Pinnacle Peak and Pima)
What we love: The location of this park provides the perk of a Starbucks stop for mom prior to playtime. This is another park that you have to keep an eye out for because it is slightly tucked away, but it is a great spot! This is one that we would recommend for kids ages 3 and up.

Grayhawk Park (76th Way and Grayhawk)
What we love: This Scottsdale park has two large open space areas, restrooms, and a great playground. It can be a bit busy since it is connected to some sporting fields, so weekday mornings may be best to visit this spot if you are wanting to avoid larger crowds. 

Homestead Community Center at DC Ranch (98th Street off Legacy Blvd by Thompson Peak Parkway)
What we love: It’s small and contained, so you can get lost in conversation with your mommy friends without worrying too much. If you come prepared with bathing suit and towel, the splash pad is gorgeous. There’s a fabulous grassy area for running around, and one play structure on wood chips (not sand) which makes it easier for cleaning up. BTW bathrooms are not open on the weekend unless you have a community key-card; during the weekdays you can walk in through the community center building.

Ironwood Park (94th Street and Union Hills)
What we love: This park is nicely tucked into a housing development and has been a quiet spot the times we have visited. Again, two shaded play areas based on motor skill levels and access to restrooms. Can’t beat that! 

Sonoran Hills Park (Williams and just south of Pinnacle Peak)
What we love: Sonoran Hills is located right next to Pinnacle Peak Elementary. There are two shaded play areas that are a hop, skip, and a jump between each other. They accommodate kiddos who are at different skill levels for play. Restrooms are available too. 

++++++++ 85032 ++++++++

Paradise Cove Park (40th Street and Paradise Lane)
What we love: This playground is really quiet and off the beaten path, which I love. There is a bike path that leads to a basketball court paved area that is usually empty, so it’s great for bike riding. The playground has one of those “spider web” climbing structures, which my kids love. BTW no bathrooms at this park!

++++++++ 85260 ++++++++

Cactus Park (Scottsdale Road and Cactus)
What we love: This Scottsdale park got a total face-lift in 2012 and I love all the new equipment. It’s fun without seeming dangerous for littler kids. I love the big covered picnic table area and grassy space to run. On the weekend this is the place to host birthday parties, company picnic, etc.

Horizon Park (100th Street between Frank Lloyd Wright and Thompson Peak Parkway)
What we love: My children love that this playground has swings – both for babies and big kids. It also has separate play structures and slides for big and little ones. The big grassy area is great for kicking a ball around, and the looped paved pathway is great for scooting or biking (since you can see the children the whole way around!) The bathrooms inside the building are clean and close. It’s not always shady, but there are plenty of trees and shade-structures to break up the sun.

McDowell Mountain Ranch Park (105th Street off McDowell Mountain Ranch Road)
What we love: The Scottsdale park is fairly private, so rarely are there an overwhelming number of children. There are shaded areas with picnic benches for hungry snackers (and parents), a basketball court for ball-play or scooting, and a shaded play structure that provides just enough challenge for little ones without seeming too dangerous. Many kids dig in the sand and play. BTW the bathroom is in the enclosed pool area and requires a key card for entry, so you want to go with a friend or when kind strangers are willing to lend you their card.

++++++++ 85050 ++++++++

Aviano Community Park (40th Street between Deer Valley and Pinnacle Peak)
What we love: I love the actual play equipment at this park, which has some new/different stuff like a zip-line, the “rocking boat thingy” (as my kids call it), and cool ride-on dinosaurs and “diggers”. The bathrooms are right next to the playground and they’re relatively clean (for public restrooms). The circular path around the playground is good for bikes. 

++++++++ 85262 ++++++++

George “Doc” Cavalliere Park (Alma School and  just south of Dynamite)
What we love: There is a fantastic shaded play area, a large spot of turf for running around, bathroom access and some great trails. When arriving at the park entrance, keep a close lookout, because it does sneak up quickly! 

++++++++ 85259 ++++++++

Rio Montana Park (132nd Street and just south of Via Linda)
What we love: This park is a great find and a big hit with the kids especially because it is next to the fire station! While the park itself is wonderful, the biggest treat here was that the firemen are incredibly welcoming.

See you at the playground!

PS: Want more on local playgrounds and parks? Check out the links below:

Original content from previous SMB posts
Best Playgrounds in Scottsdale & North Phoenix by Sara Powers
Best Playgrounds in Northeast Scottsdale for Preschoolers by Sara Frederick
Nine Great Kids Parks in Scottsdale by Lindsay Alvey