Playing games on electronic devices may keep kids engaged, and a tyke riding a battery-powered car is cute to watch. But running around a sunny playground with other children, swinging on the monkey bars and climbing on a jungle gym, are the real thing. Physical play strengthens the body, engages the imagination, encourages healthy social interaction and invigorates the spirit of youngsters. Visit these top-of the-line Sacramento jungle gyms for guaranteed fun.

Southside Park jungle gym (Photo by Valerie Heimerich)


Southside Park
2115 6th St.
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 808-5200
www.cityofsacramento.org

Southside Park’s large playground area is cool enough to make adults wish they were children again. There are two “solar system” themed areas, with jungle gyms and play elements appropriate for different age groups. The Tadpole Galaxy is perfect for preschoolers to climb, twirl and slide, with wheels to spin and fun things to see and touch; infants under the age of 2 have their own play area with a soft rubber surface. Kids 5 and up can romp on Spaceship Explore, a big collection of adventure play equipment with options for climbing, rolling, swaying, rocking and more. The play area also has swings, a merry-go-round, springy riders, individual climbing areas, sound features and even a spaceship high in the sky with blinking lights

Related: Ask A Sacramento Expert: After-School Activity Ideas

Shasta Community Park
7407 Shasta Ave.
Elk Grove, CA 95758
(916) 808-2285
portal.cityofsacramento.org

The City of Sacramento hits it out of the park once again with this large community area located by the Valley Hi/North Laguna Library. There are two shaded playgrounds which include an excellent variety of jungle gyms to climb on, slide through and swing from. One of the playgrounds is fashioned after the Swiss Family Robinson and the other has a Treasure Island theme. The latter includes a wonderfully climbable blue whale sculpture that rises up from a painted sea. The park also has areas for soccer, tennis, volleyball, basketball and horseshoes, and a neighborhood skate park.

Fort Natomas jungle gym (Photo by Valerie Heimerich)


Fort Natomas
2921 Truxel Road
Sacramento CA 95833
(916) 808-1571
www.cityofsacramento.org

While perhaps not the largest of jungle gyms in the Sacramento region, this well-designed park is proud evidence of a unified and resilient community. The original playground, located less than a mile away, was destroyed by fire twice within several years. Both times, local businesses and residents volunteered their time and supplies to rebuild it. A playground remains on the original site, but the concept of pirate-themed Fort Natomas was ultimately relocated to the grounds of the South Natomas Community Center. The mood of families at Fort Natomas is friendly and appropriately proud.

McKinley Park
601 Alhambra Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 452-8011
portal.cityofsacramento.org

The iconic McKinley Park has numerous sports courts, jogging and walking trails, a swimming pool, picnic areas, public art a garden and arts center, community center and a truly creative play area with equipment and jungle gyms. The playground was custom-designed with a historic East Sacramento theme, which is incorporated throughout the tot lot and adventure play areas. An extensive selection of play equipment sits amid representations of a river boat, the Alhambra Theater archway, the Tower Bridge and street trollies. Kids love the huge tree house and a fun, artist-designed climbing wall.

Wacky Tacky
11327 Folsom Blvd.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
(916) 476-3260
www.wackytacky.net

Wacky Tacky, which also has a smaller location in Roseville, is a fun indoor experience for families. Unlike the public parks, there are fees involved in going there, but the place is packed to the rafters with play experiences. There are three separate themed playgrounds, but the number of areas for open play depends on how many private parties have been booked. Birthday parties are very popular, so on weekends the jungle playground is generally the only one open for the general public. It is a wild, fun-packed play area, but can quickly get filled up with enthusiastic children. The website offers periodic coupons, and maintains a calendar so parents can see in advance how many play areas are openRelated:Best Places To Buy Shoes For Kids In Sacramento

Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers business, employment, animal rescue, volunteerism and nonprofits. Her work can also be found at Examiner.com.
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