Playground Patrol: Emerald Fields Playground

Kristen Maetzold

The tip of a canary-yellow canopy peeking out from the treetops is the first clue that the creators of this new park had lofty goals. The City of Dublin built Emerald Fields Playground, a universally accessible playground, with grant money awarded by the state. While the play area is designed for children with special needs, it truly is interesting and engaging for children of all physical-skill levels, from toddlers through elementary school-aged kids.

To get to the play area you'll first pass NEOS 360. This giant circular play station incorporates lights and music to test eye-ear-hand-foot coordination, and cardio levels.

Those skills will serve kids well as they move on to the sprawling playground. Like a life-sized game of Chutes & Ladders, generous purple ramps and bridges connect a bevy of brightly colored slides and various climbing structures. Tucked underneath it all is a series of fun games that test knowledge of numbers, shapes, colors, and patience, including a brilliantly designed scavenger hunt. Other little play pockets include areas in which to teeter-totter, sit-n-spin, bounce, balance, climb a rope ladder or a rock wall, and even make music.

And of course what playground is complete without swings? You'll find a dozen to pick from including two baby swings and two especially designed for children with special needs.

Emerald's Additional Gems:

*Ample, convenient parking

*Roomy shelter house with picnic tables

*Air-conditioned, clean (boys, girls and family) bathrooms, open April 1-Oct. 31

*Drinking fountain

*Trash and recycle receptacles

*Lightning Detection System

*Rubber surface under play areas

*Light-colored slides that stay cool to touch even on hot, sunny days

*Multiple canopies provide some shade (sunscreen still recommended!)

*Park is connected to Dublin's bike path system

4040 Wyandotte Woods Blvd. (near the intersection of Sawmill and Hard roads), Dublin

For map and directions:

Hours: dawn to dusk