Four Cities With Playgrounds for Adults

Outdoor fitness areas bring adults to local parks

Raven Petty
On Monday, November 17, 2014 - 06:00

Adult fitness and healthy living trends continue to take the U.S. by storm. The latest trend takes it to a new level: playgrounds for adults. In hopes to get more adults outside, either with their kids or to just get active, this trend has been popular in places outside the U.S., such as Zurich, London and several cities in China for years, and seems to now be taking off in America. Here are four cities with outdoor parks that are geared specifically toward adults:

1. Miami-Dade County, FL - multiple locations

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The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces Department (MDPROS) has partnered with the Trust for Public Lands, the Health Department and the Health Foundation of South Florida, and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade to install free outdoor Fitness Zones® at Miami-Dade Parks locations. Fitness Zones comprise exercise equipment permanently placed in parks that encourage exercise and healthy lifestyles. The equipment is more weather resistant and tailored to residents from 12 years old to senior citizens. Currently, there are 16 Fitness Zones located throughout the county, and there are seven more planned.

MDPROS Director says the Fitness Zones have been a huge hit with not only adults but families, too.

“Residents are thrilled at the fact that they can get a real gym workout for free and de-stress from their day in a beautiful park setting. It is the new family outing, where parents can exercise nearby while their children play in the park. The value of these lifestyle changes wherein everyone is having fun being outdoors and staying active will be in reduced health-care costs and closer family relationships.”

2. Los Angeles, CA - Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Recreation Center

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Located in the Los Angeles' metropolitan area, Sherman Oaks is home to the Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Recreation Center. The nearly 70-acre facility features a swimming pool, multipupose sports fields and diamonds, outdoor fitness equipment including chin-up bars and rowing machines, and more. The goal of the fitness areas is to provide residents with a place to get fit without paying gym costs therefore increasing better use of the parks.

3. New York City, NY - multiple locations

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The first test for New York City's adult-playground zones was in Macombs Dam Park in The Bronx. The park features handle bars and equipment for sit-ups, plus soccer fields, basketball courts and more. Since the unveiling of Macombs Dam Park's fitness center, the city has added 30 more in parks throughout the area. The outdoor equipment allows adults, who are normally banned from playgrounds without accompanying a child, to get in shape while enjoying "playground" equipment of their own.

4. Boston, MA - Lawn on D Street

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For adult parks, it's not always crunches and cardio. For a more laid-back experience, Boston residents can swing in one of 20 lighted oval swings that are planted on the Lawn on D Street. The swings – an interactive art piece – are different sizes and glow with LED lights depending on the swings' movements, creating a luminescent park experience. The three-acre site sits adjacent to the Boston Convention and Exhibitors Center and also offers bocce ball, beanbag toss, Adirodack chairs, all complete with a sound stage for live music and open bar.


Our goal is to create more intergenerational recreational opportunities like this throughout our parks system that will improve the health and well-being of residents and visitors of all ages in Miami-Dade County.

Jack Kardys


Raven Petty – a native Nashvillian – enjoys as much variety in her work as she does her hobbies. She is a graduate of Tennessee State University with a B.A.