6 hidden playgrounds to explore

Looking to make the most of this good weather with the kids?

The Miami Valley is full of great playgrounds and parks for kids of all ages and abilities beyond the big names and central locations.

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Here are 6 parks just a smidgen off the beaten path to try out when you want to shake up your normal routine:

1) Archaeology Adventure Zone at Carillon Historical Park

This little gem is tucked away among the topography of Carillon Park, right behind the Wright Brothers roundhouse building. An extensive series of slides are camoflauged among the trees, and two sand pits allow little adventurers to dig up all kinds of fun. Thanks to the heavy tree canopy and natural ground cover, the area is cool and refreshing no matter how hot it may be in the sun.

1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton {Carillon Historical Park is a private non-profit organization. Admission fees do apply; call for details}

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2) Owen's Place at Victory/Rotary Park in Beavercreek

Borne out of a parents' love for their differently-abled child, Owen's Place is a multi-stage sensory and accessible playground for everyone to enjoy. Now in its second stage of building an accessible "treehouse village," Owen's Place incorporates soft ground cover, multi-sensory playground equipment (my favorite are the color panels that you can rotate to create different patterns and shadows) and plenty of great vantage points for parents and caregivers to monitor play at a safe distance.

2260 Dayton Xenia Road, Beavercreek

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3) Concept Park in Centerville

Orginally accquired in 1963 through an open space transfer, this smaller neighborhood park is right off the intersection of Spring Valley and 725 with basketball courts, an obstacle-course style playground, infant and regular swings, open green space, and a stream flanking one side. Depending on recent rainfall, the stream is a great wading spot with real tadpoles and the occassional duck swimming by — a perfect way to show little eyes that summer water fun doesn't have to come from a pool or spash pad.

345 Clareridge Lane, Centerville

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4) Newcom Park in the Oregon District

Another neighborhood park, this one sports a gorgeous gazebo, multi-leveled climbing playground equipment, grilling stations and even a tiny library. Just a couple of short blocks off the Oregon's main Fifth Street drag, you'll feel a world away surrounded by historical homes and brick-paved streets. Bonus: you're close enough to be able to pop over to a bevy of wonderful choices for a post-playdate snack.

Brown, Hess and Green streets

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5) Irelan Park in Kettering

On Marshall Road by David Road, friends call it the "squishy park" because of the rubber tiles covering the playground surface. There is accessible parking, a paved sidewalk leading to the playground and the playground area is small and it is easy to monitor kids from pretty much any area of the playground.

4532 Marshall Road, Kettering

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6) Menke Park in Troy

If you're north of town, Menke is a sure bet. Located behind Hobart Urban Nature Preserve (which offers parking and some walking paths), there are tons of mature trees and lots of shade around the playground equipment. Perhaps most importantly, the bathrooms are clean and have flush toilets — so no panic for the potty-training set.

231 S. Main St., Troy

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Let us know what your favorite hidden parks are by tagging us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram when you're there!

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