On any given day, South Germantown Recreational Park is abuzz with people. Cars are piling in for a game or celebration. The grand park encompasses 695 acres of land used for open space and recreation for residents of Montgomery County.
To the left of the entrance are two saucer swings and a rock climbing wall. A separate area is a woodland theme with two mini log cabins and wooden, stationary automobiles. To the right are two regular swings, another saucer swing, abstract benches, picnic tables, and a large bulldozer.
I really liked the music themed area which housed a gazebo and five instrument stations. A pretty mural read Music of the spheres a musical map of the Earth. Each station allows you to play different chords by tapping a rubber mallet. Land lubbers beware of a nearby pirate ship with a fast slide, mini rock wall and special watch tower. There is also a double seated teeter totter and sea creatures to climb on.
The main area that attracted the most attention was the castle theme. A sign saying Welcome Princes and Princesses can be seen as you cross the moat via a raised drawbridge and enter a fairytale castle playground. There is also an accessible entrance on a flat path located around the drawbridge. The medieval throne consists of lookout towers, several fast slides, mini climbing walls, tunnels, bars for climbing, a rope bridge and chain bridges.
There are benches made of knights (the chess piece kind), chairs shaped like a king and queen’s throne and a giant loch ness monster to climb on. In the back is a Two Gray Hills Maze and four swings, one of which is accessible and a bucket swing for babies. There are picnic tables, benches and animals for climbing, along with a walking trail.
Clean restrooms and a water fountain are a brief walk from the playground parking lot. Both men and women’s restrooms have a baby changing station.
As you leave Adventure Playground, you will see a tot lot on your left along with tennis and basketball courts. There are twenty-four athletic fields which include soccer fields, artificial turf fields and Miracle Field that is accessible. The park is home to the Maryland Soccerplex. There is an area for mountain bikes and a BMX pump track, archery range, golf driving range, indoor swim center, splash play area, mini golf and picnic shelters. Many of the ball fields have nearby standard bathrooms/port-a-potties.
King Barn Dairy MOOseum
It’s hard to believe that back in the 1950’s, 70% of Montgomery County was covered with farms. Take a trip to the King Barn Dairy MOOseum. Open from May through October on Saturdays and on the fourth Sunday of each month, the MOOseum is an intricate part of the park’s history.
When you walk in the MOOseum, it’s like walking into a store. Your child will receive an activity book, got milk? sticker, cow camouflage wristband and a pencil. The history of the James and Macie King Farmhouse, along with other dairy farms in the county, is well presented through the self-guided barn tour. Hands-on activities include milking life-like cows. For those with audio sensitivity, there is a cow that moos and one that does not make any sound.
At a few stops, you can crank the machine that is used to produce grain used to feed the cows. A great display for the school-aged level is the “Think Your Drink” table. Did you know that calcium in the skeleton looks like flour? There are plastic bags full of “calcium” showing how much children of varying ages, like that of a newborn, to 10-year-old child and a 15-year-old teen need. Corresponding activity sheets teach students the importance of having four servings of milk daily.
Off to the side of the barn is a small room devoted to cow crafts. Kids can make a free craft of a cow puppet, mask, cup or rubbing. A sweet seventh grader who volunteers at the MOOseum helped my preschooler make a cow cup. There is also Macie’s Attic Gift Shop where the cow lover in you can find house wares, figurines or a cow purse. Round out the fun by visiting the tot lot directly across from the MOOseum. There are no bathrooms inside the building, but there are port-a-potties in the parking lot.
The last stop on our “tour” was to the Central Park Pond. Since the park is so big and spread out, you can drive through and park your car to take advantage of the many trails. The Central Park Pond has a model boat dock and access for fishing, a fountain, benches and an area to feed the ducks.
You can easily spend half a day taking advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that South Germantown Recreational Park has to offer. I look forward to returning in the summer when the splash park and mini golf are in session.
Photos by Kathleen Molloy