The weather is FINALLY warming up and spring is in the air! One of my favorite things about living in Madison is the realm of possibilities when it comes to exploring our city! We have SO many awesome parks and resources at our fingertips. One of the best things about all of these parks? They are all FREE! Fun, free and outdoors – it doesn’t get much better than that! This is in no means a collective list of parks in the area, it is a condensed list of 20 parks in the area (there are many, many more that are fabulous to check out, but the list could have gone on forever). So if you are feeling in a rut and not sure where to take the kids for a change of scenery – we encourage you to check out this list. Up for a challenge? Start now and check off one of these parks each week… that will get you through the next 5 months and your kids will thank you! Now, happy park hopping!

James Madison Park – 614 East Gorham, Madison located in downtown Madison on Lake Mendota, James Madison Park has basketball courts, a volleyball court, and a playground.

Olin Park – 1156 Olin-Turville Court, Madison located right on the edge of Lake Monona, Olin Park has a soccer field, baseball diamond, walking paths, and playground equipment.  You can swim or soak up some sun on the beach, take a jog on the trail, or go biking through the park.

Wingra Park – 824 Knickerbocker Street, Madison located on Lake Wingra, this park has play equipment, canoe/boat rentals and youth soccer. 

Owen Conservation Park – 6021 Old Sauk Road, Madison located on a hilltop overlook Madison’s west side, Owen Conservation Park has 3.4 miles of trails featuring prairies and oak savannas.

Picnic Point – 2002 University Bay Drive, Madison located along Lake Mendota’s south shore and one of the most popular destinations in the Preserve. 

Country Grove Park – 7353 East Pass, Madison


Westmorland Park – 4114 Tokay Boulevard, Madison located on Madison’s near west side, Westmorland Park features a rock garden, reservable shelter, large playground, volleyball court, tennis courts and a softball field. 

Olbrich Botanical Gardens – 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison You can stroll 16 acres of outdoor gardens featuring stunning landscapes and Midwest-hardy plants. The gardens are free and open daily!

Hoyt Park – 3902 Regent Street, Madison Quiet, and slightly removed from the congested thoroughfare of Madison traffic, Hoyt Park is an ideal location for either a substantial, social gathering or a peaceful stroll through forest and prairie habitat.

Henry Vilas Zoo (Beach & Park) – 702 South Randall Avenue, Madison One of Madison’s oldest parks, Vilas curves along the northern shore of Lake Wingra, offering a sandy beach for summer swims and numerous fishing sites, including two accessible piers. Children can choose between two playgrounds, one with the famous Old Woman in a Shoe slide.  A third playground, with dinosaur play equipment and a large Indian mound may be found on the secluded hilltop portion of the park, behind the zoo on Erin Street.


Sun Prairie Dream Park (Angell Park) – 200 Park Street, Sun Prairie This park is kid designed and community built! It offers children of all physical abilities a safe, accessible and friendly place to play.

Deerfield Dream Park – 642 Autumn Wood Parkway, Deerfield A large, enclosed tot play area which includes slides, playhouses, digging area, bells, swings, tunnels, and bridges. Bigger kids area includes climbing wall, jungle gym areas, several big slides, balance beams, tire swings and more.

Winnequah Park – Dream Park – Healy Lane, Monona A children’s playground which resembles a large castle with turrets, walls and bridges, a painted moat at the entrance and a dragon sculpture rising from it. It contains many different kinds of play equipment including a sandbox, bridges, mirror maze, tree house, climbing wall, tunnels and monkey bars.


Badger County Park – 6720 Highway 151, Verona


Pioneer Park – 7555 West Old Sauk Road, Verona

McKee Farms Dream Park – 2930 Chapel Valley Road, Fitchburg A children’s playground which resembles a large castle and a zero depth splash pad!


Lakeview Park – 6300 Mendota Avenue, Middleton A fun park along side an outdoor aquatic park (splash pad) filled with fun water features is the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day. The brightly colored water features appeal to kids of all ages and the interactive nature of the park keeps kids entertained for hours.


Pheasant Branch Conservancy – 4864 Pheasant Branch Road, Middleton Pheasant Branch Conservancy’s nature trails in Middleton provide some of the best opportunities to see wildlife in the Madison area. The trails wind through 550 acres of forests, fields and wetlands.

Pope Farms Conservatory – 7440 Old Sauk Road, Middleton One of the most beautiful places in Madison, especially during early August when the massive fields of sunflowers are in bloom!


Indian Lake – 8183 Highway 19, Cross Plains This is one of Dane County’s largest parks. A winding trail leads to a historic chapel built in 1857, located on a hilltop that provides a breath taking view of the lake and surrounding valley. A trail has been developed around the entire lake!

Do you have a favorite park not listed here? Please share in the comments below so our readers can check it out!

Madison Family
Madison is such a cool city. We love it around here. We live here too and our vision is to create a platform where real parents share real stories and we can all learn from one another. You will get to know real moms doing life right here in our neighborhoods and find information on a wealth of topics – local summer camps, preschools, swim lessons, shops and boutiques, events and experiences as so much more.


  1. Hello, I’m a French mother of 2 children aged 6 and 3. We will be coming to Madison in May for 4 weeks, and I would have liked my kids to share activities at that period of the year. It would have been easier in June with the summer camps, but, do you have any ideas of post school activities they could join? Thanks for your help!

  2. Lewis Park in McFarland is a great park for all ages! Lots of fun things to do including a baseball field & volleyball nets within a lot of green space! In the winter they set up ice for ice skating, and soon they will be setting up a splash pad for the summer! They also just built an amazing shelter great for hosting parties/events!



    This park is so much fun! It has a musical area which allows the children to interact through musical games with lights and sounds.

    The park also has a scavenger hunt for kids to find objects throughout the playground.

    There also is a large grass area to run around, outdoor bathrooms, and picnic tables to have lunch outside.

  4. How about Brittingham Park!?!?? Right on the water (Monona Bay) with three different play ground areas (one is ADA accessible), a great boat rental facility, general use sport field, and community garden. We love this one!


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