As you approach Freedom Field in Columbus, Indiana, it appears out of a sea of soccer fields like a mirage of childhood wonderment. This innovative 1.5 acre playground inspired a chorus of “oohs” and “aahs” from my 3-year-old nephew when he visited.
While you may think the name “Freedom” comes from the bright red, white and blue pieces of equipment, this playground is more than just patriotic in color. As an all-inclusive playground and the first of its kind in the nation, it provides the freedom to play for those with special needs.
Nearly all the pieces of equipment at Freedom Field are accessible by wheelchair. It even offers a unique wheelchair glider. The entire surface is made of rubber, meaning the occasional tumble off the swings or monkey bars only bruises your ego. In addition to its handicap-accessible design, it features rock climbing areas, independent play stations, a three-dimensional climbing web, and a toddler-friendly area for kids ages 2-5.
If you go, bring a soccer ball and bikes. Freedom Field is surrounded by dozens of soccer fields, which are a part of Chapman T. Blackwell Park, where Freedom Field is located. It also borders the Columbus People Trail, a paved recreational path that weaves its way all over town.
Freedom Field is located at 1400 Parkside Drive, behind Parkside Elementary School. Look for the entrance sign to Blackwell Park. For more information on Freedom Field, visit the Columbus Parks and Recreation website.