(credit: CBS)(credit: CBS)

Now that the weather is starting to warm up and spring is finally here, it’s a great time to find some fun parks to explore with your whole family. Plan a playdate or two with a few friends. All of your kids can get together, play on the equipment and have a great time, while you and your friends find some comfortable shade to relax. There are so many beautiful parks with playgrounds in the Denver area that it’s nearly impossible to pick just a few, but here are five that really stand out among the best of the best.

Centennial Center Park
13050 E. Peakview Ave.
Centennial, CO 80112
(303) 325-8000
centennialco.gov

Centennial Center Park is a wonderful neighborhood gem that fills out a massive 11 acres just north of Arapahoe Road. There is a lot to enjoy here, so you’ll want to put this park on your regular rotation for play dates and family outings. You can relax in the sun at any of the many picnic tables as the kids go to town on the many different play areas. There are three climbing walls in addition to all the other playground staples like swings and slides. There’s even a splash pad area with a sprinkler feature for those warm days when the kids just want to play and splash around in the water. The playground is also separated into a toddler area with smaller equipment and a larger kid playing area so there’s a little something for everyone here.

Surfside Spray Park
5330 W. 9th Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80215
(303) 987-7073
lakewood.org

Price: $2.50 per child

Yes, there is a small admission fee for this park but it’s totally worth it when you see all the fun things there are to do at this wonderful Lakewood neighborhood park. It’s only open for the warmer months so plan to hit this one in the summer. With lots of shade and plenty of places to sit and relax, parents will love taking their kids to Surfside Spray Park. The main attraction here is the large spray pad with tons of water features spraying water in every direction; it’s the perfect low-cost way to keep cool on those hot Colorado days. The park also has barbecue grills and lots of picnic tables, so why not make your next playdate something really special? Head over to this great park for lots of splashing fun.

Related: Best Parks For Kids In Denver

Belleview Park
5001 S. Inca Drive
Englewood, CO 80110
(303) 762-2680
englewoodgov.org

On the surface, Belleview Park may seem like your regular neighborhood park, with the classic plastic playground equipment featuring slides, swings and other fun things to climb on. However, it’s also home to a fun miniature train and a petting zoo, so you can triple your fun for just a few extra dollars. A ride on the miniature train runs $1.75 per person, and it circles the park, giving you a great ride and lots of fun for a very little cost. Then head over to the petting zoo where, for another $1.75 per person, you can get to know all sorts of pigs, chickens, sheep and goats. What a fun way to spend less than five dollars and still have lots of great family fun.

Westlands Park
5701 S. Quebec St.
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
(303) 586-5773
greenwoodvillage.com

A great small-sized climbing wall, a huge slide, a special toddler area with sand box and smaller equipment and even giant sculptures for climbing; these are just some of the wonderful features of Westlands Park in Greenwood Village. In fact, there are three different play areas here, with lots of different equipment for even the youngest children. If your kids love to climb, then they’ll adore this park. There are so many different places to climb and explore, they’ll be begging to go back again and again. Plus with lots of picnic areas, a pond and a hiking trail, mom and dad will love this park as well.

Charley Emley Park
2301 W. Briarwood Ave.
Littleton, CO 80120
(303) 798-5131
ssprd.org

The great thing about Charley Emley Park is how classic it is. If you’re looking for a simple park, with a great playground and lots of places to just relax while the kids play and work off some of that extra energy, then Charley Emley Park is a wonderful choice. The playground fixture here has everything you’d expect, plus lots of slides, seesaws and tunnels to explore. For your next playdate, you can’t go wrong by packing a picnic lunch, grabbing the kids and heading over to this great neighborhood gem. You’ll find lots to enjoy and plenty of space to relax, which is just what you want from a playdate, isn’t it?

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Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.