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Why Willmar Destination Playground is a Central Minnesota Must-See

Willmar, Minnesota's central location makes it a great place to stop along the way to and from tons of great Minnesota destinations like Park Rapids, Itasca State Park, St Cloud, Bemidji, and other cities, lakes, parks, and rural areas in central and north Minnesota, but you probably don't know about this hidden gem playground on Robbins Island! Here's why you should stop at the Destination Playground in Willmar, MN next time you're driving to or through Willmar:

a girl in a dark pink dress and light pink hat swings at the Destination Playground in Willmar, MN

Where is Willmar Destination Playground?

The Willmar Destination Playground is located on Robbins Island, whose address is simply Highway 71 S N, Willmar, MN, 56201. There is ample free parking in the lots throughout the park, and there is no admission charge to drive into the park/island.

What is Robbins Island?

gazebo and shelter house on Robbins Island in Willmar, Minnesota

Robbins Island Regional Park is a park located on a peninsula between Foot Lake and Willmar Lake, narrowly connected to the north to Hedin Park. The park is maintained by the city of Willmar, MN. 

Amenities and Fun on Robbins Island

sand volleyball court and swim beach on Robbins Island in Willmar, MN

Robbins Island has lots of options for fun, including:
  • A beautiful paved bike/walking path that I saw people cycling on when we were at the park
  • Seven shelters, and these are not just barebones roofs on poles. These are full-on buildings, and when we were there, several of them were being used for parties (probably graduation parties based on the decor!) The shelter nearest the swim beach had nice indoor bathrooms that are accessible from outside the building, and as far as I could tell these were the nearest bathrooms to the playground. There was a changing table in the ladies restroom at this shelter and it was clean and in good condition. 
  • Picnic Tables including several with gorgeous views of the lake and swim beach, like the one we ate at
  • Swim Beach: large area of lovely sand and a nice swim area in the lake with helpful buoys. This would be a nice place to take kids to wade or swim and then let them change back into dry clothes in the shelter house bathroom!
  • Sand Volleyball court with clean sand and lovely view of the lake
  • Bridge to Hedin Park (and part of the disc golf course goes across this!)
  • Wheelchair accessible fishing ramp near the swim beach and shelter house
  • Little Free Library (actually two LFLs near the Destination Playground!)
  • 18-hole Disc Golf Course surrounded by the lakes and trees and green grassy course!
  • Destination Playground: more on this below, definitely the star attraction!
  • Robbins Island also hosts many special events throughout the year, including the Willmar Farmer's Market in summer, the Rockin Robbins Summer Concert series, the One Way Festival, and the Celebrate the Light of the World Christmas Display

What is the Willmar Destination Playground?

Lindsay from at Destination Playground in Willmar, MN

The Willmar Destination Playground is an expansive 19,000 square foot adaptive playground with tons of great play structures for all ages. And it's free and open to the public! 
The thoughtful and colorful design of the playground has a variety of eye-catching designs, and the main structure looks like a castle, while other structures in the park look like adorable red barns or brightly painted train engines. Some of the accessible features within the destination playground include flat rubbery surfaces throughout, lots of ramps to access play structures, fun attractions reachable from ground level, high back swings and a wheelchair accessible swing, a roller slide, and a fence around the playground to make it more difficult for kids to leave without a parent knowing. 
a boy with Down syndrome smiles on the adaptive zipline in Willmar Minnesota's Destination Playground

There are also tons of other things to climb on, slide down, or play with like rock walls, climbing nets, a trampoline surrounded by nets, merrygo round, and standard and baby swings. There is a semi-separate area within the Destination Playground designed for toddlers and preschoolers, and my toddler and kindergartener both seemed to love it!
two girls in pink dresses race down yellow slides at the Destination Playground in Willmar, MN

There was also exercise equipment so parents could get in a workout while watching their kids explore and play and I thought that was a really nice touch that I haven't seen elsewhere in conjunction with an inclusive playground. There was also a mister going that I saw several families really enjoying it to cool off.  I think that is such a nice feature for everyone, but especially when you know kids will be coming who may have trouble with temperature regulation like my son with special needs.
stationary bike at the Destination Playground in Willmar, Minnesota

The park was kept very clean and was very well maintained. Even the trash cans are cute at the Willmar Destination Playground!
whimsical trash can at the Destination Playground in Willmar, MN

My family visited on a Saturday around lunchtime, and the park was pretty full, but there are so many fun amenities that it was still easy to find things to play on that no one else was using at the moment. My kids had a blast and were worn out and ready to rest when we got back in the car, which was exactly my goal!

More info on the Willmar Destination Playground

To get more information on the Willmar Destination Playground and Robbins Island Regional Park, check out the City of Willmar website.

pinnable graphic with smiling boy with Down syndrome at Destination Playground in Willmar, MN

Looking for more Adaptive Playgrounds in the Midwest? Read about Miracle Field in Sioux City here. 


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