Alapocas Run State Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:1914 West Park Drive, Wilmington, DE
Hours:Grounds open 8 a.m. to sunset; office open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from March through November, and Monday through Friday from December through February
Fee: Nonresidents, $6 per vehicle; residents, $3 per vehicle (March through November); pedestrians and bikes, free
Contact:, 302-577-1164

Bathrooms: In Blue Ball Barn and near the Can-Do Playground
Water/Snacks: None

The Can-Do Playground, rock climbing, trails through a pawpaw grove—all in downtown Wilmington!

Alapocas Run State Park
Photo by: Justin Johnsen

Alapocas Run is not your ordinary city park. It features a rock-climbing wall, a pawpaw grove, and the coolest playground around. The park is at the confluence of the Alapocas Run and the Brandywine Creek. Trails wind through the wooded areas along the stream.

The Can-Do Playground, near Parking Lot C, is designed to be usable by any child regardless of physical, sensory, or mental abilities. Kids of all abilities play together here, where they get to exercise both their bodies and their imaginations. It’s a supersafe playground too, so parents can relax and enjoy watching the fun.

For more exercise, head to the rock-climbing wall, a remnant of an old “blue rock” (granite) quarry near the Brandywine Creek. Bring your own equipment, and make sure you know what you’re doing. The park staff regularly offers instruction, and has a summer rock-climbing camp for kids. 

Several short, easy trails wind through the park. Alapocas Woods Trail begins at the ball-field parking area; it winds through the woods and connects to the PawPaw Loop Trail which leads through a large patch of pawpaw trees, the only tropical tree native to the Philadelphia region. These trails are for hiking only. A 2-mile portion of the 10.4-mile paved/crushed stone Northern Delaware Greenway Trail, which is open to bikes as well as pedestrians, traverses the park along the Alapocas Run to the Brandywine.

The Blue Ball Barn, where the park office is located, is a converted stone barn that houses the Delaware Folk Art Collection. Interactive exhibits engage kids. The renovated barn itself was Delaware’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified public building, and you can see some of these features, such as the sunshades in the patio.

Remember: You must obtain a rock-climbing permit to use the wall. Dogs must be leashed.

Plan B:

Brandywine Creek State Park, with many trails for both hikes and bikes, is north. The Brandywine Zoo is in nearby Brandywine Park.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Concord Pike/US 202 is a busy commercial street.


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