Summertime Together: French Regional Park Playground

Clifton E. French Regional Park sign at the entrance of the park

Note: French Regional Park Playground was updated in the summer of 2018. Much of what we loved about the park in 2013 was kept and improved.

This is our last installment of Summertime Together. Honestly, I can’t believe how fast it’s gone. But that’s what happens when you are having fun, I guess! For our last Three River Parks Play Area Review, Anne and I met with our eight children at French Regional Park. We had both heard of their play area and were curious to see what it had to offer.

Located in Plymouth, French Regional Park is worth checking out. I am a bit fond of this park since my maiden name was French. So quite honestly (and dorkily) I like to say I own it in my special way–I don’t.

It was the perfect summer day for a trip to the park. Slight breeze, sunshine, and smiles were all we needed. Oh, and we can’t forget the self-proclaimed lame lunches. Anne and I both made lame lunches, but our children were fed and free to play, so no one could complain.

The first thing that we noticed as we parked the van was that the structure was a wooden structure. It was refreshing to see a well-kept wooden playground that was obviously loved and maintained. It brought me back to my childhood. Half of the playground was hidden in the back, so it was hard to see everything it had to offer.  What we saw, though, was enticing.  The kids hopped out of the van and made a beeline for the nets.

That’s right!  The main attraction was the maze of cargo nets.

French Regional Park Cargo Nets

Is it difficult to maneuver? Yes! Did we worry about the almost 2 year old? A little bit. Was it fun? Oh, my goodness! Yes! I have never seen someone from my family so willingly drop themselves headfirst, roll into a somersault, and come up smiling. I had some near heart attacks, but as soon as they were standing and smiling, I was able to let it go.  A little.

At the top of the cargo net structure that must stand about 30 feet tall, is a large fort.  For some reason, unknown to me, we called it the barn. From the barn, there are steps and bridges and tunnels to play as well.

After a bit, I started to explore the rest of French Regional Park Playground. They have a smaller structure with slides and steps and a smaller cargo net crawl space for littler ones. Not only that, but they have a sand box and a couple of tire swings and “baby” swings.

French Regional Park Sand

There were plenty of picnic tables and shaded spots. The bathrooms were clean and in the Park Center right beside the playground. There is a lot of grassy area, too!

Anne and I were very impressed, and our kids really had a fun time.  We will be going back again.


  • There were a lot of different choices of self guided activity and plenty of  space for adults to join in. I’m sure the nets would have held me, but I’m slightly (okay, deathly) afraid of heights, and the nets go up really high.  If I had had the courage I could have gone all the way to the top.  At one point, I was “stuck” inside the net helping Anne’s little girl.  That’s the way to get to know someone. Just throw yourself on them trusting wholeheartedly that they will catch you.  
  • Water was easily available and the bathrooms were very accessible.  On a summer day, both of those things are important.
  • With tunnels, cargo nets, slides, swings, and sand, there really wasn’t anything it didn’t have.


  • In one spot, you can climb the cargo net from the ground up 9 or 10 feet. Then, you needed to swing your leg over and drop yourself into the net.  It was not an easy thing to do.  I was nervous watching Jack, my 3 year old, do this since I couldn’t reach past his foot in case he fell. That one spot, however, was the only spot that I felt could have caused serious damage.  And for the three hours we were there, numerous kids scaled it without a single injury. 
  • If you have an independent little one like Anne and I do, they can get lost very quickly on this apparatus. Jack was self sufficient being able to hold his own (only one time getting his face stepped on), so I didn’t need to worry too much.   But if we took our eyes off Anne’s youngest, she was gone in a flash.  Generally, we just needed to walk around the corner to find her.
  • Some of the nets hang low.  If a child flings themselves down onto the net and you are under it, there is a mighty good chance they will hit your head causing you harm.  My advice?  Don’t walk under the nets.

When I asked my kids what their favorite thing to do at French Park was, 3 out of the 4 said the nets. They called them the ropes, but same difference.  I think the same was true for Anne’s kids. Those nets were exciting and a completely different experience than anything else we’ve done.

French Regional Park Playground

5:00 AM–10:00 PM
12605 Rockford Road
Plymouth, MN 55441

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