Turtle Playground - More Sculpture Than Playground

3 stars Review Philosophy

Turtle Playground Takeaway. The Turtle Themed Playground. Fun in concept, not that great in person. Four different types of turtle statues is four ways to play. They're literally hard and unforgiving, so need to be careful sliding down. Better for slightly older kids. A true playground is a three-minute walk up the street to the east.

Parking in a dedicated lot. The park backs onto the highway, so it's loud. Make sure to check detections and don't blindly trust Google Maps, as it tried to lead us onto the highway.

Turtle Playground mouth


  • Oakland Ave at, 6128 Tamm Ave, St. Louis, MO 63139
  • (314) 367-7275
  • Website
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  • Yelp - 4.3 stars - 31 ratings
  • TripAdvisor - 4.5 stars - 28 ratings
  • Google Maps - 4.7 stars - 77 ratings


Monday6 AM–10 PM
Tuesday6 AM–10 PM
Wednesday6 AM–10 PM
Thursday6 AM–10 PM
Friday6 AM–10 PM
Saturday6 AM–10 PM
Sunday6 AM–10 PM


Turtle Playground Experience Summary

Over the weekend, my son and I decided to venture out to the turtle playground, a spot that has frequently appeared on several "best playground" lists for St. Louis. Despite its acclaim, our experience suggested it might not live up to the title of one of the best playgrounds in the city, though it did have its unique charm.

Turtle Playground mouth

The playground is known for its collection of five or six large turtle sculptures, which are pretty impressive. I attempted to capture their scale in photos using my four-year-old for scale. They are surprisingly big and hard, definitely not a forgiving construction material for younger kids.

We found that, aside from climbing up and sliding down these turtles a few times, there wasn't much else to do, limiting the turtle-themed fun.

I didn't see it until we were leaving, but the playground did have a more traditional playground located further east of the turtle sculptures. The equipment included two playground sets with another log turtle situated between them. These would provide a slightly more varied play experience, but I had already promised my son a ride to the Rocket Ship Park, so he wasn't interested in stopping.

Turtle Playground Big Kid Playground

The one odd spot around any trip to Turtle Playground is the proximity to the highway. I mean, it's literally on the side of the highway. If you blindly trust Google Maps, it'll take you on the I-64 ramp and onto the highway instead of to the park.

While it's perfectly safe, the background traffic is loud, and for some reason feels like you could accidentally drop the fence, run down the hill, jump another fence, and somehow end up in the middle of the highway.

That's how close it is to the highway.

Turtle Playground highway

Turtle Playground Breakdown

Unfortunately, the Turtle Playground didn't really live up to my expectations as a playground but did live up on the art front. These turtles would not be out of place in the St. Louis Art Museum or at Laumeier Sculpture Park.

We didn't get to the actual playground at the park because it was hidden behind the bathrooms on the east side, past the parking lot. From my 30s scoping out, it looked like an average to above-average local playground. I would say the same basic criticism of being very close to the highway would apply, but apart from that, it's a solid neighborhood playground.

Turtle Playground path

There was a dedicated little kids' playground and an older kid's playground. The designers built both playgrounds around a main slide with several ways back up. That would give a decent slide reset value with standard time to slide.

They're located right next to the bathrooms, and a dedicated wood chip/log turtle separates them.

I can't say much more than that about the normal playgrounds because we just drove by them. But I can dig into the turtle sculptures as a playground experience.

Turtle Playground path 2

The Turtles As Playground

My four-year-old didn't know what to think when I told him we were going to play on turtles, but he got the idea as soon as we got there. He ran ahead of me to the first turtle closest to the parking lot. I tried to use him for scale in the images, but they were pretty big guys.

He immediately realized they were very hard to climb. The concrete they're made of has been worn down to a slick version of it's initial coarser self. That means two things:

I definitely almost lost my footing climbing up the turtle shell several times, and my soon couldn't do it safety without a spot.

Turtle Playground second turtle

And when you slide down, you're not hitting anything forgiving at the bottom. They built the sculptures on top of cement, not child-friendly playground rubber. That means taking a tumble will land you on something completely unforgiving.

That being said, we came out unscathed, but only lasted about fifteen or twenty minutes total. While there are four different turtles to play with, they have the O"Day park problem. There's only so many ways you can climb a concrete turtle. That means kids can get kinda bored kinda quick relative to how fun they look from the onset.

Turtle Playground third turtle

I can't say if it's playground complete or not. The turtles by themselves are a twenty-minute stop, but if you walked over to the playground, I think you could fill the other forty minutes. That playground wasn't fancy, but it looked well put together for kids.

Turtle Playground snake

After the paths of turtles, the rail on the right turned into a snake. The head it just by the bridge, and it's a nice detail to the park. Everything has a reptile theme to it as even the playground had reptile colors.

Turtle Playground little turtle

Other Apparati

They had a set of swings near the playground portion of the park.

Turtle Playground Amenities And Miscellaneous

Coming back to the playground as more of a sculpture park for adults would be fun, but it would only be a fifteen or twenty-minute visit. I could have gotten a longer, closer look at some of the turtles if I had been there by myself. I could also figure out which ones had the best slides with a little more time.

Turtle Playground little kid playground

The Turtle Playground is located right next to the highway, so be sure that you're Google maps is taking you to the park and not just on the highway. You'll hear the highway noise the whole time, and it does take away a bit of the charm.

There are bathrooms right next to the turtle and playground. The outside looked like standard St. Louis park bathrooms, but we didn't go in.

Parking At Turtle Playground

Turtle Playground parking

There's a dedicated lot for the Turtles and then street parking for the playgrounds. I think the lots were unusually full for the number of people I saw here, but we got a spot at 11 am on a cold, not freezing, Saturday without issue.

The St. Louis Zoo is right across the highway, and I think people park here and walk over Tamm Ave to the South Entrance.

Turtle Playground Receipt

Turtle Playground receipt

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