Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First venture into the NE: Jacobs Playground

Playground: Jacobs
Location: Upper Holmesburg (far NE Phila), corner of Linden Ave. and Jackson St. Just a few minutes from Rte. 95 (Academy Rd exit). No obvious parking on Linden, though easy parking on Jackson (or other residential streets nearby)
Date visited: 8/11/09

Equipment: Three areas (though no fences around any of them):
  • Fairly large apparatus for toddlers, with access by crawlable stairs or ladder, several small slides of different types, an S-shaped bridge, and two "flip-boards" with grids of squares to flip, one a standard tic-tac-toe design and the other a nice big one with letters and animals
  • Fairly large apparatus for larger kids with 7 different types of ladders to climb to get up, 5 slides (several pretty large, but one closed via nailed-on plywood), and a caged-in balance-beam bridge (see more below in "Impressions").
  • Swing set with 2 worn-out and somewhat deformed bucket swings and 4 strap swings
Ages: toddler through middle school
Surface: rubbery composite in play areas, sidewalk-material in central zone with benches
Shade(0-3): 2 (nice trees surrounding central zone, and other trees surrounding play areas, so should get partial shade much of the day, though most areas were in sun when I visited at high noon)
Water: No
Other: part of a large rec complex with basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball fields, and a pool (though it was closed when visited at noon in mid-August). View of a massive parking lot for oversized Philadelphia public works vehicles, which I guess could be a plus for some kids
Access: signage says open 6 AM to 10 PM

Impressions: Above-average size of equipment is a plus, although nothing extra here, just the typical climbing, slides, and (below-average) swings. Central zone with benches under trees is a nice feature. Setting is not so scenic -- next to large parking lot and a busy road (though play equipment is safely away from road).

This may be my own hangup, but the balance-beam in the larger apparatus was problematic. Our toddler daughter wanted to ramble around the bigger apparatus (for one thing, it was the one in partial shade), but the balance beam made that essentially impossible, since I couldn't let her cross it as she would certainly fall off (not to the ground, due to the surrounding cage, but her legs probably would have gotten wedged into the spaces between the cage bars, and quite probably injured). Probably for the older kids for whom the apparatus is aimed, who could use the high-ish guiderails and cross fairly easily, the balance beam is a plus, but it was a demerit for a toddler girl who sometimes likes to ramble around on the big equipment even if the slides are too tall for her. Other designs let her do so, but not this one.

Overall rating: 7

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