Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fun in the sun: Columbus Square

Playground: Columbus Square Recreation Center
Location: block bounded by Wharton & Reed, 12th & 13th -- enter on 12th for playgrounds
Date visited: 7/18/10 (Sunday morning)

Equipment: Two separate zones:
  • A tot zone is protected by a gated fence and some decorative plantings from the rest of the space. Its playset includes 2 slides (both metal), a solid bridge, stairs, and a good mix of simple ladders and a low rope ladder, all good for those learning to climb. Also 4 bucket swings here (a nice type with a higher back, that I haven't seen before), and the whole zone is covered with rubbery surfacing. No actual shade at 10:30, but low roofs over the playset ends made it feel a bit shady.

  • The bigger kid area has a multi-level play structure that includes 2 straight slides (4' and 6') and 1 twisty slide -- all metal -- lots of climbing bits, a crawl-through bridge tube (big enough for a toddler to walk through, bending down a bit), and an arched solid bridge; also, underneath, a few possible play spots for smaller kids like a crawl-through hole and and a "shop-window" ledge. The upper end of this structure was high enough to challenge (and even daunt) our 29-month-old adventurer. A little tricky for parents who like to get up on the playset with their kids too. Four strap swings finish out this zone.
material: modern resin & metal; scale: medium space in a larger park.
Ages: 1-4, 3-10, respectively?
Surface: rubbery around play spaces; brick elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 0
Water: Y (not observed)
Other: ball field, rec. center, grassy area, dog park, extra paved space (for bikes and balls); also an interesting closed (round) building at the far end of the paved space.
Access: dawn to dusk?

Impressions: This appears to be a recently renovated space, with a modernist rec. building, lots of colorful plantings, and nice equipment that offers a range of play for many ages -- it's not huge, but it's well chosen and designed. Lack of shade made our visit a bit brutal in summer heat, but it's probably a great spot in most seasons, especially for families with kids in a range of ages. (Note that the Christopher Columbus Charter School is right nearby, which may mean some daytime or afterschool traffic in spring and fall.) Will be nice when the tiny trees have matured in another decade or so. We'll definitely be back on a cooler day!
Overall rating: 8

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