Sunday, July 25, 2010

Great for clambering but needs more: Sacks Playground

Playground: Sacks Playground
Location: 4th and Federal (entrance on corner)
Date visited: 7/25/10 (early Sunday morning)

Equipment: Two jungle gyms -- one short and fairly long, accessible by steps or various ladders/climbing walls, including a bridge but no slides (!); the other basically just a tall tower, accessible by two tall ladders and with a spiral slide. Shorter jungle gym also includes a cool racing car game (two cars run around a track when you turn a crank), but partially broken (only one car moves smoothly). Fairly large free-standing climbing wall, including low tunnels to crawl through. Low multi-tunnel crawling area. Two-foot high stone turtle with many footholds for climbing. 8-foot tall tower for climbing. Two strap swings.

Ages: 1-8 years
Surface: Rubberized foam throughout
Shade(0-3): 2
Water: No
Other: Public pool, large ball field, basketball courts, extra blacktop and grass; another large park across 4th Street
Access: Dawn to dusk? Fenced in, but gate open at 4th and Federal when visited at 7:30 AM on a Sunday, so presumably open most of the time?

Impressions: Appealing and novel set of equipment, with quite a few options for smaller children. Clean with a nice playing surface. Between the multiple climbing walls, tall climbing structure, usual ladders on jungle gyms, and tunnels and turtle, good clambering options for all ages. However, a glaring lack of slides -- the main jungle gym has none! -- you climb up and then need to climb back down. The one slide is only accessible by a pair of tall ladders, not good for younger children, at least not without assistance. It appears that there was once a connection between the two jungle gyms, which would explain the lack of slide for the one, but now there is a boarded-up circular hole at the end of each. Another glaring lack -- no bucket swings, and indeed only two strap swings. Overall, it feels like a pleasant environment that is in need of just a bit more development -- dealing somehow with the boarded-up ends of the jungle gym, for example. If that happened, this would be a very nice playground -- already it has a nice feel and an above-average variety of climbing possibilities.
Overall rating: 6 (higher than that in terms of feel and climbing options, but some glaring deficiencies in terms of slides and swings)

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