Saturday, August 7, 2010

First trip to the Northwest: Donald Rumph Rec. Center (= Carpenter Park = Mallery Playground)

Playground: Mallery Playground (?)
Location: On Johnson at Morton; second playground near Duval
Date visited: 8/7/10 (late Saturday morning)

Equipment: Two separate playgrounds:
  1. Tot lot right by recreation center has one small playset (low platforms) with several types of climbing, including the uncommon barrel-stave-type ladder, and two slides (1 metal and 1 plastic). Also in this zone is a "hobby horse" style bobbing elephant and a mysterious structure a little like an almost-horizontal slide caged with bars -- something for crawlers? for racing cars? a training jungle gym? A set of swings here includes 1 bucket (and brackets for another, missing) and 2 low strap swings.

  2. The bigger kid section would be easy to miss, as it's down some steps and around the other side of the rec. center. The play structure has higher platforms (4 and 6 feet) with a number of simple climbing elements and a single high (metal) slide, as well as a curvy stretch of classic monkey bars. Also in this area are a set of 4 strap swings and a freestanding structure that's an arched stretch of ladder (you could, say, climb up and over) about 7 feet high.
material: modern resin and metal; scale: one small and one medium play spaces in a larger park.
Ages: 1-4 and 3-8?
Surface: rubbery around equipment
Shade(0-3): 2 (both)
Water: N
Other: Large rec. center with lots of classes and other activities, ball field (and enough more grass for soccer, football, etc.), basketball courts
Access: open on several sides; no hours posted

Impressions: These widely separated zones are good for protecting toddlers from their rambunctious elders, but they make it hard for a parent to keep an eye on kids of different ages. Decent equipment, if a little uninspired and a little worn. Tot zone feels restful; field near the lower lot is fun for running around; both zones have decent shade. A nice spot if you live nearby, but nothing to make a special trip for.
Overall rating: 6-7

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