Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Grand ambitions, but a little short: Guerin

Playground: Guerin recreation center
Location: 16th & Jackson (SE corner), main entrance on 16th
Date visited: 8/15/10

Equipment: Substantial fenced play zone marked "12 and under" -- not really divided into subzones, but with a number of pieces of equipment:
  1. A lower playset, marked for ages 2-5, with a couple of types of climbing, platforms 3-5 feet high, one metal and two plastic slides (one curved and one with moguls), and arched bridge and a narrower "canyon" walkway, bench underneath. Has one of those spinnable bead games, but instead of tic-tac-toe, it has animal heads/bodies/feet.
  2. Higher playset, marked for ages 5-12, with various climbing, curved arch bridge and canyon walkway, two metal slides of different heights, bench and some other fun bits underneath (including some gears).
  3. A "hobby horse" shaped like a bulldozer (and space where another one is missing).
  4. Swings: 4 strap, and space for 4 buckets, the latter all missing or broken.
  5. Circular water zone with a pipe sprayer.
  6. Fun modern rope-ish variant on a compact jungle gym, pyramid-shaped for conquering.
Ages: 1-8
Surface: rubbery around equipment; cement elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 0
Water: Y
Other: Rec. center and smaller building, small picnic tables (some broken seats), and huge blacktop area lit for some kind of organized use (fall football, summer camp stuff)
Access: summer: 9am-10pm; otherwise, 1:30-10pm

Impressions: This playground is colorful and creative, and looks like it was designed to be a showcase/destination playground, but it falls a bit short. First, it suffers from the common problem of underestimating the abilities of children (and thus not offering any real challenges for older kids). Second, some combination of neglect and abuse has decreased its offerings -- the lack of bucket swings seems really a shame. Landscaping here is pretty, but it doesn't actually put any trees where they might offer shade when grown. Better upkeep would raise its grade; meantime, worth a visit with younger kids if you're in the area, for the unusual mix of entertainments.
Overall rating: 7

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