Saturday, August 7, 2010

New and enticing: the renovated Mt. Airy playground

Playground: Mt. Airy playground
Location: On Sedgwick just north of Germantown Ave.
Date visited: 8/7/10

Equipment: Three zones of fun:
  • Tot zone (marked 2-5) has colorful plastic platforms, with a roofed area (including a bench), various climbing including a small "climbing wall," three slides (all metal), and a play table underneath. Also in this area is a 3-person riding toy like a modern low-risk blend of teeter-totter and hobby horse (on a spring), a small "sit and spin" seat, a set of musical chimes, and 4 bucket swings.

  • Older kid zone (marked 5-12) is 20 yards away and designed using "adventure-style" rope and plastic equipment a little like Franklin Square. Some parts of this are complicated ropey parts to challenge older kids, but a few of the lower structures include simpler elements like a suspended tire and a stable hanging chair that would be approachable to intrepid toddlers. There's another piece of equipment still being built here -- only the support poles were in place, so hard to say what it will be, but it's also marked for the older set. A brace of 6 strap swings completes this area.

  • A cement region close to the tot zone turns out to be a nice sprayground, including 4 or 5 water jets that send plumes out of the pavement with various degrees of force. As with many modern sprayparks, there's a waist-height pole here with a button that needs to be pressed every couple of minutes to keep the water coming, so don't be concerned if it's not on when you arrive -- it needs to be pushed with some force, however, so younger kids may need some help.
material: as describe above; scale: good-sized play area within large park
Ages: 1-12
Surface: rubbery under equipment; blacktop or cement elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 0
Water: Y -- small sprayground
Other: picnic tables, baseball field, basketball courts, shaded porch on rec center, football team
Access: Nothing posted, but gate(s) can be closed

Impressions: Recently renovated cutting-edge playspace offers something for just about everybody and a wide range of ages. Inviting tot zone and space-age-looking clambering zone for older kids should prove a huge draw -- throw in the zone of water sprayers and some grass to run around in and it's worth a serious drive, but probably not on the hottest/sunniest days, given the almost complete absence of shade.
Bonus: it's right across the street from a big Acme, so easy to combine with some quick errands.
Overall rating: 10

Update (2/2013): Nothing has been done with the partially completed area. Did they run out of ideas? Decide the design was unsafe? (zip line plans, maybe?) not clear, but leaves an odd impression. Still, a generally fun playground, if just short of great for the highest ages.

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