Sunday, September 26, 2010

First visit to near Northeast, Part II: Roosevelt Playground

Playground: Roosevelt Playground
Location: corner of Hellerman and Walker
Date visited: 9/22/10

Equipment: Larger jungle gym (3 ladders, big turning slide, straight slide, 3 bridges, 2 turn-the-pieces puzzles, Tic-Tac-Toe), Smaller jungle gym (4 ladders, big slide, tall steps, sliding pole, monkey bars), 4 strap swings, 4 bucket swings, 3 broken rocking animals (barely rock), stone elephant sculpture
Ages: 2-8
Surface: rubbery surface by equipment
Shade(0-3): 1
Water: Stone elephant seems to be a sprinkler
Other: Rec center, playing fields
Access: could be gated, not sure about hours

Impressions: Pleasant atmosphere and decent equipment, kept in pretty good shape (though a small scum-puddle near the elephant when visited). A bit surprising that the larger jungle gym is more accessible to smaller kids, while the smaller one requires ladder or climbing access, but decent equipment for range of ages (though too bad that all 3 rocking animals are basically not functional).
Overall rating: 7

First visit to near Northeast: Vogt Playground

Playground: Vogt
Location: Unruh Ave., just north of Cottage St.
Date visited: 9/22/10

Equipment: Large jungle gym (5 ladders, steps, turning slide, regular slide, monkey bars), small jungle gym (4 ladders, 2 steps, 3 slides), 4 strap swings (tall), 4 bucket swings, 2 rocking animals (old), 2 space-pods connected by bridge, hopscotch
Ages: 1-8
Surface: rubbery around play equipment, cement elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 1
Water: None
Other: Rec Center, many playing fields
Access: Could be gated, hours unknown

Impressions: Fairly big playground, among an enormous complex of playing fields. Ambience is quite nice, with central benches under trees. Equipment in decent shape (though not super-new) and fairly well maintained (though hanging bar above one slide was coated with gooey bubble gum -- yuck).
Overall rating: 7

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Outskirts of Temple III: Winchester Playground

Playground: Winchester playground
Location: 15th just North of Dauphin
Date visited: 8/28/10

Equipment: Small playground with three compact playsets, colorful metal and plastic:
  • Stairs, ladder, straight climbing wall, short and tall plastic slides, curve of "monkey bar" rings, chimes
  • Wood-look plastic set with sloped and straight climbing walls, novel disk-style wobbly ladder, and tall plastic slide with bumps
  • Stairs and novel rock-pile steps (like an irregular staircase climber) and two plastic slides (straight & curved) and a (partly functional) ball bearing spin toy
Ages: 1-7
Surface: rubbery around equipment, cement elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 2
Water: N
Other: basketball courts on both sides, small grassy field
Access: open

Impressions: Practically new, colorful, and fun, these little playsets are real gems of fun and challenge -- novel climbing modes, good and varied slides, lots of fun. Will mostly appeal to tots through elementary ages, but worth going out of your way once with an enthusiastic climber. No swings though.
Overall rating: 8

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Outskirts of Temple II: Amos playground

Playground: Amos playground
Location: 16th and Berks
Date visited: 8/28/10

Equipment: Small playground and rec. center in a little niche of public space surrounded by Temple ball fields and frat houses. Several play structures:
  1. A playset with a river of monkey bars and two metal slides (3 and 6 feet tall)
  2. An older-style metal-bar "fire truck" to climb around on, including one low metal slide and a wooden bench driver's seat. Low running boards might be reachable by crawlers and standers.
  3. Angled cement climbing piece (tunnel under, saddle shape above, with window holes)
  4. Cylindrical jungle gym
  5. Swingset with 2 strap swings and 2 empty spaces
material: weathered "resin and metal" type; scale of space: small
Ages: 1-8
Surface: rubbery around structures; cement elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 0
Water: N
Other: Basketball, beautifully muralled/mosaic rec. center, picnic tables in corner, fenced cement zone (for balls and skateboards? no basketball net), closed former pool
Access: 6am - 10pm (not gateable)

Impressions: Very cute but poorly maintained playground offers a fun variety of play equipment for a surprising range of ages in a small space. Lack of shade and bucket swings are a real shame. I gather that this playground was redone within the last 10 years -- it could use a little paint and other love, especially given the contrast with the shining Temple playspaces on the other side of the fence . . .
Overall rating: 6-7

Outskirts of Temple I: Dendy Recreation Center

Playground: Marie Dendy rec. center playground
Location: 10th between Jefferson and Oxford
Date visited: 8/28/10

Equipment: One continuous zone with several play structures:
  1. A freestanding metal slide, around 4ft. high
  2. A large playset with lots of climbing bits and one tall (6-ft) metal slide
  3. A small playset (platforms around 3ft. tall) with several types of climbing and two plastic slides -- one wide and straight, the other curved
  4. A neat sculpture with three sleek metal dolphins (good for young climbers) circling a central structure (somewhat vertebral in appearance) -- could be a fountain/sprayer, but not contained in any sort of pool, so might or might not be functional
  5. A swing set with space for 4 swings, but only 1 bucket was present at time of visit (other spaces empty)
Ages: 1-7
Surface: rubbery around equipment; blacktop elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 2
Water: ?
Other: basketball (lots), grassy field with baseball diamond(s), rec. center building, pool, tennis courts with no nets, blacktop areas (hopscotch squares)
Access: not posted (= dawn to dusk?)

Impressions: Serviceable equipment in a pleasant shady space with varied space for play and meandering. Lack of swings a definite minus, cute sculpture and possible water a plus. Little kids might enjoy the dolphins. Space could hold a lot of activity, but nobody was there on a pleasant Sunday morning; still, seems a great neighborhood resource.
Overall rating: 6