Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A wooded escape: Allen's Lane Park

Playground: Allen's Lane Park playground
Location: Allen's Lane between McCallum and Green (can enter from the street or park near the Art Center)
Date visited: 9/3/11

Equipment: Multiple pieces of equipment scattered within one longish zone (a little like a summer camp obstacle course):
  1. A small climbing net/rope wall
  2. A set of tunnel tubes elevated around 1 foot off the ground on half rubber tires
  3. Hanging bars at two heights
  4. A narrow, curved balance beam
  5. A small playset, made of wood, including a jointed bridge, treehouse, two low plastic slides, a steering wheel, a set of lowish (4 ft?) wide monkey bars, and a small climbing wall
  6. The taller playset has a tall spiral and a lower curved (plastic) slides, misc. climbing, a fireman's pole, and "shop windows" underneath
  7. A zip-line set-up
  8. 4 bucket swings, 2 plank swings, and a horizontally mounted tire swing (set by itself)
material: modern or as marked; scale: large
Ages: 1-10
Surface: wood chips around equipment; grass elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 3
Water: N
Other: picnic tables, tennis courts, basketball (far side of art center)
Access: 6AM-10PM

Impressions: A nice range of equipment in a cool and inviting wooded setting, with offerings for crawlers through tweens, and places for parents to stroll, sit, picnic, or play tennis. Cool on a hot day, with rich plantings and a summer campy feel that made us want to linger. Worth a trip.
Overall rating: 9

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Play yard for a high-rise: Wissahickon playground

Playground: Wissahickon (not Kelly, as Google thinks!)
Location: Pulaski between W. Penn and W. Queen
Date visited:9/3/11

Equipment: Two smallish zones, separately fenced:
  • Smaller kid area has (a) 3 space pods (low climbing) linked by "tunnels" (sort of bridges caged with bars), and (b) a jungle-gym made of wood and metal, including a metal chain "rope net" for climbing, a wide metal slide, fireman's pole, and a wide metal tube/pipe for climbing or sliding through.
  • Higher structures include a solid bridge, misc. climbing (including a chain "rope net"), curved set of monkey bars, and two tall straight metal slides. Also 4 strap swings in this area.
material: modern or as marked; scale: large space, med. play area
Ages: 2-10
Surface: rubbery around equipment, blacktop elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 0
Water: N
Other: picnic tables, basketball, large blacktop area (& handball?)
Access: open access (dawn to dusk?)

Impressions: Apparently public playground is in fact at the base of a large chainlink-covered apartment building, and probably serves primarily as the recreation space for the families who live there. Average assortment of equipment (although it was fun to see some different materials in the one zone), with quite a bit of blowing trash, wouldn't be a particular draw from elsewhere.
Overall rating: 6

A local Northwest favorite: Cloverly Park

Playground: Cloverly Park
Location: Wissahickon at School House Lane
Date visited: 9/3/11

Equipment: Several pieces in a quadrant of the park:
  • Swings: 4 bucket (well shaded) and 4 strap
  • A stegosaurus playset for tots, comprising 2 straight plastic slides, misc. easier climbing, and playspace/tunnels underneath
  • A larger playset has a long curved stretch of monkey bars, a zip line, two medium bumpy and one high curved slides (all plastic), a "bottomless" rail slide, and good climbing
  • A little toddler-sized table and chairs, not permanent but clearly long-time residents, were right nearby
material: modern resin/metal; scale: medium space
Ages: 1-12
Surface: woodchips around equipment; grass elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 2
Water: N
Other: picnic table, large grassy area, mature trees (some of which seem climbable by older kids)
Access: open park (dawn to dusk?)

Impressions: Small, well-kept neighborhood park with lots of soft grass and a mix of beautiful mature trees (some of which sparked our climbing urges, to no avail) and scattered flower gardens. Deceptively simple equipment is in fact well chosen, with offerings for a range of ages. A good place for a picnic and/or a leisurely afternoon...
Overall rating: 8-9