Thursday, March 15, 2012

Some fun innovations: Veteran's playground

Playground: Veteran's Playground
Location: Cumberland between 8th and 9th (both of which go the opposite of their downtown directions!); parking lot on 9th
Date visited: 3/10/12

Equipment: Several pieces scattered around the play area:
  • Swings = 4 bucket and 4 strap
  • A set of "stepping stone" stools
  • A round vertical gong-shaped climber with rubbery ropes
  • A lower playset with "milk crate" steps and other climbing (including "barrel stave" style), a solid bridge, 2 straight metal slides (around 3ft high), and one of those pipe "intercoms" that actually works!
  • Higher playset has a neat "submarine lookout" rubbery net ladder, one solid and one jointed bridge, 2 straight metal slides (around 4 and 4 ft high), a fireman's pole, and a curved stretch of monkey bars
material: modern; scale of space: medium
Ages: 1-11
Surface: rubbery around equipment; blacktop elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 1
Water: N
Other: basketball, indoor swimming pool, picnic tables (each broken to some degree), painted blacktop games, big rec. center (including a preschool on the far side)
Access: not posted (dawn to dusk? 6am - 10pm?)

Impressions: Cute and creative playground in the midst of a larger sprawling rec. center complex (and across from a school). A couple of things we haven't seen before, but could use a little upkeep of picnic tables and loose trash.
Overall rating: 8

In need of upkeep? Eagles Youth Village playground

Playground: Eagled Youth Village Park
Location: 10th between Arizona and Dakota
Date visited: 3/10/12

Equipment: Two playsets fairly close together in a corner park:
  1. Higher playset has climbing, 2 tall straight plastic slides, *lots* of monkey bar variants, and a fireman's pole
  2. Smaller is a gazebo with miscellaneous climbing, a chain "rope net," and a straight plastic slide (that ends high off the ground)
material: weathered "modern"; scale of space: small
Ages: 3-10
Surface: rubber tire "wood chips" and grass elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 0
Water: N
Other: grassy areas, colorful mosaic sculptural elements
Access: open lot

Impressions: Nice use of an empty lot to provide play equipment and grass for neighborhood kids, but equipment very weathered and abused, and slides end too high off the ground for smaller toddlers. Some cheery blue benches or tables had been broken to bits and splintered boards left lying around, and the wood chip depth seemed insufficient either to cover the canvas underneath or to make the heights of the equipment appropriate. Lack of swings another drawback.
Overall rating: 5

Liberty Lands: multifaceted Northern Liberties park

Playground: Liberty Lands
Location: 3rd St, between Poplar and Wildey
Date visited: Feb. 26, 2012
  • Larger playset has lots of climbing, jointed bridge, low straight slide, tall (8 ft?) spiral slide, monkey bars, chain rope net
  • Smaller playset has wide straight slide, chimes, shop window
  • Truck playset
  • Old-fashioned metal dome jungle gym
  • Small children's garden
  • 2 bucket and 2 strap swings
Ages: 1.5-11
Surface: wood chips
Shade(0-3): 1-2
Water: N
Other: grassy areas with windy brick paths, dog run, picnic tables, cement area with game zones painted, community garden
Access: Open (so presumably dawn to dusk)

Impressions: Cute grassy park looks like a beloved neighborhood resource with inviting picnic and run-around spaces. Nice mix of equipment for a range of ages would make for a pleasant family outing. Also a nice historical mural with 3D elements.
Overall rating: 8

Penn Treaty Park -- a unique riverside locale

Playground: Penn Treaty Park
Location: Beach St., just off Delaware Ave. at Marlborough (has its own parking lot)
Date visited: Feb. 26, 2012
  • 1 playset loosely modeled on a train engine, with slanted "cow-catcher" ladders, a crawl-through tunnel, 1 wide straight slide that ends too far off the ground, 1 curved slide
  • 4 strap swings, 4 bucket swings
  • narrow curved balance beam
Ages: 1-6
Surface: wood chips and dirt
Shade(0-3): 3
Water: N
Other: riverside park, paved trails, grass, picnic tables, views of city, river (and, ahem, gigantic abandoned Peco plant)
Access: No gates or fences, presumably officially closed after dark

Impressions: A nice area for a visit -- views of the river, Ben Franklin Bridge, and city skyline add to the grassy city park. Play area is limited and graffitied but otherwise in good shape and surrounded by mature tress that promise a respite in hot weather. Uniqueness of the setting should make up for the mild limitation in the equipment, at least if your kid is up for some inventive outdoor play.
Overall rating: 6 (as a playground, higher as a setting)

New and creative: 12th and Cambria Playground

Playground: 12 & Cambria Playground
Location: 12 Street between Cambria and Indiana
Date visited: 3/10/12

Equipment: Several pieces in a medium space:
  • Small playset has good types of climbing, a solid bridge, 2 straight metal slides, and a bench underneath
  • Larger playset has miscellaneous climbing, a stretch of modern spinning monkey bar rings, tall metal slides (1 straight and 1 spiral), toddler bits underneath (bench, shop window, crawl-through hoop), and a section of funky pyramidal rope climbing net
  • A row of raised "stepping stone" platforms
  • Swings = 4 strap + 4 bucket
material: modern resin & metal (except rope tangle)

Ages: 1-12
Surface: rubbery around equipment; cement elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 1
Water: N
Other: pool, basketball, baseball field, chess tables, rec. center
Access: fenced, but no signs

Impressions: Colorful and varied equipment looks brand new and very inviting, and offers fun for a range of ages. Worth a visit, especially for anybody with enthusiastic climbers, since the rope tangle can offer novel challenges to various skill levels. Will be nice when the new trees are large enough to offer more shade... Some blowing trash.
Overall rating: 8-9