Sunday, March 3, 2013

A woodsy wonderland in Chestnut Hill -- Jenks Playground

Playground: The Children's Park in Chestnut Hill at John Story Jenks Elementary School
Location: Germantown Ave. at E. Southampton
Date visited: 3/2/13

Equipment: Two large zones, separated by a walkway:
  1. Smaller kid zone (to right of entrance) includes several large structures encompassing a balance beam, wide plastic slide, large horizontal tire swing/climber (semi-tethered), med-height monkey bars and stretch of rings, a large sandbox (including a number of toys) a climbing fort with a slide and crawl tunnels underneath, a sand table, a large "trolley" to drive, some tic-tac-toe-like games, a set of chimes, and nearby swings (2 bucket and one chair-style). Substantial sections of the play space are designed to be wheelchair-friendly.

  2. Larger kid zone also has multiple structures, with a higher average height and complexity than the other zone (lots of steps, towers and platforms, benches). Specific elements include two tube slides (one spiral, one gently curved, both plastic), solid bridges, wander "hallways" under stairways, some challenge climbing (wobbly chain step ladder, rope net web, etc.), a chain bridge to walk along, a rappelling wall, a rubbery mat bridge, high monkey bars and a stretch of rings, a suspended balance beam, and a tall hanging bar.
material: wood beams, resinous "wood-like" planks; scale of space: large
Ages: 0-14
Surface: wood chips, mostly
Shade(0-3): 2
Water: N
Other: picnic tables, large paved play yard, basketball hoops
Access: open to the public outside of school hours = 3-9pm on school days and 8am-9pm on other days

Impressions: Built in 1997, this community playground on the grounds of an elementary school is a real winner. Unusual woodsy feel in the middle of Chestnut Hill -- wood chips and chunky wooden equipment give the feel of a rural wonderland to explore, and the variety (and age range) of equipment nearly defied cataloging. Truly great for crawlers to teens, weelchair-friendly, and even -- ahem -- quite fun for middle-aged parents. Worth a trip (and easy to combine with some shopping, especially at the nearby indoor Farmers' Market).
Overall rating: 10

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