#38 Mountain View Park – Providence Street

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Mountain View Park is on Providence Drive, on the other side of Neff Road from Providence Park. The first thing we noticed, however, was parking was not as easy to find. If you get to this park on Providence, you will end up on a dead end, which is the park’s parking lot. With only three regular parking spaces, there is not a lot of chance you will find one open during peak ours. We ended up having to drive around (hint, take a left on Byers if you don’t want to get stuck on a roundabout on your way our of Mountain View Park from the parking lot) to the other side of the park to find parking, which was street parking.

We were surprised to find the park so busy later on a Wednesday Evening. I feel like this is a sign that Mountain View Park is popular with local residences and their children. There was a group of teenagers play some rough housing game in the middle of the LARGE grass area. Fun to watch, but a reminder that some day our son will be a teenager, and then it might not be so fun to watch. In general, I think it might be possible that this park is so popular that during peak hours it is unusable.

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This park has the one of the largest grass fields we have seen. There are no trees or obstacles in the way of running around. This would make an amazing field for a pick up game of almost any sport. There is also a walking trail that goes around this field and through the park itself.

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There is also a half court basketball court with bench seating around it.

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The Bend Park and Rec website says the picnic pavilion can seat 8 people. Since there are two picnic tables, I would say you can fit 10-12 people comfortable, if you need extra space for a cake or presents. I feel like the pavilion is a long distance from the playground and the porta-potty, keeping it from being on my list of birthday party favorites.

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The play ground itself is massive, with to play structures focused on different age groups. There are also mini structures in between, including a couple silly mirrors. The play ground also sports two regular swings, two infant swings, and a special needs swing (yay!).

There is plenty of seating around the play area, though I would imagine on a busy day it may not seem that way. Though the play area is sat far away from the roads, it is right next to the parking lot, which could cause heart attacks for parents of wanders.

Mountain View Park probably suffers in my mind because it was done right after Orchard Park, which is our new favorite. There is nothing significantly wrong with this park, and the fact that it is has a special needs swing really appeals to me. I do think that on a busy day, this park feels like it could get choatic and uncomfortable (I’m not sure why I feel that way, though.)


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 5
Condition: 5
Amenities: 5
Safety: 4
Fun: 4

Overall Score: 4.5

Although Mountain View Park suffers from no major flaws, it does not feel like a relaxing oasis from the world. There is some concern with the play area being so close to the parking lot and a road, which could give some helicopter parents of wandering children some problems. This park does have a special needs swing, which is rare for Bend area parks. The varied play structure gives this park a wide appeal, as does the expansive grass areas and the walking trail.


 

#37 Orchard Park – 6th Street

#37 Orchard Park – 6th Street

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I’ll be honest, we have two park jars going. We have a jar for the parks with playgrounds, and we have a jar for the parks without playgrounds. Our son needs a playground in order to be entertained. Since the jar of playground parks is getting pretty empty, we have stopped randomly picking parks. We now look at what we have left and formulate a plan. Since today was a four park today (see Farewell Bend Park and Gardenside Park), we really tried to figure out the best parks in terms of location.

Orchard Park has been right under our nose this hole time, it is probably the closest to our apartment. Because it was never picked out of the jar, I never paid much attention to it on our list. When I was looking at our big park map on our wall today, I realized how close it was. I also realized we could get Orchard Park and Mountain View Park in the same swing. (We should have done Mountain View Park while we were at Providence Park, but I didn’t even think about it.)

Orchard Park is street parking only, which is always a slight concern for me. I always feel better getting my son in and out of the car in an parking lot, and not having to worry about traffic. We ended up parking on the street that was farthest from the play structure, but street on the other side is closer. The neighborhood looks like it has been around awhile. When we finally laid eyes on Orchard Park we were surprised by what we saw. A large property with lots of rolling green grass, an almost brand new looking play structure, and a HUGE field for sports.

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The Bend Parks and Rec website is dead on in their description of Orchard Park’s features. This park features a half court basketball court, a “small” soccer field, a network of walking trails, and plenty of grass. The website says there is a play “garden” for all children, though I’m not even sure what that means.

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This park has all the space you need for a neighborhood game of basketball/soccer/baseball/football.

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Orchard Park also sports a cute two table picnic pavilion that could support 10-15 people. My husband and I both think it would make the best small birthday party park. It is a little concerning how access to the play area from the pavilion is set up. I wish there was a more direct route from the pavilion to the play area. If you go to the park, you will know what I mean. (At least if you are a helicopter parent like I am.)

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There is one play structure with multiple slides at different lengths and speeds. There are multiple, unique, ways of getting on to the structure. Orchard Park sports 2 infant swings and 4 (!) regular swings. There is one rideable, and climbable fake boulders. We also have begun to enjoy the spongy plastic cement ground covering over bark chips.

Our son seemed to enjoy this play structure more than we have seen other play structures. I am beginning to wonder if it is because it was less “cluttered” than some others. He seemed to spend time with every element.

We also say plenty of seating around the play structure, between the metal benches scattered around the edges and the picnic tables and benches. My husband did notice the picnic tables were scratched up slightly, but it should disrupt anything.

In general, Orchard Park was our favorite experience so far. I am interested to see what this park is like during peak hours (we were there on a wednesday evening.) If it still not very busy, and the people are friendly, Orchard Park may become our go to park!


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 5
Condition: 4
Amenities: 5
Safety: 4
Fun: 5

Overall Score: 4.75

Everything in our souls, expect our desire to be fair, want to give this park 5’s across the board. Orchard Park has everything you could want, including walking trails, sports fields, and fun play ground structures. There is some concern about how the fencing and different “levels” are laid out around the play area, making it difficult to chase your child if they were to run in some directions out of the play area. Some of the picnic tables and benches are in disrepair. The walk trails will work great if in a pinch, and need to take the kids to the park and walk yourself and fido at the same time.


 

 

 

 

#36 Gardenside Park – Darla Place

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Gardenside Park is an unknown gem on the east side of bend. Nestled in the center of a tight-knit subidivision, Gardenside park is beautiful park. There is street parking, that seems rather limited. Gardenside Park is definitely meant as an area for the local residents.

We have been to this park twice now, and both times we have gotten a feeling that we are intruders. The residents in this area are not used to visitors to their neighborhood park, even though it is a public park ran by the Bend Parks and Rec district. I also find some of the residences are not very tolerant of children with special needs, especially needs that come with neurodiverse behavior. Although it is not the park’s fault, I do not think I will bring my family back to this park, because we felt so unwelcome.

The front of some houses come right out onto the park area. If you child is very curious, or tends to wander, you may want to make sure they aren’t tempted to play with the toys in someone’s yard.

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The play structure is large, with plenty of shade in the middle for a warm summer day. Even though there is one play structure, it seems to be split into activities that appeal to different age ranges. There are two regular swings and two infant swings. There are also a couple ride-ables. The dark green paint on the slides and the ride-ables did make them very warm on a summer day. I would not suggest this park in the middle of warm summer days.

There is decent seating around the play area, which is nice for resting while your children play.

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Gardenside Park has a large picnic structure, which would seat 20-25 people comfortably. Because of the, tight-knit nature of the neighborhood, I don’t know if I would recommending using this park structure without first reserving the space through the Bend Parks and Rec Office.

The park also has plenty of grassy area, especially for a smaller property.


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 3
Condition: 5
Amenities: 4
Safety: 4
Fun: 3

Overall Score: 2

This park’s overall score is not a direction reflection of it’s individual scores. Gardenside Park is a beautiful park in the middle of a serene subdivision. The play structure is unique. The park in general provides the local children plenty of fun. The residents of the subdivision seem to be protective of this park, and not very welcoming to “visitors.” Although this park is a public area maintained by the Bend Park and Rec Department, I would treat it like the private park of a private community. If you have a child with special needs, I would also avoid this park unless you are a resident of the surrounding subdivision.


 

 

#35 Farewell Bend Park – Reed Market

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We pulled Farewell Bend Park from the jar weeks ago. Every time we went to enjoy this newer park, there were no parking spaces. Truth be told, Farewell Bend Park is extremely popular, both for it’s play area and for it’s other activities. We had hoped that enjoying Farewell Bend Park on a Wednesday morning would provide us with ample parking spaces and a less populated play structure. Although there were some open parking spaces, Farewell Bend Park was as busy it not more than other parks in town during peak hours.

There are parking lots on one side of Reed Market. If you are coming to the park from Century Drive, you will have to go all the way around and use the roundabouts to get to the parking areas. If you don’t mind parking farther away from the play structure, you can find more parking in the Old Mill District and walk to the park.

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Farewell Bend Park is more than just a playground. There is a boardwalk (?) that extends out into the middle of the river, with benches. This would make a wonderfully romantic spot. Also, on the far side of the park is a riverside beach. I believe many people launch from this beach for their floats through downtown Bend. The Deschutes River Trail runs the length of the park and connects the park to the Old Mill District to the northeast, to Riverbend Park across the river and to the new South Canyon Trail Bridge to the south.

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The large picnic structure can seat 20-30, and is right next to the play ground. There are also smaller shelters, with one picnic table each, around the park. There are also picnic tables scattered throughout the park.

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The play structure is very unique, with multiple slides and a well shaded interior. We were surprised to see dark green paint on the slides, making them overly warm on a summer day. I was also sad to see no swings of any time at the park either.

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Farewell Bend park does have a unique experience, with a large section of large climbable boulders. Some of these fake boulders are very tall, causing concern for some parents of smaller children. I would not suggest letting younger kids play on these without supervision. If you are a helicopter parent like me, then you will probably be tempted to stay within arms reach.

Near the play area is a bathroom facility, with actual bathrooms, which is an improvement to the porta-potties we see at the smaller parks.

I am also surprised that the Bend Parks and Rec website has such a small description of Farewell Bend Park. They do mention that the Kiwanis helped build this park, which may expend why it seems so unique compared to other parks in the city.

Farewell Bend is a large park, in the heart of bend and near many of our visitor’s favorite activities. It makes for a great place to enjoy the Deschutes River Trail, float the river, or grab a bite to eat at some or best restaurants. As a local, looking for a calm park to take our son to on a weekend afternoon, Farewell Bend will not make for an easy afternoon.


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 5
Condition: 5
Amenities: 4
Safety: 5
Fun: 4.5

Overall Score: 4.75

Farewell Bend Park is not just a playground, but when judged for it’s facilities in this arena it falls a little flat. Farewell Bend Park is busy, constantly, and will rarely give you parking spot close enough to the park to give you an easy trip from the car. The playground does not have any swings. What Farewell Bend Park lacks it makes up for it with unique and interesting features, and a wide range of activities beyond the playground.


 

#34 Woodriver Park – Woodriver Drive

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We pulled Woodriver Park from our jar. It’s a park I have known about from growing up, especially since it was one of the few parks in that area before the Old Mill District was developed. It is in the middle of Woodriver Village. I was happy to see some very beautiful houses going up in the old neighborhood.

There parking is pretty sparse, and somewhat hard to spot across the street from the park itself.

I am disappointing to see that Woodriver Park does not have a sign like the rest of the Bend Parks, since it is listed on the Bend Parks and Rec Website.

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The park has a half court basketball court, which also seems to be lined for another game as well. The park does not have a picnic structure, and seems to only have one picnic bench/table. There is quite a bit of grass space.

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I would not say this park has a play structure. There are 4 regular swings, 2 infant swings, one ride-able and a slide. The slide is actually pretty tall. Our son enjoyed the slide and the swings, but there wasn’t enough to really entertain him for long period of time.

For a neighborhood park, Woodriver Village is a great option for kids in the neighborhood. With Farewell Bend Park and Blakely Park within walking distance, there are much better options, especially for younger kids. I wouldn’t recommend Woodriver Park for a trip of it’s own.


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 3
Condition: 4
Amenities: 3
Safety: 5
Fun: 3

Overall Score: 3.5

Woodriver Park is missing amenitites, including a varied play ground. In general, Woodriver Village pales in comparison to the newer parks in walking distance. I would not recommend this park for anyone looking for an adventure, especially with Farewell Bend and Blakely parks nearby. However, as a park for the Woodriver Village neighborhood, it does it’s job.


 

#33 Providence Park – Providence Drive

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We have been waiting to do this park until the jar gave it to us. We have some friends who live in the neighborhood, and wanted to come down and park with us when the time came. To be honest, I lost patience with the jar. With only 9 parks left (with play grounds) I was starting to wonder if we were ever going to pull Providence Park. Because it is on the way back from Big Sky Park, we decided to hit it on the way back.

Providence Park is in the middle of a beautiful, family friendly, subdivision on the east side of Bend. There is some off street parking, which generally isn’t full since most families walk from their homes. I could see those 4 or 5 spaces filling up on a busy day.

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This park contains a half-court basketball court, two doggie stations and a billboard for community activities.

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The play ground is surrounded by open grass. There is a walking/jogging trail around the perimeter of the park. This would make a great walking option for parents who need to bring their kids with me. I feel like you are close enough to the park, and can keep the park in your eye line for most of the trial. I also noticed a couple people walking their dogs on this trail as well.

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The playground itself is varied. There are 2 regular swings and 2 infant swings. There is one big play structure with multiple slides. There is also an old school “jungle gym” that was nice to see for nostalgia sake. There were able features that I do not quite understand, but I’m sure kids like them.

There are three picnic tables and a few benches around the edge of the park. I feel like the park could use some more around the entire perimeter of the play ground.

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It is probably not worth mentioning, but it is not very often a Bend Park has a problem with it’s “condition.” One of the megaphones is missing, making the other one almost obsolete. Then again, I’m sure kids use it anyway. The Bend Parks and Rec department is usually really good at this keeping the parks in good repair.

We got some amazing pictures of our son at this park. I have not big concerns about safety here, especially since the park is pretty far from the road. There is an ice cream trucks that drives around, so I suppose that could be a turn of for parents looking to avoid sweets. Also, there did seem to be a few bees around one of the trash cans, and flying around the picnic benches. If you, or your child, are allergic to bee stings I’d bring your epipen just in case.


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 4
Condition: 4.75
Amenities: 4.5
Safety: 5
Fun: 5

Overall Score: 4.5

Providence Park is a lovely play area in the middle of a family friendly neighborhood. Lacking in a large group picnic structures, there are tabled scattered around the property. The play area is varied and fun for all ages. There is a walking path if you are in a pinch. Providence Park would make a great place, especially if you are looking for something fun on the east side of Bend.


 

#32 Big Sky Park/Luke Damon Sports Complex – Neff Road

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Big Sky Park – Luke Damon Youth Sports Complex is a HUGE Property on the east side of Bend. It is on Neff road, and easy to find if you don’t mind driving past what feels like the edge of town.

This park has enough fields to support a multitude of sporting activities, including BMX. For the sake of staying on topic, I will send you to the Bend Parks and Rec website for information on this. I will be sticking to the play ground portion of this park for this blog.

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Although there is a lot of parking around this park, I felt like there were not a lot of parking spaces close to the actual park area.

This play ground features two regular swings, two infant swings, and to separate play structures for different age groups.

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We enjoy when a park has climbing walls attached to their play structures. The structure for younger kids had a climbing wall at a very low incline, which is great for your little climbers. In general we really enjoyed all the activities available at this park.

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Next to the play area is a picnic structure (and another on the other side of the park) that could hold 20-30 people. This would make a great birthday picnic area, though I worry about it being busy especially since it is such a commonly used sports field during the varies seasons.

I am also a little concerned about the lack of bathroom facilities near the play area. Not even a porta-potty. It is an awfully long walk for a child just potty training, and too far to leave one child playing while you take the other one. This park could be greatly improved by a bathroom near this play ground.

There are also no individual picnic tables or benches around the play area. I also did not see any individual picnic tables anywhere in the massive park. Although I recognize this property is not for picnicking, it would be nice to have some around the play area.

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The play ground is elevated, and the edge is close to the play structures. As a helicopter parent, I was having concerns about my son falling down the “cliff” and tumbling into the road. Most people probably drive pretty slow through the park, but it still concerns me. This would be another perfect reason to have benches, especially between the play structure and this edge.

According to the Park and Rec site, there is also an off-leash dog area, though we did not see it.

We greatly enjoyed the structures and fun in the play ground area. I would not suggest driving out to this park alone, but if you are driving through the area and need a quick stop, then I would totally recommend it.


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 5
Condition: 5
Amenities: 3 
Safety: 4
Fun: 5

Overall Score: 4.0

The Big Sky Park/Luke Damon Sports Complex is a sprawling mecca for all sports in Central Oregon. The park seems to have every amenity you could ask for. For a day at the park with family, and no a day watching the games, this park is severely lacking in some areas. I do not recommend this playground if you are working on potty training, as there are not bathroom facilities close by. This is not a park to make the long drive out to find, but if you are in the area then it is worth the pit stop for some fun.