#24 Stover Park – Watson Drive

20140702_130513Stover Park was the last of three parks we visited today, the other two being Boyd Park and Hollinshead Park. We actually stumbled upon this park last fall, and ended up taking some amazing pictures of our son. Stover is a smaller, neighborhood park with street parking.

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Stover Park has a generic play structure, 2 infant swings, 2 regular swings, and a few ride-ables. Our son generally enjoys the slides at Stover Park. However, we discovered on a hot day that the metal slides are more than uncomfortable. The play structure also sits pretty close to the street. There is limited parenting seating around the perimeter of the play area. I also found the picnic table, one of only a couple, to be a little warped and uncomfortable.

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What Stover Park has going for it, at least during this time of year, is how green it is. I almost felt like I was in the Willamette Valley with how green the trees were. The trees are also thick, leaving at last half of the play area shaded. It was an extremely hot day, so we definitely appreciated this.

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There is a hedge that separates the play area from the baseball diamond. You can get to the baseball diamond via street parking on one side, and more open paths on the others. But, to enter the diamond through the hedge, you have to find this one small opening. It’s hard to get a picture of how whimsical this is. It made me smile to walk through this opening.

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There are some grassy areas in Stover Park. We feel like there is not enough seating here. Certainly if your family wants to do a picnic day, I would have a back up plan if Stover Park is full. Also bring a blanket to sit on. Plan for this park to have plenty of traffic during baseball/softball season. The park has a porta-potty and a water fountain. In general, it is a great park for a regular non-busy day. During peak hours I would maybe find another park. Use caution on extremely hot days with the metal slide, which is such a shame because the park is so shaded!

A butterfly I chased around for almost 10 minutes just to try to get a good picture.

A butterfly I chased around for almost 10 minutes just to try to get a good picture.


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

Size: 5
Condition: 4
Amenities: 4.5
Safety: 3.5
Fun: 5

Overall Score: 4.5

Stover Park is a great community park for families in the area. The green colors are amazing, as is the butterflies. There is not a lot of seating. The metal slides get very hot during warm summer days. The park sits very close to the road, which would cause helicopter parents to worry. Some of the benches in the park are bowed, making this uncomfortable and seem not in good condition. There is also a dog on the other side of the one of the fences who’s loud bark and growl could scare little ones. Stover park has street only parking.


 

#23 Hollinshead Park – Jones Road

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Hollinshead Park was on our way to Stover Park from Boyd Park. I had expect to make it a quick stop, since there is no play structure here. I had not been to Hollinshead Park for years, so I was not expecting the amazing selection of activities. I was also thrilled the plentiful parking.

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Hollinshead Park is home to an amazing community vegetable garden. You see it right as you pull into the park. The Bend Park and Rec site explains more:

“Registration for a vegetable garden plot is done in-person at Hollinshead Park on April 26th. The line forms early and is outdoors so dress for the weather. Assignment of plots begins at 9:00 am on a first-come, first-served basis. A waiting list will be taken as well. Gardening classes will be offered throughout the season. For additional information, check the Central Oregon Master Gardener Association website at http://www.goCOMGA.com, OSU Extension Service-Deschutes County website at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/deschutes/ or call 541-383-3905  or 541 977-7661.”

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The off-leash dog area is on the north side of the park. I saw many furbabies getting their tennis ball on while we dropped by. You also find a water fountain, with dog bowls, nearby. There is also a porta-potty.

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So much of this park is just open fields and orchards. It is absolutely gorgeous. I need to come back some day when I can just wander around.

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What Hollinshead Park is probably most well known for is Hollinshead Barn. This is a popular place for weddings and big events. There was an event going on so I did not want to get too close. There was also a couple kids on their iPods near this door, that I didn’t want to image. Getting some better images of the Hollineshead Barn will be on my list of things to do when I come back. You can also schedule a small group visit to the Homestead House museum. You can find more information about all of this on the Bend Park and Rec page for Hollinshead Park.

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This park’s score are going to suffer, unfortunately. This is when our park tour is like comparing apples to oranges. I do think our son would find this park somewhat boring. Without a play structure, there is just not much to do. I plan to do this park again soon, this time with a couple of friends and just walk around. Please don’t let the below scores deter you from giving Hollinshead Park a visit. The grounds are beautiful!


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: 3

Overall Score: 4

Hollinshead Park is a mecca for gardners and dog owners. Future Brides would kick themselves if they didn’t at least give Hollinshead Barn a look for a possible location. This park is missing a picnic structure and a playground. I did not see a lot of picnic tables. While the grounds are gorgeous you will need to plan accordingly if you want to use this park for a family outing. Because this park is mostly an off-leash dog park, keep that in mind if your children have issues with dogs as well


 

 

 

#22 Boyd Park – Comet Street

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We pulled Boyd Park out of the jar. It is located in a charming new development. The parking for Boyd Park is street park, which wasn’t much a problem for middle of the day on a Wednesday. When the developments around the park finish, I wonder if parking will become more difficult.

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The park is large and has two distinct play structures. One is for the younger kids and includes 2 infant swings. The other play structure is for older kids and has 2 regular swings. In between are varies structures that are unique. In general, my husband and I agree that this park is a perfect example of how a park should be laid out.

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My purse and pink water bottle in the background

We were extremely grateful for the picnic shelter at this park. The shelter is next to the play ground, and is shaded. It was over 80*, so we were happy for the shade. there does not seem to be much shade elsewhere in the park. The picnic shelter seems to have seating for 12. Both picnic tables seem to be missing benches. I went looking to the Bend Park and Rec page for Boyd Park for answers, but did not find any. I wonder if these benches are meant to have room for wheelchairs. If so, then it’s awesome. The picnic shelter is also near the porta-potty and the water fountain.

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The half court basketball court has a picnic table and regular bench near by. It is on the edge of the native landscape area.

20140702_122334There are two native landscaped areas in this park. Both have nearby doggie stations. This is NOT an off-leash dog area, but would make for a good place to take Fido for a quick walk. There is also paths that go through the park as well. I would not say anything is big enough for a nice walk, but they could turn into a loop in a pinch.

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There is plenty of large grassy area at Boyd Park as well. It is missing a decent amount of picnic tables. If you plan to picnic here with your family, especially during peak teams, plan on bringing a blanket.


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

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

Overall Score: 4.75

For all tense and purposes, Boyd Park may deserve to be a 5 star park. There is something here for everyone. The park is in excellent condition. We always have concerns when there is only street parking in a park. I also worry about any park that encourages dogs with a separate fenced area. It was a very hot day, and it seemed the dark colored slides were a little too warm. I do wish the park had more picnic tables in general. Even though our hair splitting lowered it’s rating, Boyd Park is a must see for anyone in the area.


 

 

#21 Overturf Park – 17th Street

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Our stop at Overturf Park was unplanned. It was on our way, kind of, from Lewis and Clark Park. We truly had no idea what to expect. I did notice that there was street parking, but it is slightly limited. If you are driving to Overturf Park, keep that in mind during peak park times.

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The playground itself has two structures as well as a few other features. I was surprised to see no swings of any sort. I have a certain expectation of swings in a park, especially since it is one of my son’s favorite activities. In general, we were very pleased with the playground structures.

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This park as a couple unique features. The first I noticed was it’s horseshoe pit. The stakes are covered with PVC pipe that is attached to the backboards. I’m not sure how you would go about getting the horseshoes themselves. My family has their own set for camping. There is also a picnic table with a chess/checkers board. Both of these features were a first that we have seen on the tour so far.

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This park felt like it had the most seating than any park we have been to so far. Overturf park is small, which is probably why the two benches and two picnic tables seemed more than enough. It does not have a picnic shelter. Once you look closely, you notice this park does not have many of the regular park amenities. You will not find a bathroom of any sort or a water fountain either.

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One amenity this park has is it’s off-leash area. There is a large natural landscape behind the play ground area for Fido to run free. I did not take a lot of time to walk around it. It seems to be on the side of a hill, but there are couple trails.

In general, this park is in excellent condition and very safe. I am always wary of our son around off-leash dog areas, because my son is not a big fan of dogs. The horseshoe pit is far enough away from the play structure that you shouldn’t have to worry about a child getting hit by a stray horseshoe. The play structure is far away from the road, and there is a fence covering most of the perimeter, except the off-leash area.

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There is also a lot of rock ledging, particularly between the play ground and the off-leash park area. We may be the only parents that see this as a potential safety issue, since our son likes to jump off ledges like this. The family of squirrels that live in the rock ledge do their best to make up for it.


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: 4.5
Fun: 5

Overall Score: 4

Overturf Park is a small, but good, gem in Bend’s Westside. The park is lacking some basic amenities like a bathroom, water fountain, and swings. Overturf Park has a couple features that you do not normally see, including a horseshoe pit and checker/chess table. The Off-Leash dog park looks expansive. There are couple features of this park that could worry some “helicopter parents.” In General, Overturf park is a must see. You can read the Bend Parks and Rec write up about this park, here.


 

#20 Lewis and Clark Park – Lemhi Pass Drive

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After the disappointment that was Three Pines Park, we went searching for greener pastures. Really, a patch of grass would be an improvement. Luckily Google Maps showed this grassy gem not too far away.

Already, the parking situation was much improved. There is street parking around the perimeter of the park. You also find large amount of grass areas, a play ground, and many other amenities.

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The playground has multiple structures that range all ages. Our son was entertained by most of it, and the other children who were at the park for a birthday party seemed to enjoy all of the park’s options.

The park has plenty of bench seating around the play structures. The play structure is a little closer to the street than I would like, but the streets in the neighborhood to not seem too busy or fast.

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I was very happy to see a special needs swing in this park. This is the first swing of it’s type we’ve seen on this tour so far. I wish there was more than one. There are also two regular swings and one infant swing. I am a strong proponent of having plenty of swings, especially for the busy times.

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This park does not have a large picnic shelter. It does have a plaza with two picnic tables and some benches. It was scenic and serene. On a lot this big, I would have expected a shelter. The park does have a doggie station and water fountain. You will also find a half-court basketball court next to the play structure.

You can walk the sidewalk around the park if you are in a pinch for a walk.

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My favorite surprise of this park are the two natural vegetation portions on two corners of the park. They would make a perfect spot to walk Fido. I also noticed to girls playing in the dirt. I don’t know what kid wouldn’t want to play in these patches of high desert landscape.


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: 4.5
Fun: 5

Overall Score: 4.5

There is not a overly repulsive about this park. On the contray, Lewis and Clark Park is beautiful. I am very surprised that there is no sort of bathroom on the grounds, which really brings down their amenities score. The lack of a picnic shelter also hurts the score, though the scenic picnic plaza tries to make up for it. You can walk your dog in the natural landscape areas on leash. I wish the park was a little further from the road and the parking wasn’t limited to street parking. I am very happy to see a special needs swing, though I wish the park had more swings in general. You can read the Bend Parks and Rec website about this park, here.


 

#19 Three Pines Neighborhood Park – Mt Hood Place

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We had such high hopes for this park. The Bend Park and Rec site for this park says:

“Three Pines Park is a small park in the Three Pines subdivision featuring a “railroad” theme playground structure for young children. This theme is in honor of the lumber rail lines that once ran through this area to Shevlin Park. Trail connections begin at the park for primary trails leading to Shevlin Park.”

This park sounds awesome! After reading the first half of the description I stopped. Looking back on it now, I should have finished reading it.

Park customers are encouraged to walk or bike to the park as only accessible parking is available at the park site. A picnic table and trash collection is available at the park.

When we went to the park, I was first surprised that the road we had to drive to get to the park was a “private drive.” It felt like we were trespassing. Then, we arrived at the park that was in fact NO PARKING for this park to be found. I”ll be honest, we parking in one of the handicap spots.

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The walk from the handicap parking spot to the play structure should have been a quick one. However, they built the park on top of a rock shelf, and the only way to the play structure is to go all the way around. This was my first problem with this park. My son was so focused on all the dirt and rocks that we were having to pass, that he really didn’t care about the structure itself.

Our next disappointment was the play structure itself. We were expecting a cute train looking play structure. Which, I guess one panel has a train logo. But, really, this look no more like a train than most structures.

This park has no swings, no bathrooms, no water fountains, no picnic tables, and no parking. It truly it a small neighborhood park meant to keep the local kids entertained. Though, the structure is not very imaginative and probably doesn’t even sure that purpose.

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This park is on and near a couple trails. Near this sign post is also a doggie station. I can’t speak much to these trails. I would say this park is “walking trail friendly” but since you have no place to park your car, it kind of defeats the purpose of having access to it.

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We had a few safety concerns with this park as well. It is very close to a very busy scenic byway. If you child is a runner, this should be concerning. If you child likes to jump, then they will love the rock ledge. My son is one of these kids. The rock ledge is surrounded by concrete, which is not the best surface for the nerves of a parent. There also seems to be at least one rodent and/or snake hole in this rock ledge.


 

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

Size: 1
Condition: 5
Amenities: 2
Safety: 2
Fun: 3

Overall Score: 1

The Overall Score is not an average of the score breakdown because the average would not truly reflect the severe disappointment that is Three Pines Neighborhood Park. The safety concerns make this park nerve racking for parents. The lack of amenities make it boring for everyone. The park does have two trails running “through” it, though without parking there’s nothing you can do about it here. There is nothing this park has to offer that is worth the drive pretty far from the center of town. Skip it.


 

 

#18 Wildflower Park – River Rim Drive

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Wildflower Park came as two-for-one special on our journeys today. We had pulled Foxborough Park out of the jar, and took a long way home to swing by Wildflower Park while we were out. This was partly because we left Foxborough Park early, because we weren’t feeling it. Wildflower Park is in the middle of the one of the new subdivisions off of Brookswood Ave.

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Wildflower Park has two play structures for younger and older children. There is one bench facing each structure. There are two regular swings and two infant swings. There are also a climbing wall. Our son enjoyed much of both of the structures. The smaller structure has some fencing around it, making it easier to keep track of little runners. It is does fully emcompass the play area, so helicopter parents will still need to hover.

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There is a large picnic shelter looks amazing. It only has two picnic tables underneath. The Park and Rec website says the shelter has a capacity of 18 people. I would say with those two benches, it would be more 10-12 comfortably. I also noticed there was not water fountain or bathroom facility. When we first arrived I was thinking perfect birthday park, but once we walked around I realized it doesn’t have some of the basic amenities you would need for a birthday party.

There is a doggie station.

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There is also a sign that points you in the direction of the river trail. I find this sign deceiving, because the park itself is not on the river trail. It is just close to an entrance to the famed Deschutes River Trail. The Park website says it has pedestrian connections to River Rim Park, Hollygrape Park, River canyon Natural Area, Elk Meadow Elementary School as well.

 

My husband wanted a good picture of the Dinosaur

My husband wanted a good picture of the Dinosaur

Wildflower Park is excellent at first glance. The play structures are varied and fun. There is plenty of grass to run in. The picnic shelter looks amazingly, like a cabin out in the woods. There are some pangs of disappointment when you get closer and start looking at it with a skeptical eye. Among the many small things missing from this park, I also wish there were was more seating around the play structure.

There are no safety concerns. The park is far enough from the roads. As always, the grounds are in excellent condition. There is only street parking for this park , which would make it a headache on busy days.


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

Size: 5
Condition: 5
Amenities: 3.5
Safety: 5
Fun: 5

Overall Score: 4

Wildflower Park is beautiful from far away. But when you get close you see some blemishes. There is a picnic structure, but only with two picnic tables and no bathroom or water fountain. Some of the play structure is partially fenced, though not enough to make it easier for parents. This park has pedestrian connections to other close parks and the river trail, which would make it a pit stop on a walking tour. The park itself does not have enough walking trails to be worth it.  This park is high on looks, but low on amenities.