#31 Jaycee Park – Railroad St

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Jaycee Park was picked for convenience, and not from the jar. We had grocery shopping to get done, and wanted to do a park somewhat on our way. Jaycee Park is on Railroad Street, which is really just an extension of Centennial Blvd. If that street name makes you scrunch your face, you are in the same group as many locals. Much like Kiwanis Park, I was pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful friendly park in the middle of what some people consider Bend’s “rougher” neighborhood. It is street parking here, but I get a suspicion that the street is not used often. It began to rain as soon as our son got on the play structure, so we did not get to play long.

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The play structure is relatively genaric with two slides. The design reminds me of the structure and Three Pines Neighborhood Park, but much better. We did not get a change to thoroughly quality test the play structure, but our son seemed to enjoy it. The play ground also has two regular swings. For a neighborhood park, I guess that is okay. There seems to be some seating around the play area, but I wish there was benches placed between the play structure and the road. The play structure sits close enough to road I would suggest keeping a close eye on any bolters.


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Jaycee Park has a very small half-court basketball court. I was also surprised to see the hoop in disrepair. My husband says it doesn’t matter. I guess it was just surprising to find anything in disrepair in a bend park.

There also seems to be a path that leads out of the park. I’m not sure where it goes, and the Bend Park and Rec website does not mention it.

I was slightly bothered there is no real definite boundary between the park and one of the houses. The grass of the park goes right to the home’s driveway. I’m not sure why this bothers me so much, but it really bothers me.


 

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: 3.5
Fun: 4

Overall Score: 3.5

Jaycee Park is a perfect adequate neighborhood park. There are very few park benches and picnic tables. This would not be a park to picnic at. The play structure is great. The strange path that seems to lead to oblivion is worrisome, along with the lack of boundary between the park and one of the houses. There is nothing in this park that would draw us back after this tour is over. There is nothing about this park that would stop us from coming if it were within a short walking distance.


 

 

#31 Al Moody Park – Dagget Lane

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Al Moody was a jar pick. We didn’t decide to go “parking” until 7:30pm. I have been forgetting lately that it is getting dark earlier again. We did not get as many adorable pictures of our son as normal, since we didn’t have a lot of daylight.

Al Moody is on Dagget lane, and is relatively easy to find. Most people don’t know about this park unless they live in the area or have children who go to Endsworth Elementary which is across the street. The parking is street parking, and cars tend to spend around that corner.

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I apologize for the blurry picture. Our phones were having a tough time in the light. We may have tried this park another time, but we actually use Al Moody as our go-to park most of the time so we are already well acquainted with it.

The main play structure  has two slides and plenty of ways to play. There’s some parts of this structure that make me very nervous, but our son is a touch young for the structure. The structure itself is great. The structure is connected to an upper part of the park, so if your child has a tendency to wander keep your eyes out. Our son has bolted from the platform before and gotten out of sight.

The playground as two regular swings and no infant swings. I am always nervous about parks that don’t have more swings. We have had to wait our turn in the middle of the day for swing time before.

The play ground also has a see-saw ride-able. I guess I’ve seen kids have fun with it, but I am skeptical. It feels to tight to me. I guess the days of see-saws with a lot of lift are gone.

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The main attraction to Al Moody park is it’s “little ones” play area. This jewel of a train is perfect for little park goers to use unassisted. I am alittle surprised at the things written on the inside of the train care, but it is a park. Little kids love this train, and I have always heard parents rave about it.

I wish there was more than just one park bench near the small train, and in general around the park. There are two park benches on the other side of the park near the larger main structure.

There is a half-court basketball court that I almost always see someone using. The wood fiber fitness trail has been my walking path more than once while my husband and son play in the park. There is a natural trail that seems to take off from the right side of the fitness trail at one point. I followed it, it seems to just go into adjacent neighborhood. In the middle of the fitness trail is a large grassy area that would be perfect for games of flag football, kite flying, or anything that you would want a lot of space for.

There also seems to be a small bike circuit, but I can’t tell if that was on purpose or created by the local bike riders. I see kids using it on occasion, but I cannot really speak to it’s safety.

I have heard that you can sled in the park in the winter. I look forward to checking that out this winter and seeing what that is like.

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There is a picnic shelter, that could house approximately 24-36 I believe. I admit, I didn’t count the amount of picnic tables underneath the shelter. I am surprised to not see a number on the Park and Rec website. The shelter seems a little far from the porta-potty, but I may just be picky.

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There are some picnic tables in the vicinity of the shelter as well.

I did not know that next to the picnic shelter is this picturesque orchard looking area with many shady trees. I feel like it would be the perfect place for a blanket picnic and cuddling on a Sunday afternoon.

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The Bend Parks and Rec website says that Ensworth Elementary is working on an “Art Discovery Trail.” The only thing I found in the park for this was this rather dilapidated sign. I’m not sure what happened here, but it is a stark and sad sight amid the beauty of this park.

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The garden in the park is absolutely gorgeous! I will save you all the pictures I took of individual blooms. I believe this is the butterfly garden mentioned on the website, which is provided by the “Roots and Shoots” organization.

The website also mentions a “tree house” play garden. I have no idea where that is, what it’s about.

In general, this park is in amazing condition as usual. It is very big with plenty of room to run and play.


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

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

Overall Score: 4.95

This park comes so close to a perfect 5. The street parking is always a concern, especially when people speed through the neighborhood. The play area is far enough away from the road that it should not be a problem once you get unloaded. The play area is varied and caters to all ages. There is a basketball court and unofficial bike track. The fitness track is not label for length, but makes a good flat surface for those not wanting a trail experience. There seems to be some signage that has not been properly cared for and some features missing that are listed on the website. This park as all the regular amentities. There are not a lot of picnic tables spread apart from each other, so prepare to sit close or bring a blanket.


 

 

#30 Columbia Park – Columbia Street

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I grew up at Columbia Park as a kid. My Grandmother’s house was across the pedestrian bridge, on the river. You can see her old back yard from the bridge. When we arrived as I very excited to see the SS Columbia and other changes that have been made. I was also saddened by some things that are gone that made my childhood amazing.

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Columbia Park is dominated by the SS Columbia, a pirate ship play ground structure. The ship comes with three different slides, multiple ways to get in and our, and a “plank”. It seems like every kid enjoys this pirate ship, and has been the first thing I’ve been asked about since I started this tour. Every one wants to know if I’ve been to see the pirate ship yet. I will say, this is my favorite play structure by far!

The play ground also had one regular swing and one infant swing. Normally this would bother me, but I have a feeling no one come to the park to swing.

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This park also boats are large slide. This seems to be a huge hit with older kids. I would suggest staying close by. This slide also seems to be a flash point for kid fights. The slide is so long, some kids don’t realize that there are little kids at the bottom and they kinda get ran over.

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Although the Bend Park and Rec Website does not mention river access, there does seem to be this small but well manicured “ramp” into the river. I would not think this would be a popular place to come in our out of the river. This area is not fenced. The majority of the river bank of this park is not fenced, except a rail fence which really wouldn’t keep any kid away. There is also a park of this fence that is supposed to be a chain link fence, but it has fell down. If you child is overly attracted to water, or wanders, I would keep a very close eye on them, especially on the lower level of the park.

There was also a gardner snack near the pedestrian bridge. This could either make the park cooler or scarier, depending on your opinions of snakes. Because of it’s proximity to the river, I’m sure this park gets plenty of wildlife from the Deschutes.

20140803_123708Back on the upper level, there is a grassy knoll that has a horeshoe pit and more seating. The park as a lot of grassy area in general, and would make a great place for a game of flag football.

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There is a small covered picnic shelter that could support 15+ people comfortably. I would imagine it is a mecca for birthday weekends and probably always has a birthday party going on.

The rest of the park has adequate seating, though we did not use much of it. This park as a lot of reason to stay on your feet and near your child. It could make for a nice picnic park.

In general, I’m not surprised they blocked the path to the big rocks by the river. You can still see it by the pedestrian bridge. I spent a lot of my childhood on top of the rocks, trying to figure out my troubles. I almost went splunking up there, but I decided I should was until there are less impressionable mimics around. It could be dangerous up there for those who aren’t sure footed.

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The Pedestrian Bridge is not part of the park, but it would be a good reminder to not let your children jump off it. They will see a few adults do it if you go on a hot day, so it will be rather tempting. The Deschutes River is not as deep as many adults like to think it is. Growing up next to the bridge, I saw many people hit their heads, break their backs, so on and so on. There is a secret to jumping off this bridge, but I won’t share it. It’s a “locals only” thing that I really can’t share. The moral of the story, is don’t jump off the bridge.


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

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

Overall Score: 4

Columbia Park makes a great effort to be a 5 star park. It has plenty of grassy area. It does have the regular amenities, including porta-potties. The SS Columbia is, at this point in the tour, our favorite playground structure. The large slide is also a favorite. Do be very careful near the river, since the fencing is not in good shape and there is river access, despite what the Bend Park and Rec website says. There is somewhat adequate seating. The 15+ person picnic shelter would be a good place for a small birthday party. This is not a park I recommend letting your kids run free, unless they are definitely old enough to make good decisions about water.


 

 

#29 Juniper Park – 6th Street

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Juniper Park has been a mainstay for generations of Bendites. This park is mostly known for being the grassy area around the Juniper Swim and Fitness Center, also managed by the Bend Parks and Recreation District. The park has changed a bit since I was a kid. There is no longer a roller skating rink. The Horseshoe pit is totally different.

There are two parking areas for this park. This big, main, parking lot is off 6th street just up from the roundabout. There are generous amounts of spaces. Be prepared to share this parking area with people going to Juniper Swim & Fitness, since the new fitness entrance is not too far from the parking lot. There is another parking lot up a couple blocks on 6th street. If you don’t know it’s there, you would think it was a drive way. I may be giving away a local’s secret. This parking lot has about 7-10 spaces, and is right next to the play ground. This is a life saver if you are interested in enjoying the play area, and not the rest of the vast grounds.

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The play structure for Juniper is both average and awesome. It has metal slides, which I am not a huge fan of on REALLY hot, sunny days. The rest of the main structure is pretty normal. There are two swings, and two regular swings. There is also a tight rope walking area, and some features you don’t see everywhere. There are also a few rideables.

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Juniper Park features a 4 court tennis court, which is first come first serve. There is also a horseshoe pit and baseball field.

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There is a walking trail that winds through the entire 22 acre park. I cannot find anything that says how long the walk trail is, even in the Bend Park and Rec website other than a sign that said 1/2 mile. Somehow I think the path is a little longer than that. Never the less, this walking trail is a perfect combination of in town access and wilderness. I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants a stroll in town.

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There is an uncovered picnic area that could see probably 40+ people comfortably. I would be worried about weather with no shelter, but this park can be reserved if you wanted. I have been to multiple company picnics and family reunions here.

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The majority of this park is in the back, and rarely seen. It is lush grassy area covered with Conifer trees. As I was walking around I had a hard time remembering that I was in the middle of Bend. It was absolutely breathtaking. I hope some day to just bring a blanket, and maybe a book, and just hang out underneath these beautiful trees.

I found this park to be pretty safe. The Play area is kinda close to that second parking lot, which could cause some scare if your child likes to bolt. Luckily, it is not near any sort of busy street. I do wish the play area had a little more seating around it, but there is probably plenty for as many people who go. I would keep you child close by, as there is ALOT of space and plenty of hiding spaces, and the park is surrounded by busy roads.

There is an Easter Egg Hunt that goes on here every year, put on by the Bend Elk’s Lodge. My family started this Easter Egg Hunt years ago. and it has become one of the biggest hunts in the city. I would recommend bringing you children, keep an eye on the local paper for more information.


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: 4.5

Juniper Park is 22 acres of everything you could want in a park. The play area is adequate, though the metal slides and proximity to the parking lot could cause some scares. There are a few benches and picnic tables scattered throughout the park, though not as much as you would like to see. The un-sheltered picnic area would make a good large crowd gathering, as long as the weather held. The crown jewel of this park is the back area that is all grass and large trees. Bring a blanket and your sense of wonder.


 

 

#28 Sylvan Park – Three Sisters Drive

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Sylvan was our last stop on a three park tour today. We were surprised to find an off-street parking lot for this park, but with only a few non-handicap parking spots they were full. The Street parking is plentiful. We decided not to let our son out of the car because the park was packed and the play area was being used for soccer practice.

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The play area was very unimpressive in general. As we were driving through the affluent area, we were expecting to find a beautiful and well stocked park. Instead we found one small play structure with a metal slide (can we say ouch in the summer). There is one regular swing and one infant swing. There is not  a lot of seating around the play area.

The park does have a first-come first-serve tennis court, spacious grass area, and some natural landscaping. I do not remember if I saw bathrooms, water fountains, or a doggie station. I’m assuming there is a doggie station somewhere, because this park is on the other end of the walking trail that also starts/ends at Summit Park.

I’ll admit we did not give this park a lot of time, but I would skip it in general.


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: 4
Fun: 3

Overall Score: 3.5

Summit Park may be adequate as a local park, but it is not worth the drive to find it. The play structure is lacking in imagination and general depth. The metal slide would make any helicopter parents worry on a hot day. Although there is a tennis court, which is not common for parks in the area, Slyvan park seems to be missing some of the most basic necessities like a bathroom and water fountain. Do not come here to picnic unless you want to sit on a blanket, there was very little seating. There is only one regular swing and one infant swing, which could cause issues on busy days. In general, skip this park.


 

#27 Quail Park – Regency St

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We hit Quail Park after we did the Skyline Sports Complex, mostly because we were so bored by the complex’s play structures. Our son got bored after 10 minutes, and we were kinda of tired of standing around. Quail Park is on Regency Street, and right off of Mount Washington Drive.

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Right away we were relieved to find a well stocked play area unofficially split into areas for younger and older children. There are two play structures, each geared to a different age range. There are two regular swings and two infant swings. The play area is close to the road with a fence, but it is also at the end of the street so no through traffic. There is more than enough seating near the play area as well. We saw a water fountain, bathroom and doggie station.

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Quail Park also has a neat little trail system around it’s edges that seem to connect to the connected communities. In the middle of the more natural area there is the pictured structure. I’m not sure if it was created by neighbor kids or what, but it is definitely interesting. This is NOT an off-leash dog area, but it would make a great on-leash quick dog walk. Although the path is not long enough to be a walking trail on it’s own, it would work in laps in a pinch.

The park also has a small picnic pavilion that fits two picnic tables underneath, for probably 16 peoples (tops!)


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

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

Overall Score: 4.5

Quail Park gets almost perfect scores. The park could stand to be a little larger and have more individual seating. The picnic pavilion is small, and would be hard for two seperate families to share if needed. If you want to picnic I would plan to be in the sun, and possible bring a blanket on a busy day. The walking trail around the park would make for a quick on-leash dog walk or a walking trail if lapped multiple times. The play area is well maintained and fun.


 

#26 Skyline Sports Complex – Mountaineer Way

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When the Skyline Sports Complex was pulled out of the jar I got a feeling of nostalgia. I went to middle school at Cascade Junior High, which right next to the sports complex. We would spend PE periods in the park running around, playing softball. I also vaguely remember playing soccer on the fields in the 2nd grade. Skyline Sports Complex is located on Mountaineer Way, very close to the intersection of Mount Washington Drive and Century Drive.

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The Skyline Sports Complex is a mecca for Park and Rec leagues, with four lighted fields. The park is mainly set up for this purpose. There is almost a picnic shelter that holds approximately 32 people. There are a few porta-potties, and an actual bathroom facility on the grounds. There are also a few water fountains.

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The small play ground is located behinds the north ball field. It has four regular swings, two ride-ables, and a weird circular toy. Our four year old enjoyed the circular toy for a while. There are also large rocks next to the play area just begging to be climbed on. The park is situation on the opposite side of the complex away from the parking lot. In general, I would not make an exclusive trip just to play in this play area. It’s rather boring and unimaginative. I actually think the swings have been here since I went to middle school (let’s just say that was a couple decades ago.)

The complex is massive, with paved walking paths in between the sports fields. This would make a good place to walk/run, especially with the stroller. The view would perhaps become stale after awhile, but it would be a good option for someone close by.


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

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

Overall Score: 4

The Skyline Sports Complex is primarily a park for organized sports. There are four sports fields, and is a mecca for many of the sports seasons. As a “play park” for a family afternoon of fun this park is severely lacking. There is no seating near the play area. The play area is missing a main structure and slide. There are four regular swings but not infant swings. There are two ride-ables and one circular spinning platform. The Complex is large enough to make a more than adequate walking/running track.