#45 – Pine Nursery Park

#45 – Pine Nursery Park

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Pine Nursery Park opened in the last few years (I think.) I only discovered in last year. We put off doing this park in the tour last year because it did not have any play structures. Gleefully, we discovered earlier this summer that they were finally completing that section of the park. We have been anxiously waiting for the playground to open. I believe the play area just opened in the last couple days.

20150909_181009_005The play area is spacious, and unique. There are swings, including a special needs swing. The slides are not typical, but the use of different climbing methods to get up to them make them fun! There is a large cargo net play structure, which I don’t remember seeing in any other park. There are also some spinning structures. (Fair warning, we went to this park right after dinner and did not even think about the effect of excessive spinning right after food. I don’t hold it against the park. I just hope some other family can learn from our silly, and frankly smelly, mistake.)

 

20150909_181051On the right side of the play area are a couple structures for smaller kids. These are also  rather unique. There is a piano and drum panel, which make music when used. The piano panel also gives you some sheet music to play a delightful children’s tune (I won’t ruin it for you.) We did not fully explore this structure, but I believe there are panels representing many different musical instruments. There is also a little kid bridge next to the music structures.

 

 

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I think my favorite feature of this park is the large map of the world, with the hoop in the center. I can see plenty of inventive ways to use this for fun and learning. In general, this park would be perfect for a learning adventure. With the fishing pond, nature trails, and the inventive park there are multitudes of learning opportunities. (Maybe this is nit-picky, especially since it would have required a lot of detailed work, but I wish the Eastern European countries were more defined. It’s probably just me, though.)

Pine Nursery park is a busy park during the sports seasons, since it boasts a sports complex of 4 softball fields, 4 soccer fields, 8 pickleball courts, and a disc golf course. During the particular sports seasons, keep in mind that the parking lot (and play area) may be busy. We had a tough time finding a parking spot near the play area.

This park is also great for exercise with 14 acres of off-leash area for dogs (including a splash pad), and a 1.9 mile paved bike/pedestrian loop. This is one of my favorite parks to walk with friends.

As usual, you will also find a full bathroom, large picnic structure, dog stations, and trash receptacles. This park really has something for everyone! It’s certainly worth checking out. The Bend Parks and Rec team with the Oregon State Parks to manage and maintain this facility. You can really see the time and care both organizations put it. In general, well done!

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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: 4.9
Fun: 5

Overall Score: 4.9999

Pine Nursery Park has something for everyone. Listing every amenity would take forever. There are multiple types of sports fields, and off leash dog park, restrooms, picnic shelters, and a great walking/biking path. The play area is brand new (as of 2015) and is inventive and unique. The only really nit-picky thing I have to say is there is no fencing around the play area. Although the play is not right next to an access road, if a child were to take off they could run fast and far. I was to especially say that I appreciate the special needs swing in this park. I highly recommend this park for homeschooling families, and for school field trips. There are many different learning opportunities!

 

#44 – Sawyer Park

#44 – Sawyer Park

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It was a warm day, and a warm day calls for cooling off in the river. With so many of the parks on the river closed due to the river construction, it is hard to find a nice spot. When we arrived at Sawyer Park at 4pm, the park was already pretty busy. Anyone would keep in mind that the parking for this park can get dicey, when busy.

When you first arrived, you find some picnic tables, a porta-potty, and plenty of grass. There is also a rock wall with plenty of rocks for climbing on, on the right.

20150719_174628We crossed the bridge and turned right. Left of the bridge is for fishing and “nature observing” only. I have walked to the left, and it is just as beautiful as the rest of the park.

The right has multiple paths that lead you to spots  that are perfect for picnicking and frolicking in the river. All the close spots were taken when we arrived. We had to walk for quite a few minutes before we finally found something. We were a little farther from the car that we would have liked, it was a great little, out of the way, spot. There were rocks that created a tiny, protected, pool.

One our way back, we stopped by one of the more popular “pools” in the park. Someone has created the perfect “kiddy” pool next to some swift rapids. It was taken by a family when we had arrived. I was happy to find it empty when we were walking back. When we got to check it out, near almost 6pm, the shade was covering the whole area. It was the perfect depth for young kids to enjoy the water in a 20150719_173134safer pool.

In general, speaking as a lifelong Bendite, you must be careful when playing in the Deschutes. If you are going to let your kids swim into the center of the river, you will need to bring life jackets. And, on behalf of all, pleasure pack out what you bring with you.

I have walked the trails around Sawyer Park in the past. It’s beautiful to walk next to the river. I thoroughly enjoy walking this section of the Deschutes River trail. For the most part, it is an easy trail. there are some uphills, but nothing that should stop anyone looking for a beautiful nature walk.

Sawyer Park is lacking in many of the amenities you come to expect from the local parks. There is only one porta-potty. There is a water fountain nearby, before you cross the bridge. There is no playground, dog facilities, or large parking area. It is truly a “one trick pony.” Though, the trick of nature is an amazing trick.


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

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

Overall Score: 3.8

Shevlin Park is what I could call a “specialty park.” It is a river wonderland, with plenty of shoreline nooks to enjoy the river in. You also find access to the northern section of the Deschutes River Trail. You have to be careful when playing the river, even when using some of the man-made pools on the edge. Though, the river gives hours of the play, this park could be boring for anyone who doesn’t enjoy nature.

#43 Shevlin Park – Shevlin Park Road

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It is hard to experience Shevlin Park in one day. When my little family of three went on a sunny afternoon in early March, we barely skimmed the surface. I’m going to try my best to include pictures and experiences from other visits to this gem in the crown of Bend Parks and Rec.

The parking for Shevlin park is extensive, but still does not do the traffic justice on an really busy day in the summer. Very quickly you come across the main restrooms and the picnic pavilion (which can be reserved through BPRD.) From there you have a few different path options. I would suggest picking up, or downloading, a Shevlin Park Trails Map before venturing about. I don’t think you can really get lost, the trails are well groomed, but it never hurts to know where your going.

Tumalo Creek rambled through this park, making you feel way farther from civilization than you are. Most of the trails stay close to this river and you ramble through this 44 acre oasis. This creek is the only real safety concern I have about this park. If your child cannot resist themselves around water, you may need to be extra vigilant, because water is everywhere. Some part of this creek are very swift as well, but I would certainly be careful if you are going to swim.

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One of my favorite sites in Shevlin Park is the covered bridge. Inside there are plenty of carving left behinds my couples in love.

You can find different little sites along the trail with picnic tables. The one we found came with a very calm spot in the water. On a busy day, it may be hard to find a secluded spot. On a “off season” kind of day it can feel like wilderness.

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On the other side of the road you can find Aspen Hall, a popular wedding. (I might be biased, it was our wedding venue.) Next to Aspen Hall you find the small pond which is open for under age fishing enthusiasts so they can learn their trade.

If you follow the trails past Aspen Hall you can come across a gravel river bank that seems like it was build for picnicking and swimming on a summer day. I’m not sure if it gets busy here or not, but I would be prepared to pack in everything you would need for a great afternoon.

In general, it is hard to do Shevlin Park justice. I imagine for some children, this park is incredibly boring. If your family enjoys walking/hiking and fishing than this gem will blow you away. If it’s not your families thing, then it will seem somewhat boring.


 

 

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: 3

Overall Score: 4.5

Shevlin Park is what I could call a “specialty park.” For walking/hiking and natural exploring, it does not get any better than Shevlin Park in the BPRD portfolio. The trails are well groomed, the views are amazing, and the park has everything you need. If your family needs more stimulus, and cannot entertain itself on nature alone, this park is an absolute dud. Shevlin Park is something you will either absolutely love or absolutely hate. It’s hard to rate that on a scale. Watch your children around the creek.


 

#42 Sunset View Park – Stannium Rd

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Sunset View Park was not the kind of park I was expecting. I didn’t check out the park description on the Bend Parks and Rec website before going on the adventure. I did know that I seemed to drive past part of it on my way to Shevlin Park, and that I had seen it once or twice.

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The part of the park which is accessed at the end of Stannium Road is all natural landscape. It is a fitness park, with multiple stations with equipment for difference exercises.

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There is a pile of sticks and logs around the base of one tree. My husband and I are both somewhat curious how this happened and if it has a purpose.

There seems to be a trail that leads to the other part of the park, the part that includes a portion of the West Bend Trail. We chose to drive there. I was hoping to find the park sign, as most BPRD parks have a special sign in each of them. We did find multiple trail heads, but not real parking to speak of. Long story short, we were really unable to explore that part of the park at all.

I can only speak for the Fitness Park porting of Sunset View Park. It had two picnic tables and a doggie station, which makes it nice for a fitness themed lunch. I’m a little shocked that there is not a water fountain here or seasonal bathroom.

Safety wise, I can’t see anything overly concerning about this park. The ladder station would make me a bit nervous, but it is no higher than most play structures get. I wouldn’t suggest sending children to this park unmonitored, but I can’t see a reason why you couldn’t enjoy reading a book while your children ran around. Other than how quickly they would get bored, anyway.


 

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

Size: 3
Condition: 5
Amenities: 2
Safety: 4.5
Fun: 3

Overall Score: 3.5

This score is really only reflective of the Fitness Park side of Sunset View Park. We were unable to find safe and adequate parking to explore the other side. As a fitness park, I could see the stations giving a relatively well rounded work out. It would also probably bore some kids quickly, unless they really love playing with natural landscape. There are a couple picnic tables and a doggie station, but without a restroom or other facilities it would be hard to want to make a long outing out of this park.


 

#41 Hillside II Park – Saginaw Ave.

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Hillside (II) Park is on the corner of 12th Street and Saginaw Ave., across the road from Hillside (I) Park. The parking is street parking, and probably bothers the neighbors when the park is busy.

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The Park is much like I expected after reading the description on the Bend Parks and Rec website. I was sad to see that there were no picnic tables, which was the only amenity the website listed. There are no bathrooms, doggie stations, play structures or garbage cans. If you plan on doing anything in this park, be prepared to bring all your own equipment, and pack everything out when you leave. If you get in a bind, you can take the walk to Hillside I park for facilities.

Because the park is so close to the road, my husband and I debated the safety rating. If you have a wandering child I could keep a close eye on them. The traffic is not heavy, but it still worries the helicopter parent in me.

What this park does have going for it is the immaculately manicured grounds. There are plenty of trees for shade, and also plenty of sunny areas. When we arrived there was only one couple enjoying themselves in the sun. I get the feeling this may not be a very popular park, which makes it a great spot for a romantic picnic.


 

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

Size: 3
Condition: 5
Amenities: 1
Safety: 4
Fun: 1

Overall Score: 2.8

Hillside II park offers nothing unique, though it is another beautiful romantic vista. Without any play structure, it may be hard to entertain children without bringing in your own equipment. There is no equipment in this park at all.

The 2015 Season!

The weather in Bend has been amazing, and my family decided it was time to get back on the trail. I know it was our hope to do all the parks in Bend in one summer. Truth be told, we only got through about half of them.

Last year we completed all the parks with play structures, 40 total. (We did Larkspur Park, but I forgot to take pictures or notes. I blame it on “end of season” fatigue. We will do it again soon.) This year, we are hitting the parks without play structures.

I hope you enjoy our families journey through the parks of Bend, Oregon! See you out there!

#40 Pine Ridge Park – Linfield Court

#40 Pine Ridge Park – Linfield Court

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Pine Ridge Park off of Brookswood Blvd, not too far from the Power’s exit off of the Parkway. The parking at this park is street parking, and limited. It is located next to Pine Ridge Elementary School. The park does sit close to the road, but there is a fence between the structures and moving vehicles, which is very reassuring for parents of kids who tend to run.

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The play ground itself seems to be gears to mostly the under 7 crowd, with very few options for bigger kids. There is one structure, a spinning contraption, that entertained my husband and I for quite awhile. This park only had two infant swings, and no regular swings. I suppose older kids could just run to the school’s playground for more challenging activities, if necessary.

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Pine Ridge Park does boast a picnic structure, with two tables underneath and one picnic table off to the side, seating approximately 20-30 (depending, right?). The structure is somewhat far from the play structure, making it a tough setting for a birthday party. The structure is in a more shaded area, and somewhat secluded, making it good for some other big gatherings.

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I will admit we did not venture far from the play area. We were having so much fun as a family that I forgot to check out the rest of the property. The Bend Parks and Rec website for this park says that there is a play “garden” for this park. I’m not sure what a play garden is, but I did not see one. The website also says there are multi-use trails and neighborhood connections. I’m not sure what that means, but we did see families walk to the park from all directions. For a Wednesday Evening, this park was actually somewhat busy. I think this park is very popular with it’s residents and probably is pretty full during peak park times.

I did not see any picnic tables around the property, nor was there much seating near the playground structure. If you plan to be at this play ground for long periods of time, and not at the picnic structure itself, I would plan on bringing a chair with you if needed.


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

Overall Score: 4

Pine Ridge Park is a newer park. The play ground itself seems to be geared to younger children, leaving older kids with little to do other than to go to the neighboring Pine Ridge Elementary school playground. There is little to no seating around the play area, which means bring a chair if you are not comfortable for standing for long periods. This park does have a decent size picnic structure. There are multi-use trails for walking your dog. There is not particularly interesting about this park, that would make me want to make a special trip, other than the spinning ride-able.