#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!

 

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#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.


 

#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.


 

 

#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.


 

#25 Ponderosa Park – 15th Street

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Ponderosa Park was a staple in my youth, with it’s older swings and strange attached wilderness. I have to admit I had not been back to Ponderosa Park is almost a decade when we visited for the tour. I did not drive past it as much as you would expect for a busy street. The park was not I remembered it to be.

We parked in the parking lot close to the high school soccer/lacrosse field. I remembered the play ground being near 15th street. I was shocked, and somewhat sad, to see that there was no longer a play ground (or so I though, read on!). There is the baseball diamond, with the interesting “natural” seating. The Bend Park and Rec site says this park hosts adult softball and youth soccer games during the spring, summer, and fall. I can imagine it gets very busy during these seasons.

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Not being a skater myself, I didn’t realize the skate park was here before we pulled in. It seems to be far enough from where kids would play that it should pose a safety issues for parents of wandering kids. The baseball diamond area was well fenced, which made it great for grass and dirt exploring.

As I was walking around snapping pictures I say a glimmer of something green in the WAY back of the park. I left my husband and son to play while I investigated. This is when I learned of the off-leash dog park.

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The off-leash area is about three acres in size, and fenced off. It looked like an amazing, naturally landscaped, area with plenty of room for fetch and running.

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When I finally found the play area, I was very confused. It seems like it is still under construction, as much of this side of the park is. There was a very interesting looking slide surrounded by fence. I had left my son with my husband while I explored. The play area itself was typical, and looked like it might be fun. There was two regular swings, which were in use when I arrived.

This said of the park seems to be in the final stages of completions. This made me excited and nervous. There are multiple sports courts, a beautiful looking bathroom facility. The Picnic structure looks like it could hold 24-36.

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There is also a second skate park being built. It was more popular than the one on the “older” side of the park. This part of the park is definitely under construction with holes and construction equipment around. I would not suggest letting a little one wander. Not only are the skate boarders next the park spaces, and easily accessible to a runner, the holes and areas being worked on are not currently fenced off.

There is also an entirely different parking lot on the “new” side of the park, off of Wilson. I do not remember this parking lot being here. I honestly just remember there being a large piece of untouched landscape with a trail through it. I’m glad to see the city making use of the space. When completed, this park is going to be one of the crown jewels in the Bend Park and Rec’s crown. Until then, I would keep a watchful eye on the little ones when you go.


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

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

Overall Score: 4

This park is currently under construction, creating some possibly minor safety concerns for parents of small children and those who may wander. Ponderosa Park is large, with activities for everyone including two skate parks and an off-leash dog area. This park is also on the Coyer Trail, possibly making it a good place to park and walk. I imagine this park’s rating may be all 5’s when completed.


 

#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.