#18 Wildflower Park – River Rim Drive

20140626_132859

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.

20140626_133057

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.

20140626_132935

 

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.

20140626_132915

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.


 

 

Advertisements

#5 Blakely Park – Brookswood Blvd

20140524_134747My husband and I have driven by Blakely Park countless time. Until we started the park tour, it never really caught out attention. Since we started, we have been dying to try it. From the road the park looks absolutely amazing!

I cannot say we had a great time. Though, we aren’t exactly sure why. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was because the park was slightly more crowded than we were used to, or maybe or son was just in a “mood.” Either way, we left this park feeling drained.

The first thing we noticed when pulling in is the parking is not street parking. There is actually a little parking lot. I think this is an amazing idea, especially families with multiple children. It is difficult enough to get a family out of a car without adding the extra stress of keeping kids safe and out of traffic. There is also access to this park via a paved trail from Summer Shade drive. I saw quite a few kids and families taking advantage of this great connecting path.

20140524_135046

The play area itself is almost completely fenced off, with two openings. The play structure looks very diverse and large. I did not find a sticker with the ages, but most structures in town are rated for ages 5 to 12. Our son, who is 4 and 1/2 and slightly short for his age, had some issues with a few of the features. In general, our son did not seem very interested in the play structure. We did get him to try the climbing wall, which was too difficult for him because of the spacing of the foot holds. He did seem to enjoy one of the more creative ways up the play structure.

20140524_135322

There was six swings, four regular and two infant. This seemed like a decent amount compared to the size of the park. The only real downsides to the play area we noticed was that there were not many park benches inside the play area and there was not a lot of shade. These two things really took away from the fun my husband and I could have had while we were there.

20140524_135259

There were plenty of other creature comforts though. The park has actual bathrooms, and not porta-poties, and a water fountain. I noticed a doggie bag station. There was a pretty large half-size basketball court. There were a few picnic benches around the outside of the play area, but not enough for a busy day. This park does not have a covered picnic area, putting it pretty far down the list of places to have a large family gathering.

20140524_135256

There are very beautiful grassy areas outside of the play area. They are large enough for a game of touch football, which I have been craving since being there. The shade from the trees would be nice for a picnic on a blanket. I wish there were more picnic tables in these areas.

20140524_134914


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

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

Overall Score: 4

We had a hard time rating this park, because we really didn’t have a good time. Sometimes it is hard to separate what is the park’s fault and what isn’t. Some of the play structure was a little too tall for our 4 year old to play on, but he is short. There were no shaded areas in the play area, and the few park benches in the fence were not well placed. On the plus side, our son did get to have fun with some water. I couple of kids put bark chips in the water fountain, making the water spray far. The adult with this was kind enough to try to fix it, but the kids got the bark chips in it well. It made for a great ten minutes for our son, especially on a warm day. I love that the parking is away from the street, though when busy there might not be room for everyone. The fenced play structure really makes this nice for any parent of a child who might have a tendency to wander away. I would watch closely, as there are two exits out of the play structure. I would not consider Blakely Park picnic friendly, especially not for large groups.


 

#1 Sun Meadow Park – Dayspring Drive

20140430_134544

 

This was the first park in our little experimental adventure. When we pulled it out of the jar my husband and I both looked a little disappointed. We didn’t even know this park existed, and all the little piece of paper had to say was its address.

We googled it and felt relieved it was in the part of town my husband grew up in. He knew how to get there, which was nice. Especially since it’s not simple. That’s not to say it’s difficult, but you will most likely not just come across this park unless you are looking for it or you live in the neighborhood.

When we pulled up, we realized it is right behind Jewell Elementary on the south side of town.

“It’s so quiet here, almost too quiet.” My husband said after being there for a few minutes.

It wasn’t long before another mom came with her son. We struck up a conversation. Well, to be honest, my husband struck up a conversation. She had lived in the neighborhood before but now they moved a little farther away on a couple acres. Every once in awhile some one would walk past, or ride past on their bike, and our new friend would great them by name. It wasn’t long before you realized this really was a nice neighborhood full of friendly people.

It’s the kind of place you would want to live.

The playground is fenced in, which is the first of it’s kind I have seen. My husband and I were both pleasantly surprised by this and super excited. It’s not very often we can relax knowing there is only one exit for our son to escape from. I could totally see us taking a lunch to this park on a nice day. Our son can play in the playground, we can have a nice meal, everyone’s happy.

20140430_140147

The playground equipment itself is pretty unimaginative, which isn’t bad per say. Playground designers know what kids like, right? The sticker says from ages 5 to 12, but our 4 1/2 year old didn’t have any issues with any of it. There is only two swings, which I could see giving us a problem on busier days.

There is a covered patio area that can seat 12. The basketball court is a half court, but looks decent enough. I did not see the water fountain, but there is one according to the Bend Parks and Rec site. I also did not see the bathroom, but the website says they have seasonal ones. There is only street parking, and not much of it. As with most parks in the area, it was very clean and well maintained. The area is very nice and everyone was friendly enough.

Honestly, it’s a really small neighborhood park. We were there on a Wednesday afternoon, and it was perfect. But, I could imagine during a busier time it probably gets a little crowded.

Our little family of three loved the time we spent there. It was one of the more relaxing park days we’ve had. It made for a great first pick.


Ratings:

(A scale of 1 to 5 where one in the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 3

Condition: 5

Amenities: 4

Safety: 5

Fun: 4

Overall Score: 4

I really want to give this park 5 stars, because I will forgive a lot for a fenced in play area. This is not the park for a busy day, especially with it’s street only parking.