#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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#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.


 

 

#38 Mountain View Park – Providence Street

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Mountain View Park is on Providence Drive, on the other side of Neff Road from Providence Park. The first thing we noticed, however, was parking was not as easy to find. If you get to this park on Providence, you will end up on a dead end, which is the park’s parking lot. With only three regular parking spaces, there is not a lot of chance you will find one open during peak ours. We ended up having to drive around (hint, take a left on Byers if you don’t want to get stuck on a roundabout on your way our of Mountain View Park from the parking lot) to the other side of the park to find parking, which was street parking.

We were surprised to find the park so busy later on a Wednesday Evening. I feel like this is a sign that Mountain View Park is popular with local residences and their children. There was a group of teenagers play some rough housing game in the middle of the LARGE grass area. Fun to watch, but a reminder that some day our son will be a teenager, and then it might not be so fun to watch. In general, I think it might be possible that this park is so popular that during peak hours it is unusable.

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This park has the one of the largest grass fields we have seen. There are no trees or obstacles in the way of running around. This would make an amazing field for a pick up game of almost any sport. There is also a walking trail that goes around this field and through the park itself.

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There is also a half court basketball court with bench seating around it.

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The Bend Park and Rec website says the picnic pavilion can seat 8 people. Since there are two picnic tables, I would say you can fit 10-12 people comfortable, if you need extra space for a cake or presents. I feel like the pavilion is a long distance from the playground and the porta-potty, keeping it from being on my list of birthday party favorites.

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The play ground itself is massive, with to play structures focused on different age groups. There are also mini structures in between, including a couple silly mirrors. The play ground also sports two regular swings, two infant swings, and a special needs swing (yay!).

There is plenty of seating around the play area, though I would imagine on a busy day it may not seem that way. Though the play area is sat far away from the roads, it is right next to the parking lot, which could cause heart attacks for parents of wanders.

Mountain View Park probably suffers in my mind because it was done right after Orchard Park, which is our new favorite. There is nothing significantly wrong with this park, and the fact that it is has a special needs swing really appeals to me. I do think that on a busy day, this park feels like it could get choatic and uncomfortable (I’m not sure why I feel that way, though.)


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
Fun: 4

Overall Score: 4.5

Although Mountain View Park suffers from no major flaws, it does not feel like a relaxing oasis from the world. There is some concern with the play area being so close to the parking lot and a road, which could give some helicopter parents of wandering children some problems. This park does have a special needs swing, which is rare for Bend area parks. The varied play structure gives this park a wide appeal, as does the expansive grass areas and the walking trail.


 

#36 Gardenside Park – Darla Place

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Gardenside Park is an unknown gem on the east side of bend. Nestled in the center of a tight-knit subidivision, Gardenside park is beautiful park. There is street parking, that seems rather limited. Gardenside Park is definitely meant as an area for the local residents.

We have been to this park twice now, and both times we have gotten a feeling that we are intruders. The residents in this area are not used to visitors to their neighborhood park, even though it is a public park ran by the Bend Parks and Rec district. I also find some of the residences are not very tolerant of children with special needs, especially needs that come with neurodiverse behavior. Although it is not the park’s fault, I do not think I will bring my family back to this park, because we felt so unwelcome.

The front of some houses come right out onto the park area. If you child is very curious, or tends to wander, you may want to make sure they aren’t tempted to play with the toys in someone’s yard.

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The play structure is large, with plenty of shade in the middle for a warm summer day. Even though there is one play structure, it seems to be split into activities that appeal to different age ranges. There are two regular swings and two infant swings. There are also a couple ride-ables. The dark green paint on the slides and the ride-ables did make them very warm on a summer day. I would not suggest this park in the middle of warm summer days.

There is decent seating around the play area, which is nice for resting while your children play.

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Gardenside Park has a large picnic structure, which would seat 20-25 people comfortably. Because of the, tight-knit nature of the neighborhood, I don’t know if I would recommending using this park structure without first reserving the space through the Bend Parks and Rec Office.

The park also has plenty of grassy area, especially for a smaller property.


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
Fun: 3

Overall Score: 2

This park’s overall score is not a direction reflection of it’s individual scores. Gardenside Park is a beautiful park in the middle of a serene subdivision. The play structure is unique. The park in general provides the local children plenty of fun. The residents of the subdivision seem to be protective of this park, and not very welcoming to “visitors.” Although this park is a public area maintained by the Bend Park and Rec Department, I would treat it like the private park of a private community. If you have a child with special needs, I would also avoid this park unless you are a resident of the surrounding subdivision.


 

 

#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.


 

#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.