#46 Miller’s Landing Park – Riverside Blvd

#46 Miller’s Landing Park – Riverside Blvd

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What we hoped would only take one summer is on it’s 3rd! We have saved up the riverfront parks. We started this project when the City of Bend decided to do some major overhauling of the property along the Deschutes river. I thought this summer would be the summer we finally concluded it all.

Plus, let’s be honest, river parks are much nicer when it’s warm out.

Unfortunately, when we went to go check out McKay Park, it was closed as part of the construction for the Colorado Dam Safe Passage.

20160604_104651We did get a chance to check out what is on the other side of the river, Miller’s Landing Park. This lot actually comes with some personal significance. My grandmother owned a house very close to the lot. When I was growing up, it was just an empty lot. I played a lot in it. I would launch inter tubes from there. I’ll even let you in on a secret, I even kissed a boy for the first time in the secret hideout that was created by a collection of large bushes. So, to see this lot transformed into a beautiful park was both amazing and heartbreaking.

The park has very limited water access. We really didn’t find any. There were breaks in the fence to the river. But, I wouldn’t really call it river access. I was slightly disappointed that there was no beach for my family to play on. If there was one expectation I had for this playground, it was river fun.

I am also surprised at the lack of picnic tables. For such a large space, there is very little seating.

20160604_104439There is a full bathroom. It is refreshing to see a park without a porta-potty. The park also has a decent sized picnic shelter when you can reserve for functions. There also seems to be a community garden as well.

Miller’s Landing Park was very beautiful. As with the large majority of parks within the Bend Parks and Recreation district, it is well manicured and cared for However, there seemed to be little for my family to do. It is a beautiful use of an empty lot. But, it feels a bit like a cubic zirconium. It’s lacking substance.


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

Size: 4
Condition: 5 
Amenities: 3
Safety: 3
Fun: 2

Overall Score: 3.4

Miller’s Landing Park is a beautiful patch of grass with a community garden. It has no playground and no visible river access. There are breaks in the fence, so be careful if your with kids that might be really drawn to the water. There is a picnic pavilion for parties, and the parking situation is decent. There are actual bathrooms. You will also find a community garden. Miller’s Landing isn’t a bad park, but I wouldn’t call it a fun one.

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#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!

 

#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.


 

 

#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.