#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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#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.


 

#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.


 

#31 Al Moody Park – Dagget Lane

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Al Moody was a jar pick. We didn’t decide to go “parking” until 7:30pm. I have been forgetting lately that it is getting dark earlier again. We did not get as many adorable pictures of our son as normal, since we didn’t have a lot of daylight.

Al Moody is on Dagget lane, and is relatively easy to find. Most people don’t know about this park unless they live in the area or have children who go to Endsworth Elementary which is across the street. The parking is street parking, and cars tend to spend around that corner.

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I apologize for the blurry picture. Our phones were having a tough time in the light. We may have tried this park another time, but we actually use Al Moody as our go-to park most of the time so we are already well acquainted with it.

The main play structure  has two slides and plenty of ways to play. There’s some parts of this structure that make me very nervous, but our son is a touch young for the structure. The structure itself is great. The structure is connected to an upper part of the park, so if your child has a tendency to wander keep your eyes out. Our son has bolted from the platform before and gotten out of sight.

The playground as two regular swings and no infant swings. I am always nervous about parks that don’t have more swings. We have had to wait our turn in the middle of the day for swing time before.

The play ground also has a see-saw ride-able. I guess I’ve seen kids have fun with it, but I am skeptical. It feels to tight to me. I guess the days of see-saws with a lot of lift are gone.

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The main attraction to Al Moody park is it’s “little ones” play area. This jewel of a train is perfect for little park goers to use unassisted. I am alittle surprised at the things written on the inside of the train care, but it is a park. Little kids love this train, and I have always heard parents rave about it.

I wish there was more than just one park bench near the small train, and in general around the park. There are two park benches on the other side of the park near the larger main structure.

There is a half-court basketball court that I almost always see someone using. The wood fiber fitness trail has been my walking path more than once while my husband and son play in the park. There is a natural trail that seems to take off from the right side of the fitness trail at one point. I followed it, it seems to just go into adjacent neighborhood. In the middle of the fitness trail is a large grassy area that would be perfect for games of flag football, kite flying, or anything that you would want a lot of space for.

There also seems to be a small bike circuit, but I can’t tell if that was on purpose or created by the local bike riders. I see kids using it on occasion, but I cannot really speak to it’s safety.

I have heard that you can sled in the park in the winter. I look forward to checking that out this winter and seeing what that is like.

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There is a picnic shelter, that could house approximately 24-36 I believe. I admit, I didn’t count the amount of picnic tables underneath the shelter. I am surprised to not see a number on the Park and Rec website. The shelter seems a little far from the porta-potty, but I may just be picky.

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There are some picnic tables in the vicinity of the shelter as well.

I did not know that next to the picnic shelter is this picturesque orchard looking area with many shady trees. I feel like it would be the perfect place for a blanket picnic and cuddling on a Sunday afternoon.

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The Bend Parks and Rec website says that Ensworth Elementary is working on an “Art Discovery Trail.” The only thing I found in the park for this was this rather dilapidated sign. I’m not sure what happened here, but it is a stark and sad sight amid the beauty of this park.

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The garden in the park is absolutely gorgeous! I will save you all the pictures I took of individual blooms. I believe this is the butterfly garden mentioned on the website, which is provided by the “Roots and Shoots” organization.

The website also mentions a “tree house” play garden. I have no idea where that is, what it’s about.

In general, this park is in amazing condition as usual. It is very big with plenty of room to run and play.


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

Size: 5
Condition: 4.75
Amenities: 5 
Safety: 4.75
Fun: 5

Overall Score: 4.95

This park comes so close to a perfect 5. The street parking is always a concern, especially when people speed through the neighborhood. The play area is far enough away from the road that it should not be a problem once you get unloaded. The play area is varied and caters to all ages. There is a basketball court and unofficial bike track. The fitness track is not label for length, but makes a good flat surface for those not wanting a trail experience. There seems to be some signage that has not been properly cared for and some features missing that are listed on the website. This park as all the regular amentities. There are not a lot of picnic tables spread apart from each other, so prepare to sit close or bring a blanket.


 

 

#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.