#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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#35 Farewell Bend Park – Reed Market

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We pulled Farewell Bend Park from the jar weeks ago. Every time we went to enjoy this newer park, there were no parking spaces. Truth be told, Farewell Bend Park is extremely popular, both for it’s play area and for it’s other activities. We had hoped that enjoying Farewell Bend Park on a Wednesday morning would provide us with ample parking spaces and a less populated play structure. Although there were some open parking spaces, Farewell Bend Park was as busy it not more than other parks in town during peak hours.

There are parking lots on one side of Reed Market. If you are coming to the park from Century Drive, you will have to go all the way around and use the roundabouts to get to the parking areas. If you don’t mind parking farther away from the play structure, you can find more parking in the Old Mill District and walk to the park.

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Farewell Bend Park is more than just a playground. There is a boardwalk (?) that extends out into the middle of the river, with benches. This would make a wonderfully romantic spot. Also, on the far side of the park is a riverside beach. I believe many people launch from this beach for their floats through downtown Bend. The Deschutes River Trail runs the length of the park and connects the park to the Old Mill District to the northeast, to Riverbend Park across the river and to the new South Canyon Trail Bridge to the south.

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The large picnic structure can seat 20-30, and is right next to the play ground. There are also smaller shelters, with one picnic table each, around the park. There are also picnic tables scattered throughout the park.

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The play structure is very unique, with multiple slides and a well shaded interior. We were surprised to see dark green paint on the slides, making them overly warm on a summer day. I was also sad to see no swings of any time at the park either.

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Farewell Bend park does have a unique experience, with a large section of large climbable boulders. Some of these fake boulders are very tall, causing concern for some parents of smaller children. I would not suggest letting younger kids play on these without supervision. If you are a helicopter parent like me, then you will probably be tempted to stay within arms reach.

Near the play area is a bathroom facility, with actual bathrooms, which is an improvement to the porta-potties we see at the smaller parks.

I am also surprised that the Bend Parks and Rec website has such a small description of Farewell Bend Park. They do mention that the Kiwanis helped build this park, which may expend why it seems so unique compared to other parks in the city.

Farewell Bend is a large park, in the heart of bend and near many of our visitor’s favorite activities. It makes for a great place to enjoy the Deschutes River Trail, float the river, or grab a bite to eat at some or best restaurants. As a local, looking for a calm park to take our son to on a weekend afternoon, Farewell Bend will not make for an easy afternoon.


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: 4.5

Overall Score: 4.75

Farewell Bend Park is not just a playground, but when judged for it’s facilities in this arena it falls a little flat. Farewell Bend Park is busy, constantly, and will rarely give you parking spot close enough to the park to give you an easy trip from the car. The playground does not have any swings. What Farewell Bend Park lacks it makes up for it with unique and interesting features, and a wide range of activities beyond the playground.


 

#34 Woodriver Park – Woodriver Drive

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We pulled Woodriver Park from our jar. It’s a park I have known about from growing up, especially since it was one of the few parks in that area before the Old Mill District was developed. It is in the middle of Woodriver Village. I was happy to see some very beautiful houses going up in the old neighborhood.

There parking is pretty sparse, and somewhat hard to spot across the street from the park itself.

I am disappointing to see that Woodriver Park does not have a sign like the rest of the Bend Parks, since it is listed on the Bend Parks and Rec Website.

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The park has a half court basketball court, which also seems to be lined for another game as well. The park does not have a picnic structure, and seems to only have one picnic bench/table. There is quite a bit of grass space.

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I would not say this park has a play structure. There are 4 regular swings, 2 infant swings, one ride-able and a slide. The slide is actually pretty tall. Our son enjoyed the slide and the swings, but there wasn’t enough to really entertain him for long period of time.

For a neighborhood park, Woodriver Village is a great option for kids in the neighborhood. With Farewell Bend Park and Blakely Park within walking distance, there are much better options, especially for younger kids. I wouldn’t recommend Woodriver Park for a trip of it’s own.


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

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

Overall Score: 3.5

Woodriver Park is missing amenitites, including a varied play ground. In general, Woodriver Village pales in comparison to the newer parks in walking distance. I would not recommend this park for anyone looking for an adventure, especially with Farewell Bend and Blakely parks nearby. However, as a park for the Woodriver Village neighborhood, it does it’s job.


 

#11 Pilot Butte Neighborhood Park – Highway 20

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This area not only is a beautiful park, but also a State Scenic Viewpoint. This gives you a lot of bang for your buck! We came to this park for a group picnic, though we missed actually picnic by two hours. We decided to enjoy it anyway, and rate it, even though it was not a pick from the jar.

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This park has all the amenities you could ask for in a Bend park, with some extras thanks to it’s State Scenic Viewpoint status. The play area is a little small, but it makes up for it in variety. There are three separate play structures, two regular swings and two infant swings. The play area is far enough away from the parking lot that I have no concerns about the safety of runners. There are also benches and picnic tables fairly evenly spaced around the play area. I do wish the benches were shaded better in the afternoon, but that is a very small gripe. There is a large covered picnic area. I forgot to count, I feel like it could safely hold 20-30 people. I know this park is popular for large events.

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There is a wide variety of activities. The scavenger hunt, shown above, is hard enough that I didn’t find any of the objects when I was halfheartedly looking. There is also a wheel that, when turned, plays music. One of the play structures if very unique, and would make a lot of fun for slightly older kids. My 4 year old had very little problem with most of the play structures and was somewhat entertained.

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The Pilot Butte trailhead has always been a mecca for fitness enthusiasts. You can still use the same parking lot to walk to the top of the butte. They have also added a paved path that is a little over a quarter-mile long. I did not walk the entire path, but the play area seems to be near one corner of it. You should be able to walk the entire park while keeping the play area in your eyesight, though I would worry about being so far away at certain points. I do wish there was at least a half court basketball court.

We did not see any Doggie stations near the play area, but I know there are some near the trail head to the top of the butte. There is no official dog area in the park. That said, there is plenty of grassy area or you can walk your pooch up the butte.

 


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: 5

Overall Score: 4.5

I left this park feeling very satisfied for my entire family. The actually bathrooms, instead of porta-potties, were a very nice change. The play area is varied and provides a wide range of activities for a wide age range. Between the trail around the park and access to the butte’s trails this park is a great place to get your sweat on. Small touches to this park could take this park from great to perfect. For parents, having more shade around the benches would be amazing when it gets warmer. I wish there was a doggie station near the play area. Also, a half-court basketball court could make this park more appealing to those with different athletic tastes.