I’ll be honest, we have two park jars going. We have a jar for the parks with playgrounds, and we have a jar for the parks without playgrounds. Our son needs a playground in order to be entertained. Since the jar of playground parks is getting pretty empty, we have stopped randomly picking parks. We now look at what we have left and formulate a plan. Since today was a four park today (see Farewell Bend Park and Gardenside Park), we really tried to figure out the best parks in terms of location.
Orchard Park has been right under our nose this hole time, it is probably the closest to our apartment. Because it was never picked out of the jar, I never paid much attention to it on our list. When I was looking at our big park map on our wall today, I realized how close it was. I also realized we could get Orchard Park and Mountain View Park in the same swing. (We should have done Mountain View Park while we were at Providence Park, but I didn’t even think about it.)
Orchard Park is street parking only, which is always a slight concern for me. I always feel better getting my son in and out of the car in an parking lot, and not having to worry about traffic. We ended up parking on the street that was farthest from the play structure, but street on the other side is closer. The neighborhood looks like it has been around awhile. When we finally laid eyes on Orchard Park we were surprised by what we saw. A large property with lots of rolling green grass, an almost brand new looking play structure, and a HUGE field for sports.
The Bend Parks and Rec website is dead on in their description of Orchard Park’s features. This park features a half court basketball court, a “small” soccer field, a network of walking trails, and plenty of grass. The website says there is a play “garden” for all children, though I’m not even sure what that means.
This park has all the space you need for a neighborhood game of basketball/soccer/baseball/football.
Orchard Park also sports a cute two table picnic pavilion that could support 10-15 people. My husband and I both think it would make the best small birthday party park. It is a little concerning how access to the play area from the pavilion is set up. I wish there was a more direct route from the pavilion to the play area. If you go to the park, you will know what I mean. (At least if you are a helicopter parent like I am.)
There is one play structure with multiple slides at different lengths and speeds. There are multiple, unique, ways of getting on to the structure. Orchard Park sports 2 infant swings and 4 (!) regular swings. There is one rideable, and climbable fake boulders. We also have begun to enjoy the spongy plastic cement ground covering over bark chips.
Our son seemed to enjoy this play structure more than we have seen other play structures. I am beginning to wonder if it is because it was less “cluttered” than some others. He seemed to spend time with every element.
We also say plenty of seating around the play structure, between the metal benches scattered around the edges and the picnic tables and benches. My husband did notice the picnic tables were scratched up slightly, but it should disrupt anything.
In general, Orchard Park was our favorite experience so far. I am interested to see what this park is like during peak hours (we were there on a wednesday evening.) If it still not very busy, and the people are friendly, Orchard Park may become our go to park!
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)
Overall Score: 4.75
Everything in our souls, expect our desire to be fair, want to give this park 5’s across the board. Orchard Park has everything you could want, including walking trails, sports fields, and fun play ground structures. There is some concern about how the fencing and different “levels” are laid out around the play area, making it difficult to chase your child if they were to run in some directions out of the play area. Some of the picnic tables and benches are in disrepair. The walk trails will work great if in a pinch, and need to take the kids to the park and walk yourself and fido at the same time.