Saturday, October 17, 2020

Journey to 100 Parks #7 - Parkview Park

We have our first guests on our journey.  We met up with our friends, the Gillespies, for a play date.  She suggested this park, which was already on our list to visit.  This is another one that was just updated this year.  Some of the work on the grounds was still in process as well.
Key Features
Sky wheels have been a favorite of Parker's for a while.  This one has a nice high ladder for him to stand on to spin it.
Russell loved playing with Esme and they were following each other around the whole time.
The structure to the lower right was curious to me, so I looked it up on Gametime's website.  It's called a Sensory Cove Climber. This is the first time I have seen something specifically for intellectual disabilities at a smaller city park.  It's a place for someone to rest and reset or observe others playing from a distance.  It can also be used as a climbing structure.
There were a couple older boys there and Parker was drawn to their skateboards.  We were trying to keep him away, but the boys didn't mind him playing with it.
It's been far too long since we've met up with Cindy, so it was nice to catch up.
This park gets 4 swings.  I liked the updated structure and the inclusion of sensory spaces.  This is also the first time I have seen the parent and child swing with a bucket seat for the child.  I really liked these when Esme was a baby, but it's great to have an option for bigger kids not able to swing independently.  We would definitely return!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Journey to 100 Parks #6 - St. Croix Park

We chose this park because it was close to our intended date night takeout spot.  We ended up not being able to get through on the phone to order, so we went elsewhere.  This is a quaint little compact playground near an apartment complex.  This appears to have newer equipment as well with a several unique features.
Key Features
The wheel at this park is called a ThunderRing.  It makes a rain sound as it turns.  The Shadowplay flower spins with a handle near the ground.  If it was earlier in the day, it would have shown colors on the ground through the tinted glass.
In the music pod, Parker enjoyed playing the ganza, a rattle type instrument. There was also an ashiko and djembe, which are types of drums.
Esme and I took turns on the spring rider as well.
This one gets three swings, mainly due to its size.  While taking good advantage of the small space, our kids typically like more room to move.  We would come back agin if were in the area, but wouldn't go out of our way.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Journey to 100 Parks #5 - Swan Lake Park

It's getting chillier this week, so we are bundled.  Once the snow (and darkness) comes, I am guessing we may have to decrease our outings to weekends only.  This is a cute park tucked away in a neighborhood in Plymouth.  We picked it because it it close to Target where we had an order to pick up.  I could immediately tell the equipment had been recently updated.  I recently started looking for manufacture names and most of them have been Game Time, so I've taken to searching for official names of some of the structures.
Key Features
This park had lots of spinning and swinging things again which Parker loved.
Esme is getting more adventurous with climbing and growing her skills.
Parker loves the seat spinner at our home park, but this one isn't tilted, so it didn't do it for him.  But, few things are better than a brand new wheel to spin.
This one get a solid 4 swings as well.  The updated equipment offered a great variety of activities that everyone could enjoy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Journey to 100 Parks #4 - Crystal Highlands Park

 On the way this time Esme said, "We have to take a picture in front of the sign first."  I love that she seems to be just a fraction as excited about this as I am.  They are also both asking to go to the park every day now.  They didn't really understand why we weren't going yesterday.
Key Features
This playground packed a a big punch in a little package.  It had a lot of unique features.  Esme was trying to work up the courage to go on the floating steps.
There were two different rock walls to climb to the top of tower.  Esme was so proud of doing it on her own.
The slides and swings are always a hit, but the real stunner was all the spinning things.
Parker was in absolute heaven at this park.  There were so many things to spin. Both of them went to the merry-go-round first and spent a good portion of our visit there.  Esme fell off at one point and blamed me.  I gave her a brief lesson on centrifugal force, she was not humored. 
This wheel got a much better review than the last two parks.  This two level spinner thing was the favorite.  he mainly wanted to spin the top wheel really fast, but that was hard to do on his own, so he asked me to help hold him up.  Then he would get this one going and run over to the other wheel and get it going.
This was a great park.  Parker would have given it all the swings possible if he could, but I will give it a 4.  I thought it was going to be a pretty run of the mill spot, but it was full of surprises.  We will definitely have to come back here again.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Journey to 100 Parks #3 - North Lions Park

Starting out with a bang!  Three days and three parks.  Today was the warmest day in the forecast, so why not hit up another park.  This kids have figured out what we are doing now and Esme asked if we were going to a new park.  We were at Crystal's southern most park on Friday and this is the second most northern.
Key Features
My favorite feature of this park was the metal slides.  Not ideal for a sunny day in the middle of summer (ouch), but great in the fall.  The smooth surface helps you go really fast!  This playset had a spiral shape of stairs and bridges which was a fun.
Esme has been talking about the monkey bars a lot since starting school.  She says they are for the big kids.  She had been asking for help hanging from them or other bars and is building her upper body strength.  At this rate, she'll be able to do them by next summer.
We found our first tire swing, which is one of Parker's favorite activities.  He spent most of our visit playing there.
This wheel got a pretty low grade from Parker again.  Not as bad as the one at Mission Hills, but not optimal.  I had to ask him to play with it again to get a picture.
I am giving this park 3 out of 5 swings.  I loved the unique spiral play structure and Parker loved the tire swing.  The grounds were severely lacking a new bed of wood chips.  All of us had dirty ankles and feet (even through shoes and socks) when we got home.  Jimmy's cousin lives nearby and we would visit again if we were on this side of town.