Sunday, September 15, 2013

Playground Review: Cahill Park (San Jose)


Sunday morning playground report! We're at Cahill Park in San Jose (right off the Alameda between Wilson and Bush, close to the Shark Tank and sandwiched in between new-ish apartment and townhouse complexes). Toddler X gives it two big thumbs up, and mommy and daddy are pretty pleased too.  Here's the scoop:

Pros 
  • A large, new, clean, fully-fenced playground, with separate "big kid" and toddler structures a good distance apart (i.e., not a huge risk of rambunctious 8 year olds mowing down your toddler).
  • Toddler play structure is large and feature-filled (multiple slides, tic-tac-toe, steering wheel, bells and gears, a rock to climb, and the lowest set of monkey bars I've ever seen). Medium height and not too many places where a toddler could leap off. 
  • "Sails" over the play structure and nearby benches provide some (but not a whole lot of) shade.
  • Several benches located inside fenced area. Additional benches outside fenced area along concrete path and in nearby courtyard, both of which are excellent places for trying out a tricycle or scooter. Tree-shaded grassy area (outside fence). 
  • Added bonuses (from the toddler perspective) of planes flying by, a train station about 100 yards away, and a huge open field across the path with doggies galore.
  •  Added bonus (from the parent perspective): Hannah Coffee Co. is a block from the park, at the corner of the Alameda and Bush. Sipping a delicious latte on a bench while your toddler plays makes for a pretty nice little Sunday. 
Cons
  • The "big kid" structure, within the same enclosure, is decidedly NOT toddler-friendly. Seriously, it looks like it was designed to encourage 10 foot leaps by very small people. If your child is the type who always wants to go on the biggest structure he/she sees, this may not be a good playground for you. Most toddlers, however, will be totally content with the feature-filled toddler structure. 
  • There's only one baby swing. I've discovered this primary rule of playground physics: if there is only one swing, two toddlers will really really really want to be in it. It's not that hard to include a second swing, playground designers!
  • Ground surface is tan bark.
  • Not much shade, even with the "sails" (I don't know what else to call them). We were there pretty early in the morning, but I can imagine it getting HOT later on a sunny day. 
  • No dedicated parking lot, with street parking being tight because of permit-only areas. 
  • No bathrooms. 
Overall, Toddler X was very pleased with the toddler play structure and enjoyed watching the planes, the trains, and the plethora of dogs being walked or playing fetch on a Sunday morning. Mr. X and I enjoyed chatting with the very nice parents we met there and sipping coffees. Not the best toddler park in the world, but definitely worth a visit if you live (or plan to be) nearby. 

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