Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Playground Review: Fowler Creek Park (Evergreen)


Toddler X and I headed south today to visit Fowler Creek Park in the Evergreen neighborhood of San Jose, on the recommendation of one of SV Toddler's friends. What a great find! For those who live in South/East San Jose, this may soon become your favorite park, and for those who live a bit further, it's still worth a visit for the beautiful setting, fun water feature, exciting play structure and well-tended grounds. Here's the scoop:

Pros
  • Set at the base of the San Jose foothills, at just enough elevation to have a pretty view down into the valley below and up at the beautiful houses above. Tucked into a quiet residential neighborhood, so it feels peaceful and serene.
  • Clean and well-tended, with modern features, picnic tables, bathrooms, manicured lawns and tennis courts. 
  • Large and fun water feature, with spouts spraying water from the ground high into the air, and convenient benches for parents ringing the perimeter. Ground surface at the water feature is concrete, but didn't seem at all dangerous. 
  • Large, modern toddler play structure (marked for ages 2-5) was the most mature one I've seen, with several climbing features, two good slides, and some big ledges that Toddler X almost plunged off of. An enjoyable and exciting structure for older, adventurous toddlers, but for me, not one where I could just sit back and relax while Toddler X played. 
  • Two baby swings and a cool long slide built into a hill. 
  • Not fenced, but playground area is surrounded by large swathes of grass, so it would be tough for a toddling escapee to make it to the street. 
  • Not at all crowded - we only saw two other families (besides our buddy, Toddler E, and her mom) in the hour and a half we were there. 
  • Convenient parking in a lot on Altia Lane.
Cons
  • NO SHADE! At all! Or at least anywhere near the playground area. There was a nice breeze blowing, which kept it pleasant, but I could see this park being very warm on a hot day. 
  • On that topic, the rocky steps feature on the play structure was sizzling today. If your toddler is too young to climb the steps without using hands, check the temperature first.
  • As mentioned above, some of the features/drop offs on the toddler structure were too advanced/high for my comfort. 
  • Ground surface is primarily tanbark, with just a few patches of the squishy stuff I like. 

Overall, this park is worth a visit. While the water feature and play structure are nice, Fowler Creek's biggest selling point is its beautiful, serene foothill setting. It's definitely making SV Toddler's "Best Settings" list.

The one caution I have to issue is for kids who don't do a good job stopping at edges on play structures. Toddler X may have just been showing off for his friend E today, but he nearly plunged off the three or four high openings in the structure several times. Keep an eye on your little ones!

Final tip: The water feature is turned on during weekdays from 10-1 and from 3-7, and on weekends from 10-7. 

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