Friday, September 13, 2013

Playground Review: Kevin Moran Park (Saratoga)


It was love at first sight yesterday afternoon when I set eyes on the beautiful playground at Kevin Moran Park (12415 Scully Avenue, Saratoga). The venue for my soccer practices in 1st grade, I'm fairly certain this park didn't have a rockin' playground area back then because I would've remembered it. It's that good.

The park runs up against the sound wall for Highway 85 (which also wasn't there when I was in 1st Grade), but as another mom on the playground commented, the din from the freeway is low and almost soothing, like ocean waves. Aside from the sound wall, it is surrounded by a quiet residential neighborhood and has all the makings of a terrific park. 

Here are the details:

Pros
  • Lovely setting (yes, even with the sound wall), with huge, rolling grassy fields and mature pine trees casting that sought after shade across different areas of the playground at different times of the day. 
  • Clean restrooms, a pristine tennis court, benches and picnic areas (many of them shaded), and street parking on a quiet street close (but not too close) to the playground. 
  • Playground area has two structures, one for older kids (photos on the right, above) and one for toddlers (photos on the left), plus two baby and two "big kid" swings. 
  • Toddler play structure is among the best I've seen, with a near perfect balance of moderate size/height (allowing for more features and excitement for adventurous toddlers) with safety/security (higher levels/walkways are all screened with mesh or bars, slides are easy to access safely, no real points where a toddler could plunge off). There is one ladder-type thing that Toddler X couldn't manage without falling, but honestly it wasn't all that high, and the soft sand surface made me feel pretty secure. Overall, the relaxation factor for parents is pretty high.
  • The "big kids" play structure is actually more toddler-friendly than most, with bars along all walkways/bridges and all sides of the highest level of the structure being occupied by slides, rather than sheer drops. There was one high-ish climbing feature that Toddler X attempted to hurl himself from, but if I stationed myself right there, I could otherwise relax. 
  • A very pleasant playground/park atmosphere all around. 

Cons
  • Playground and park are not fenced.
  • Seriously, I'm struggling to come up with anything else. Usually I'm not fond of playgrounds where the entire ground covering is sand (Toddler X is apparently trying to create a beach theme in our backseat and his room, judging by the amount of sand he carries home with him), but at Kevin Moran it just seemed...I don't know, right. The cushion of the sand was a big component of the high parental relaxation factor at the playground, and I wouldn't trade that for a sand-free carseat.

So, if you couldn't guess from my analysis above, Kevin Moran Park gets a huge YES for toddler-friendliness and all around great park-ness. I have a feeling we'll be there a lot in the future -- keep an eye out for Toddler X. He'll almost certainly be challenging mommy's declaration of a "high relaxation factor" by finding new heights to leap from. 

1 comment:

  1. I visited here today! It was so lovely and quiet. My boys were the only ones there! I did notice though that they have traded sand for wood chips. I think I would have liked the sand more. :)

    ReplyDelete

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