Hmm...what to do today?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Playground Review: Mariposa Park (Mountain View)


We visited Mariposa Park in Mountain View (nearest major intersection is Shoreline and California) this morning based on the suggestions of a few Silicon Valley Toddler readers, and we were delighted with what we found.

Here's the scoop:

Pros

  • A charming little neighborhood park in a very pleasant neighborhood, just a few blocks from Downtown Mountain View and all its offerings. 
  • Park is new (opened June 2012), with modern equipment, impeccable landscaping, and a relaxing, well-designed layout. Paths, benches, flowers, trees and well-manicured lawn areas made it feel quite serene.
  • Playground itself is adorable, with a darling butterfly (mariposa) theme integrated throughout the play structures, sand area, ground covering, informational kiosks, surrounding concrete sculptures (smiling caterpillars and eggs), and even the trash cans! 
  • Playground includes both a large and small structure, a swing set (two big and two baby swings), and a sandbox with a butterfly water spigot feature (water was not running when we were there). 
  • Large play structure is about 6 feet high at its highest level, and has three openings -- two at about waist level above ladders, and one at shoulder level above the climbing wall. Despite the three openings, the structure is very toddler friendly, with all other sides/walkways covered with bars or mesh. Structure has several fun butterfly features and room to run around underneath, plus one double straight slide and one high twisty slide. 
  • Small play structure is a true toddler structure -- nothing at all for parents to worry about. Maybe waist high at its highest, it has no drop off points, a few cute features and a double straight slide. 
  • Ground surface is the squishy stuff, with a cute butterfly-inspired design and in pristine condition. 
  • A clump of trees in the center of the park offers some shade (and plenty of acorns), but we were there early in the morning, and it looked like by midday, the structures themselves would have no shade at all, though some benches/tables would. 
  • Three nice picnic tables (everything about this park is clean and nice) are located right next to the larger structure and the sand area -- a really pleasant place to sit while your toddler plays. 

Cons

  • A true neighborhood park, which is a con if you don't live in the neighborhood. Every other family we saw there had walked from home. The major issue is that there is no bathroom, so it's difficult to make a destination out of it (particularly if your toddler is already potty trained), and the parking situation is not fantastic. It's all street parking, and it seems sort of hit or miss as to whether you get a spot close to the park -- try Mariposa first, and if nothing is available nearby, go around the block to Pettis and turn onto Dana, which dead-ends into the park. There seemed to be a few parking spaces there.
  • The baby swings have a higher back than front and are designed for use facing one direction -- the direction that, unfortunately, faces the sun most of the day. Not the best design. 
  • The swings are in close proximity to both play structures, so you have to be careful not to let your toddler roam too close to swinging kids. 
  • The playground is not fully fenced.  
Overall, we had a lot of fun at Mariposa Park and Toddler X wasn't all that happy when it was time to leave. Though this is primarily a neighborhood park for the reasons above, it would make a great side trip if you're shopping/dining in nearby Downtown Mountain View, and of course would be fine if your child is still in diapers and you can live without a bathroom. 

And if you do live in the neighborhood, lucky you! What a great spot to have nearby -- enjoy!


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