Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Playground Review: Raynor Park (Sunnyvale)


The Monday before last seemed like a great day to hit the parks of Sunnyvale, so Toddler X and I set out on a quest to visit as many as possible (we made it to two -- hey, it could have been worse!). First up was Raynor Park on Quail Avenue, off Homestead between Wolfe and Lawrence. Raynor seems like a great neighborhood park, but the toddler area is on the small side without too many features, so I probably wouldn't consider it a destination for those who don't live nearby. Here are my thoughts:

Pros
  • Fully fenced toddler area with small play structure, two spring toys, baby swings and bench inside enclosure (see photos above). Two additional baby swings in big kids' area.
  • Modern, relatively low toddler play structure, with a few features, including a double slide (straight, not twisty), a tunnel and a nice climbing wall. No major fall points, besides perhaps the climbing wall side.
  • Ground surface in toddler area is the good squishy stuff and sand, with squishy stuff under the play structure and sand under the swings and spring toys.
  • A bit of shade over the toddler area in the early morning hours.
  • Benches both inside and outside the toddler area, restrooms nearby, shaded grassy areas in the park and a large concrete circular area (a court of some sort), where kids were playing with sidewalk chalk and riding bikes. Convenient parking in lot.
Cons
  • Toddler play area seemed really small to me. There were only three other families in there while we were visiting, but it felt crowded, particularly given that the swings were in the same fenced-in area (with their arc and the cushion you need to give them, swings take up a lot of space). Other parks with fenced areas -- Lincoln Glen, River Glen, Parma, Almaden Lake, Cahill, etc. -- give you a lot more space within the fence.
  • Toddler play structure is also pretty small and simple, with limited features. Toddler X got bored after just a few minutes and wanted to escape to the big kids' area.
  • Although there was a bit of shade early in the morning, it was gone by about 11:30, and I imagine that the playground gets direct sunlight all afternoon.
  • The big kids' play structure (see pictures below) is large and looks very cool, but unfortunately has a lot of toddler-unfriendly features -- see pictures below. Toddler X needed a boost to even get onto the bottom level step, the barriers along the walkways and bridges were high or widely spaced enough that a tripping toddler could fall through, and there were several high gaps that would give a toddler parent quite a scare. The large rock for climbing is beyond the abilities of most toddlers, and while the dinosaur statues are cool to look at, they don't really add much to the toddler experience.
Again, Raynor Park is overall a very pleasant neighborhood park, and if you live within walking distance, it's certainly worth visiting. But if it would require a drive, there are other, better toddler playgrounds in the South Bay that you could try.

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