Hmm...what to do today?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Playground Review: Virginia Park (Campbell)


Toddler X and I have been on a mission to visit all the playgrounds in some city -- any city! -- and today we managed to do so, knocking out the final playground in the City of Campbell -- Virginia Park. I'm pleased to report that we found a delightful little neighborhood park -- cute, uncrowded, with a small-ish play structure, plenty of shade, and some fun features built into the concrete sidewalk. Here's my review:

Pros:

  • A small, peaceful, fully-fenced playground within a slightly bigger park, set on a relatively quiet street, with nice landscaping and pleasant trees providing a good amount of shade. Shaded benches and picnic tables, as well as a small grassy area, are conveniently located within the fenced/latched section.


  • The one structure at the park is rated for ages 2-5, and is of the cute elevated playhouse variety, with a couple of climbing options and a single slide.
  • One big kid swing and one plastic bucket swing.
  • Clean, nice sand area with a water spigot, which was functional during our visit.
  • Toddler X's favorite features, by far, were actually the numbers and letters stamped into the park's concrete. Numbers 1-12 are included within the fenced portion of the park, while the alphabet runs down a path extending from the fenced portion out to the street. It made for lots of fun games, including the delightfully energy-burning one of simply running up and down the path singing the ABC's, though obviously you need to supervise closely as children run in the non-fenced area near the street. (Hilarious note: Toddler X is very particular about things, and when he noticed that two numbers were missing from the sidewalk -- their squares had apparently been repaved and the numbers not stamped back in -- he could. not. let. it. go. Even as we were getting into the car at the end of our visit, he was saying, "Do you think 2 and 3 will be back next time we're here, mommy? Where did they go? Are they coming back?" See if your toddler notices this as well!)
  • Ample street parking just steps from the playground's gate -- close enough that I was comfortable grabbing something from the car while Toddler X played in the sand.
  • No dogs are allowed in the fenced area. While we are dog people, I firmly believe that dogs and playgrounds do not mix -- toddlers are often too friendly with dogs (Toddler X is in this category -- he'll happily run up to meet a strange dog) or frightened of them, and in either case, I think that the playground should be respected as the kids' territory. I see a lack of dogs in the fenced area as a plus.
  • Convenient location, just a few blocks off San Tomas/Bubb. A quieter alternative to John D. Morgan, just a few blocks away.

Cons:

  • The park is very small. When we were there, there were two other families and it was pleasant. I can imagine that with four or five other families, it might have been uncomfortably full.
  • The play structure, though rated for ages 2-5, has some parts that may be tough for young toddlers -- particularly the spiderweb rope climber and the twisty climber. While challenges are nice, these, along with a ladder, lead to shoulder or head-high drop areas that would definitely concern a parent of a younger toddler or one who's very impulsive and unable to resist an edge. I wasn't particularly worried about Toddler X on it (though he did seem to enjoy holding the top railings and leaning out over the openings), but at 18 months, I definitely would have been.
  • Tanbark.
  • No bathrooms.
Overall, we really liked this park, particularly the alphabet imprints on the sidewalk. This would be a great place to bring sidewalk chalk and a picnic, and enjoy some shady playtime. Remember that the spigot in the sandbox works, so if you don't want your child to get wet and mucky, supervise carefully!

Happy toddling!

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