Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Playground Review: Comanche Park (San Jose)

Toddler X and I visited the brand new Comanche Park playground today, and oh my goodness, it is awesome! Its multiple super-modern, creative and fun play structures have skyrocketed to the top of our "Best Play Structures" list (Do I actually have such a list? If not, I need to make one!), with great offerings for everyone from very early toddlers (lots of ground-level and ankle-high attractions, and squishy ground surface for those who still fall a lot) to early elementary kids (the climbing features on the big kid structure are first rate).

While the park lacks restrooms and therefore can't really be called a "destination playground", if you live in San Jose or its environs and enjoy unique and modern playscapes, this one is definitely worth checking out!

Here's the scoop:

Play Structures: The play structures and climbing features at this new park are what make it so incredible. Brightly colored, obviously brand-new, and with elements that had Toddler X running from place to place with an excited gleam in his eyes (and this is a kid who sees a LOT of playgrounds!), all of the structures/features on both sides of the playground were winners.

The little kids area has one "typical" structure with two slides, a fun tunnel, and various cool climbing features for 2 to 5-year-olds (this structure caters more to the younger end of that range, but 5 year olds were still having plenty of fun on it). Toddler X couldn't get enough of the rainbow spinning feature, which we haven't seen at any other park. The highest opening is about chest high, but for the most part the structure is very well-enclosed for younger kids. Overall, I would describe this as a safe play structure for almost any toddler.

The 2-5 play structure is connected via a balance beam to another area that has some really cool, uncommon features which are great for even younger toddlers (but still fun for older ones). There is a stand-alone slide that is about waist-high, a cute little knee-high suspension bridge, those "lily pad" features that kids love (but as low as I've ever seen them), a calf-high tunnel, and plenty of other fun features at ground level or close to it. This specific play area will definitely be going on my list of Best Playgrounds for Young Toddlers.

The big kid (age 5-12) play structure, located a short distance away, is super cool too, with very modern features and tons of creative climbing options. Toddler X loved climbing up the rope feature, but surprisingly he was happy to return to the age 2-5 section after just a few minutes -- far more relaxing for mommy! The close distance and easy visibility between the two structures makes this a good playground for parents who have kids of different ages/abilities.

Swings: One baby swing, one accessible swing with harness, and two big kids swings. Toddler X gives his seal of approval to the baby swing, which gets nice and high and doesn't squeak at all.

Ground surface: The entire playground area is covered with the great rubberized ground surface that we love, in fun, bright colors and patterns.

Sand: No sand play area.

Bathrooms: No bathrooms. Bummer. (Our no-bathroom playground solution: a travel potty that we leave in the car and couldn't live without!)

Fencing: The playground is not fenced. It's not super close to the road, but I'd be nervous at school drop-off and pick-up times, when there's likely to be a horde of (unfortunately) distracted drivers.

Accessibility: This playground should be very accessible for kids with disabilities or mobility issues. The entire ground surface is the rubberized stuff (no sand or tanbark), there are several play features at ground level or close to it, and there is a nice, accessible swing with a safety harness.

Shade: There is one mature tree at the center of the playground area, which offers good morning/midday shade to part of the little kid structure, but the remaining toddler play features and the entire big kid section are in full sun. In the afternoon, I imagine there's not a spot of shade to be found on the play structures, though there will be a shady space for tired parents to relax between the two play areas. There are also a couple of picnic tables that probably get all day shade.

Parking: Plentiful street parking when school is not in session (no experience yet on a school day), and there is a large school parking lot right next to the playground (weekends and after school hours only).

Picnic tables/barbecues: Plenty of nice, new four person picnic tables (some in the shade), but no barbecue grills.

Atmosphere/location: Comanche Park is located in a clean and pleasant family neighborhood, sandwiched between two schools. The foothills are just a mile away and frame the park nicely. Lots of grassy hills around for running, with some mature shade trees. Nice little path around the perimeter of the playground for scooters or tricycles.

Overall, this is a great playground for a mid-day playdate, though I'd try to avoid school drop-off and pick-up hours. Just remember to use the restroom before you leave the house, and definitely bring along sunblock and a potty for those in training!

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks! I have been following your blog and used it today for the first time to pick a park to take my 1 year old twins to for the first time on my own! Thanks to you I found a young toddler friendly park close to my house. Totally on point!


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