Ever since my friend April sent in pictures of Grimmons Playground a couple of months ago, I’ve been wanting to check out this all-new, sprinkly playground in the Ten Hills section of Somerville. It’s been getting noticeably less summery, so I’ve been posting several Playground Hunt field trips on both the Bitchin Mamas Meetup.com group and the Playground Hunt facebook page. Just in case summer doesn’t come back, I’ve got to get all those playground trips in somehow. Trust me when I say that playing in frozen sand is not so much fun for the kids 😉
So this playground is brand new in 2010 and has that spongy recycled rubber surface everywhere. There is a big kid structure, a couple of swings, a half tennis court, two sprinkler areas and a separately fenced toddler area. The whole big playground is also fenced with latched gates, so the little ones are doubly contained – until someone turns on the sprinkler. Then everyone wants to play in the water of course. The sprinklers are controlled by pushing down on two poles and last for three or four minutes. Water pressure is good and didn’t blow anyone off their feet. The surface in the center is a bit slippery though and Alex cracked his head, even though he was in bare feet (which I think tends to give a lot of grip).
The trees are still growing, so it’s a bit warm when the sun is out in full force. Margo had the brilliant idea of bringing her beach shade tent to the park, so we were all lovingly cared for. The other thing to note is that access from Puritan Road is down a long set of stairs. The gate on Governor Winthrop Road is at street level. Almost all parking in Somerville is for residents only, including Governor Winthrop Rd. I got lucky today in that the meter maid asked if the car belonged to someone on the playground. :-). There is parking for non-residents on Shore Dr.
Yesterday was a day for sitting by the pool and drinking margaritas, or failing that, running through the water at a shady sprinkler park. JenJen and Alex don’t drink margaritas, so we opted for Cedar Street Playground in Cambridge with its lovely sprinkler area. This playground is one of the shadiest we’ve seen, but some thoughtful person has equipped the picnic tables with extra shade umbrellas. The playground is double fenced. There is a gate to Dudley street, and a gate to the tot lot. The tot lot has four swings and an excellent climbing structure with a large sandpit, liberally sprinkled with donated toys. The big kid structure is a fun structure made out of rope and provides lots of 3D climbing and play. There is also quite a bit of shaded grass, though dogs tend to frequent that, a little basketball court, and the sprinklers. The sprinklers are activated by holding onto the top of the green column and then there are a few minutes of various sprinklers providing splashes and mist.
Note that all the parking on the side streets require a resident permit, but there are 2hr parking meters on Massachusetts Ave as well as a several buslines.
Yesterday we ended up at Ipswich River Park Playground by a tremendously circuitous route…I’d been hoping to go yard-saling and yesterday we drove off full of hope and courage to a yard sale promising lots of toys and children’s clothing… but ended up driving around for ages and didn’t find it. We ended up watching a family fish at Field Pond in Andover, which Alex found tremendously fascinating (for a good10 minutes). Then he hinted pretty strongly that he would like to go to a playground (Mama, let’s go to playground NOOOOOWWWW), and the fishing family suggested Ipswich River Park as being very close.
We found it, we played it, we loved it. Ipswich River Park is quite big. You park in a big lot before going on a paved path through some trees to the field. Then, there huge field with lots of soccer fields, basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, horseshoe pit, restrooms, skateboarding park and a lovely playground. There’s probably more, but that is all we had time to see since this Mama had forgotten sunhats and everyone was in danger of getting heat stroke. The playground is not shaded, but it does have a nice structure with a side for little kids and one side for bigger kids. There are four infant swings, four big-kid swings, and a big climbing structure made out of tubes. There are plenty of shaded picnic tables nearby, but the playground itself was scorching hot.
I think most people were at this park to try out kid’s bikes. There is an excellent, paved, circular path that we will definitely be back to ride on, once Alex and JenJen have their own bikes.
We’ve been going to Greenwood Park Playground since Alex was about 8 months old. That’s where he slid down his first slide (sniff). There are two structures, one for really little toddlers and one good for the over 2 year old set. Both are safe and in good condition. There is a big parking lot, a big, shaded sandbox (with a few donated toys) and two fixed diggers, both of which have been broken for more or less a year. The swings are great and the circle of bouncy spring toys is also fun. Yesterday Alex gave JenJen a ride on the double firetruck, bouncing her very gently. There are picnic benches, a soccer field and several access point to paths in the Middlesex Fells. In my mind one of the best features of this playground (since it brings to mind all sorts of mystical childhood books and adventures) is the stone wall separating the playground from the forest. I think we’ll like this playground for a long time to come. Mosquitos can be a problem since there is some standing water, alright let’s just call it a swamp, nearby.
The playground is across the road from the Stone Zoo and we have several times made a full day outing of it and gone to the Zoo, the playground, and a little walk in the forest.
Riverbend Park is tricky to find. I tried to have a meetup there in May with the Bitchin’ Mamas, and most people just didn’t find the place. Check the map at Playground Hunt and note that the street this playground and park are on, is unnamed. If anyone finds a street address to enter into a GPS let me know. The major landmark for the playground is the ginormous windmill – the playground is literally at the base of this.
The playground has two structures, one for big and one for little kids. There are lots of slides, some nifty walls, but no swings, and no shade. The playground is also attached to the big school there, and we were asked to move out of their way during recess. No worries, since there are lots of paths and you can check out the river or the super cute community garden (I have arbor-envy ;-)). The big parking lot that you can see on the satellite map view is for school staff only during school hours.
Spy Pond Playground is especially awesome since it across from the bike path from Spy Pond. When we went to this playground in June, Alex didn’t even see the playground for the first couple of hours we were there. He just played in the water and on the teeny, tiny sandy beach. We splished and splashed, but since we were there for a playground meetup with the Bitchin’ Mamas, we had to at least try out the sandpit and swings. Both got a thumbs up from Alex, with a double thumbs up for the donated toys in the sandpit. Nice sharing, everyone!
We parked at the end of Lynwood St with 2hr free parking, but there are also spots at the end of Pond Lane.