Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nelson Memorial Park - Splash pad along beach

Nelson Memorial Park in Plymouth has a splash pad next to the beach. A handy feature for any beachgoer looking for an easy way to clean your kid off. This is a real popular spot with a nice surround rock wall to sit and watch the view. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Playgrounds in Winter

Playgrounds are not packed away in the winter like your bathing suit. They make great snow forts. This winter, never pass the opportunity to go down a snow covered slide or carve out a playground from snow with your chainsaw.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Charles River Playgrounds - Just to Name a Few

The Esplanade Playspace

Many, many years ago, Charles Eliot, an outdoorsy kind of guy, looked out onto the Charles River while holding his nose and thought "we need more grass, less smelly mush." So they tightened the ends of the river up a bit, trimmed the edges and grew lush green grass for parks and playgrounds. Modernization dirtied up the place for a while, but now it's looking real nice. Even the Big Dig added 40 more acres along the river for our enjoyment. Here are a few of those playgrounds inside different neighborhoods, connected by bridges and walkways, and all bound by the beautiful Charles River.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Clarendon Street Play Lot, Boston

The Clarendon Street Play Lot (at Comm. Ave) is a work horse for neighborhood kids and schools. Good equipment, nice landscaping, places to sit and chat, clean and lots of shade in the summer. Comfy cozy for tots. No complaints here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Puopolo Park and Langone Park - North End, Boston

After a warm plate of spaghetti and meatballs in the North End, take a walk with your box of pastries down to the harbor to Puopolo Park and Langone Park for a real treat. Frederick Law Olmsted, Mr. Greenway, put his footprint on this stretch of Boston Harbor where now a zillion Harborwalkers and residents stay to play. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Southie's Green Seaweed. The Dorothy Curran Playground.


Do you have any idea what it is? Try tilting your head left to right. Would you believe they are four towering seaweed water fountains swaying in the breeze? Who knew? These wildly imaginative sculptures at the Dorothy Curran playground put a little whimsy (not Whitey) in Southie. Wicked awesome. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Julia's Garden and Playground at WWI Memorial Park - North Attleboro

Icon Park Design
Inside WWI Memorial Park (a.k.a Watery Hill) in North Attleboro is Julia's Garden, not what you'd expect inside a park that boasts an awesome petty zoo and great hiking and picnicking. Julia's Garden design is unexpected, but perfectly suited for the park. It's unlike anything we've seen. Basically, it's a little girl's fantastical world, complete with a wishing well, unicorn and butterfly fountain. The landscaping, gardening and sculptures compel you to explore this fairy-tale land, a dream come true for the family of Julia Cekala, who imagined such a lovely spot for their daughter, and made it happen. Julia's Garden Foundation.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Biggest Playground Slides in Boston, Stoughton, Arlington and North Attleboro

This is a short list of long slides. There has to be more out there! As we all know, in the summer sun, slides burn skin. To beat the burn, I saw a girl sit on a pillowcase for the ride down. It was cooler and faster! Brilliant.

Children's Adventure Playspace in Stoughton. Check out my post.

Esplanade Playspace, Boston. Check out post

Robbins Farm Park in Arlington

Julia's Garden at WWI Memorial Park in North Attleboro

Awesome wooden slide at the Smith Kid's Playspace in Philadelphia on a recent visit

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chelsea Playgrounds - KaBoom

Creekside Commons in Chelsea

Artistically unique with a huge water feature, small splash pad, unusual beautiful canopy never seen before in these parts, little skate park, beautiful arbor, lots of color. A beautifully landscaped spot with lots of strolling potential tucked away at the end of Cabot Street. Parking is good. Designed by IconParks.

This park is designed to reflect the landscape using architectural and artistic sculptural features. Mind you this is tiny little city, in fact, the smallest city in Massachusetts, with an enormous amount of parks and playgrounds, more than 30, and, on average, they've been building a new one every year! It's a regular playground boomtown. 


Given that Chelsea is the 2nd most densely populated community in Massachusetts, and over 50% of school age students are overweight or obese, it's bursting at the seams, but the city is doing a great job of giving it's residents spaces to spread out a bit, drown out the sound of the Tobin, and get healthy. Learn more about the Healthy Chelsea Coalition here.


Related links:

Contractors for project
Chelsea is getting it done! 

Next up...The Dorothy O'Neil Playground 

This little spot, more like a backyard than a playground, makes great use of every square inch, as many city parks do. Above roars the Tobin, but down below, nothing but trees and benches in the shade. A mother told me she liked the playground because "it's nice and quite." Spoken like a true Chelsea resident. The genius kids were washing down the hot slides with cool water from the spash pad, creating their own water slide! It's located at the corner of Beacon and High street. 

Disney-KaBoom Playspace!
Located at the corner of Heard and Spruce streets


Mickey Mouse did not meet me at the entrance. In fact, I almost drove by, but I really wanted to see a KaBoom playground. KaBoom helps communities build playgrounds, and Disney, of course, is one huge playground, so it came with high hopes and expectations.

There was ample shade provided by existing trees along the corners with comfy benches. Other moms pushing strollers came into little Disneyland, and we all enjoyed a nice time on this fertile ground, in this far away neighborhood, under a bridge. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shaded Playgrounds

Whether you're a weekday or weekend hopper, finding pleasantly shaded playgrounds is like trying to find a missing sock, it's nearly impossible. Safety is number one for playground design these days, yet very few consider peek time sun, when most kids are at playgrounds, a safety hazard. Did you know that even in 80 degree temperatures a slide can heat up to 140 degrees or more, and it only takes three seconds for your kid to get a first degree burn. Here are the facts according to Accuweather. There are solutions such as canopies.

Locally, we have Creekside Commons in Chelsea with a beautiful canopy designed by IconParks. I just wish it hung over more of the play structures. I don't know how it holds up to snow, but I'm sure they have it figured out.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

North Point Playground and Park - Cambridge. One of the best playgrounds in the Boston area.


Back in the day, whizzing through Boston on the elevated section of 93, taking fast turns, brushing up against buildings like the old Boston Garden, was a thrill ride. At least, that's what it seemed. 

But looking below as you left the city heading north, it was a jumbled up mess, like a kid's toy train set or a game of pick up sticks with old railroad tracks, a little river, a little bridge, elevated trains, and a mountain of gravel. Where was I? Turns out I was where RT 93, an unused railway station, the Charles River Dam, the elevated Orange and Green lines, and Boston Gravel met up. Three levels in fast motion, swirling inside the city's vortex. 


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Weezie's Garden - Wellesley

Within the Massachusetts Horticultural Society's Garden at Elm Bank in Wellesley stands a magical tree house with a wonderful view of Weezie's Garden. Designed by Julie Moir Messervy, who also designed Hidden Hollow at the Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich. Weezie's Garden is a nice place to bring your tot to dig in the huge sandbox and splash their hands in the water fountain. Older kids will enjoy climbing the tree house, playing hide-and-seek along the swirling pathways and under trees with draping branches. It's a peaceful, pleasant spot for us older Hoppers too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Houghton's Pond - Milton

In terms of playgrounds, the highlight to Houghton's Pond is the tot spot which is completely shaded under two big evergreens. You can tuck yourself under there nice and cozy. The big kid stuff is standard, and unfortunately takes no cues from the beautiful natural surroundings. This is the perfect spot for a natural playspace should they get another 2 million for renovations. Of course, the real attraction is the pond, it's new bathhouse and the surrounding trails. The nature boardwalk opens in the fall. Can't wait. Located off of Hillside Street, Milton. Official website.


Beautiful new bathhouse

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Art in the Park

Parks and playgrounds should invite you in, be a place to relax and chat with your neighbors while your kids play and meet new friends. If you're lucky, you might come across something very rare...ART IN THE PARK! In our search for more art, we uncovered IconParks right here in MA that designs wonderful playgrounds. Like Dorothy following the yellow brick road, we will hop along to every playground designed by IconParks. Below is some of their work, in addition to wonderful artwork we've discovered in Boston and Cambridge. 

Dorothy Curran Playground - Dorchester, MA

Alexander Kemp Playground - Cambridge, MA

The Esplanade Playspace - Boston, MA
Created by artist and poet Mitch Ryerson

Julia's Playground - WWI Memorial Park - North Attleboro, MA

Creekside Commons Park - Chelsea, MA

Julia's Garden - WWI Memorial Park - North Attleboro, MA

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Imagination Station - Randolph - Splash Pad

Imagination Station in Randolph did not disappoint on our first visit as it had so many of the features we enjoy such as musical instruments for impromptu concerts, trees to sit under while watching your kids, and something new for us...a splash pad. Happy to say it's working!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Braintree Highlands Playground


Not enough shade. Not enough benches. Which is a shame as it's one of the busiest playgrounds we've been to. Lots of bored parents swaying back and forth, barely hanging in there. The Braintree Highlands playground has the most climbing structures for older kids we've seen to date. They'll all challenging and fun.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Esplanade Playspace - Great for Older Kids! Boston

Do you know what a zip line is? It's about a 50 foot long thrill ride for your child and it's at the Esplanade Playspace in Boston thanks to a bunch of brilliant neighborhood kids who put it on their wish list.  

A creative, artful and crazy-fun spot at the foot of the Arthur Fiedler bridge (an orange-colored footbridge that goes over Storrow Drive), the new playspace offers all kinds of challenges and thrills for older kids. There is a great spider web with a huge slide as the payoff, a disk swing big enough for a family of four, a climbing rock, and a huge log sculpture that tests your creative climbing techniques. 

Created by artist and poet Mitch Ryerson

On busy weekends, the zip is well worth the wait. It can be sunny but there are enough leafy spots to grab some shade. With the kid's heads still spinning, take a break along the Charles River and do some dog watching. This is a Hopper's paradise. 



Directions: If you're hanging out near the Public Garden, head toward the intersection of Beacon and Arlington. Look around like a tourist. A few feet from that intersection, you'll take a right onto David Mugar Way, and the foot bridge is right there hidden under some trees. Have fun.