Archive for ‘A Walk in the Park’

July 4, 2016

#awalkintheparkmke – Brown Deer Park

I strapped Finn into her bike seat and visited Brown Deer Park almost two weeks ago. I meant to post sooner, but my phone was running out of storage and I inadvertently downloaded the photos off it before putting them on Instagram and bla bla, excuses, excuses. Moving along, here is one of our favorite local parks! We visited often, even before Finn came along, and now that she’s old enough to enjoy playgrounds Brown Deer has a pretty swell one to take her to.

Playground Equipment: 3.5

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Overall, nothing is sketchy or dangerous, and the playground actually has some very interesting and unique features. However, some of the smaller pieces are missing in a few places (the rocket ship on the mural, for example), which is why I docked them half a point from Snail Crossing.

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Aesthetics and Landscaping: 3

Brown Deer doesn’t have fantastic landscaping in general. I saw several diseased trees surrounding the playground (including another sickly, chlorotic redĀ oak), and large rings of dead grass around the base of the trees where herbicide had been applied at too high a rate. This is a shame, because some of the older trees in the park that have likely been there since before it was a “cultivated” space are gorgeous, including lots of red oak and sugar maples.

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Community Use: 4

Finn and I happened to be there during the afternoon on a weekday, so it was pretty quiet, with only 2-3 other families present. However, I’ve been there in the evening and on weekends, and I know for a fact the park is well-utilized.

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Age Group: 3 – 12 years

Finn is just a little too small for most of the equipment. She can navigate the slides with help, and there are several toddler swings, but otherwise, she needs constant supervision/boosts up and down the equipment. However, I still think it’s a fantastic playground, with so many interesting activities. My favorite part is the giant rope gym. It’s entirely possible that I may have climbed to the top myself and left my pint-sized daughter to stare longingly up at me, wishing for the day her legs are long enough to do the same. I’m sure this is a playground we’ll be frequently in the years to come, especially once she grows into it a little more.

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June 24, 2016

#awalkintheparkmke – Snail Crossing Park, Riverwest

Salutations. As I mentioned in my last post, Finn and I are embarking on a project this summer to visit and document at least 2 Milwaukee County parks per week, focusing specifically on playgrounds or areas where children would play. I’ve titled this project (quite lamely) A Walk in the Park. And I have a hashtag. Aren’t hashtags nice? Anyone can have a hashtag, and its free.

I’ve created a rating system of 1-5, five being highest, one being lowest, in the following categories: Safety/overall maintenance of equipment, aesthetics/landscaping of park, and how utilized the park is (i.e. how many people are playing there at time of use). I’m also going to note the age group the playground is targeted at, because I’ve noticed that more affluent parks tend to have separate play equipment for toddlers and younger children.

Our first park of the summer was Snail Crossing Park in Riverwest. When Mr. S and I lived in this neighborhood, we didn’t have children of our own. However, we have visited the park in the past when babysitting friend’s children. This was my first time visiting with my own child.

Playground Equipment: 4

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All the equipment was up to date, safe, and maintained. It showed some general signs of wear (sneaker marks, etc), but that’s a good thing, in my opinion.

Aesthetics and Landscaping:2.5

I’m sorry, I have to rate this stuff. I’m a horticulture student, and poor landscaping detracts from my ability to enjoy a park. Snail Crossing looked as though, when it was first built, it was attractive in terms of landscaping. However, it hasn’t been well-maintained over the years, and there’s a good deal of weeds choking out the perennial plantings. I also noticed that some of the tree were ill-suited to their location, such as the pin oak and river birch, which don’t do well in our alkaline soils without lots of maintenance/amendments.

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However, Snail Crossing does have a redeeming quality. The sidewalks are paved with beautiful mosaics from the community, as well as some interesting sculptures.

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Community Use: 4

There were four-five groups of children playing there at any given point, in addition to Finn and myself. For a small corner park off a side street, it seems to be a popular place!

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Age Group: 4-12 years

Most of the equipment was geared toward older children. There were a few toddler swings, and Finn was certainly able to navigate the slide with help. However, she was too short for many of the other activities. Given that she’s not even 2, this is sort of a normal occurence for us. It’s a good thing she knows how to have fun regardless.