Thank you all for sharing in the lives of our three amazing children- Mairead, Jack, and Ben. We hope you visit often!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Friendship Park

Last week, we got adventurous and tried a new playground.  I had been wanting to visit Friendship Park on Old Westford Road in Chelmsford for a while, but waited until I had Dave to help me.  Since he is on school vacation for the summer, we can try new places!  I took a ton of pictures since several of my mom friends (especially MoM friends) have been wanting to try this playground, too!  I couldn't find a street address for this so I entered 'Roberts Field' into the GPS and it found it.

The driveway to the park is just before a little country store.  We actually passed the entrance the first time around because it really isn't marked.  Just look for the athletic fields and the playground is just to the right.  The parking lot is a good 50 yards from the playground entrance, so if you have several kids and/or bags, it's not really conducive to running back and forth to the car.  This is also a drawback if you do the 'potty in the car' thing, since there are no restrooms or port-a-potties. 
The park offers a lot to do.  There is a little sandbox with some trucks, etc.  No shovels, though, so if you child wants to dig, you'll have to bring one of your own.  The sandbox is in the shade and has a few seats for adults to supervise the kids.

There are three or four picnic tables, all in the shade, so it's a great place to have a snack or a picnic lunch.  There is a trash barrel so you do not have to do 'carry in carry out.'

The climbing structures are pretty great.  My kids started on the swings, sandbox, etc, and then when Mairead headed to the structure, Dave said, "Oh, good, Mairead wants to do the fun stuff."  So, even he was pretty excited about it!  There are ladders, bouncy bridges, tires, rope climbs, and several slides.  It's a pretty great set up!  Part of the structure was a little 'old' for my kids, but there was plenty for them to do.  There were a few 7-8 year olds having a great time, so you could bring kids of varying ages.
If you have multiple young children (or just multiples, lol) it could be a little bit tough to do this park alone.  The climbing structure is so big that it's tough to see behind it, around it, or even under it.    Also, there are three ungated entrances: one at the main entrance, one on the side (shown here), and one at the back (next photo).  Granted, if a kid escaped, he wouldn't be in the street, but there is a lot of brush/overgrowth in the back, and that isn't the best place for a toddler.  I happen to have one child who is a 'runner' and I worried about her trying to take off.  But, even if a child did leave the playground area, there is really no where to go but to the fields.  There is no danger of running into traffic, etc.  Your kid would have to travel pretty far to make it onto the fields or into the bushes.

Some kids were playing in the sand pile in the back, but we didn't try it because we didn't want the kids to know there was an 'escape route' back there.

There are a lot of swings, which is nice.  These are in the rear of the playground and the older kids used these.

This chain ladder is one of the things that is really for older kids and more adventurous young ones.  Although, my Ben (2 yrs 3mos at the time) scooted right up there before we could stop him.  That kid has NO fear. 

In addition to the three openings, there is (at this time) damage to the fence right by the picnic tables.  Just thought I'd point it out so that moms know there is an additional way for kids to get out!

Dave and Jack took a nice walk to go see the garbage truck that was emptying the dumpster at the country store.  We do love trucks.

It was pretty hot the day we went so it was nice to have a shady space for a picnic lunch.  This picture shows the boys pre-haircuts, which they desperately needed and have since obtained. 

This is just half of the toddler swing area.  In case anyone is interested, this park does not have one of the large reclining swings for children with special needs.  But Mairead is pretty huge for her age and still fits comfortably into the toddler swings here. 

At the front of the park, there is a small toddler climbing structure with a slide- Jack preferred that slide to the larger ones.
We had a really great time, but I was  glad Dave was with me.  I could have done it alone, but it would have been somewhat nervewracking with all the things to climb and ways to escape.  Mostly, this is a concern if you have kids who are prone to taking off.  If you have kids who are content to stay near you or just stay in the playground area, it would be easier.  The kids LOVED this playground.  Tons of places to climb and explore, etc.

Pros:  Tons of stuff to do.  Climbing structure, slides, swings, tunnels, sandbox, etc.
          Shaded areas
          Picnic tables and trash barrel
          Quiet, away from the road
          Athletic fields could be used to play ball, etc
          Perfect for families with kids of varying ages
          Very clean
          The other families were very friendly
Cons:  Could be tough to handle if you are alone with two or three (or more) young children
           A few 'escape routes' for endeavoring toddlers/preschoolers
           Distance to parking lot is not close enough to easily run back and forth for forgotten items, 
           potty breaks, etc
           No restrooms
           The wooden structure is clean and safe, but aging.  Be on the lookout for splinters.

We had a great time and spent almost two hours there.  I would definitely go again, even on my own.  I would prefer, however, to go with Dave or with some other moms just to keep an eye on everyone.  The best part?  The kids took loooong naps that afternoon!

1 comment:

3G's said...

Maghan - you should be writing reviews of playgrounds for a living ! ;) This place looks fun, wish we lived closer!