Friday, July 12, 2013

Playground Reviews: Jerry Giles Park, plus two others

On our trip to Jacksonville last weekend, we went to three different playgrounds: one on the way down there, one in Jacksonville, and one on the way back. In chronological order:

Luetta Moore Park* - MLK Jr Drive, Statesboro, GA
Visited: Thursday, July 4, 2013 | Google Street View
(* - The park is labeled "Arena Park" on some maps, including Google. The GPS said "Luetta Moore Park", and I think that's what the sign said, too, so we're going with that.)

Summary: We don't always incorporate a quick stop at a playground into our drives, but when it's time to stop for lunch anyway, we try to find a playground if possible. But you never know what you're going to get with these random playground visits.

Things for Marla to do: 4/15. Here's the playground set at Luetta Moore Park:


Aside from that, I think there just a couple of those springy seats that kids can ride, whatever those are called. Not terrible, and the playground set is adequate. But there weren't any swings, which is a major omission in my book.

Uniqueness: 2/10. When I think "generic playground", this is what I think of. (Well, this, plus a swing set.) One of the two points was given because the three slides were different: normal, spiral, and bumpy.

Upkeep: 6/10. The playground set itself has some years on it. But elsewhere in the park, there was some recent construction here in the form of new picnic tables and walking paths.

Crowd: 8/10. Basically, if we're the only ones at the playground during our entire visit, I give either a 9 or 10, depending on how much the playground appears to be used in general. I'm giving an 8 here because there were a couple of other kids on the playground for, let's say, two minutes.

Marla enjoyment: 1/5. Sometimes when we go to a playground, Marla quickly gets bored with it, walks away from it, and goes exploring elsewhere. When it takes 10 minutes or less for that to happen...1 out of 5.

TOTAL: 21/50, ranking 5th out of 5. Surely, there are better playgrounds in Statesboro, so we'll try a different one next time we're passing through on US-25 or US-301.

(By the way, I'm tracking all of my playground ratings in a spreadsheet, but I'm waiting until I have 10 reviews in the bag before I publish it.)

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Collinswood Neighborhood - Collinswood Drive, Jacksonville, FL
Visited: Friday, July 5, 2013 | Google Street View

Summary: Lots of new-ish housing developments have their own little playground. They're usually pretty small and generic, but the main draw is that if you live in the neighborhood (or in our case, are visiting people who live in the neighborhood), you can walk there. This is one of those playgrounds.

Things for Marla to do: 5/15. Here's the playground set:


There were also swings here, hence the score of 5 instead of 4. Take that, Luetta Moore!

Uniqueness: 1/10. But like I said, the reason you go is because you can walk there.

Upkeep: 8/10. This neighborhood is fairly new, so the playground doesn't have a lot of years on it. Everything is still in pretty good shape. And...

Crowd: 9/10. ...I'm guessing it doesn't get used a whole lot, although there was enough trash in the trash can to suggest that it at least gets used some.

Marla enjoyment: 1/5. Another instance where Marla got bored and wandered off.

TOTAL: 24/50, ranking 4th out of 5. Most low-key neighborhood playgrounds will rank here or lower.

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Jerry Giles Park - Roberts Avenue, Lumberton, NC (I-95 Exit 20)
Visited: Monday, July 8, 2013 | Google Street View

Summary: In terms of finding random playgrounds on our road trips, this one was a win. It's easy to find, too, even if it's not labeled on Google Maps (which is why I provided a map link above).

Things for Marla to do: 8/15. Two separate playground sets (although one was for much older children than Marla), swings, and...a merry-go-round. You don't see those very often anymore.



Uniqueness: 5/10. This park has some character to it, like that fish, for instance. And, a bonus point for the merry-go-round. (Seriously, these things used to be standard playground equipment. Did everyone decide they were too dangerous at some point?)

Upkeep: 7/10. I thought the playground was in pretty good shape, aside from the occasional small piece of trash.

Crowd: 6/10. We shared the playground with a few other families, although none of them stayed long. During busier times, parking might be an issue - there are only six or seven parking spots for the entire park. (I guess you could always park on the side street, too.)

Marla enjoyment: 2/5. We stopped here right before Marla's nap, so it's really hard to judge. If she were more awake and less cranky, she would have enjoyed it more, probably.

TOTAL: 28/50, ranking 2nd out of 5. With its score of 35, Pullen Park remains number one, and by a healthy margin at that.

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