Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Playground Reviews: Parkwood Lake; North Wake Landfill

Parkwood Lake Playground - Sedwick Road, Durham, NC
Visited: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | Google Street View

Summary: This is the "home" playground, within walking distance of our house. So, we go here a lot, although this was the first time we had been here since I started doing these playground reviews. How good of a playground is it compared to the others?

Things for Marla to do: 5/14*. A swing set, a slide, and a few other things for older children. So, for Marla, is basically comes down to the swing and the slide. They are quality swings, though...but not the absolute best.

(* - The scores I've been giving in the "things to do" category have been consistently low, so I changed the scale so that it's out of 14 instead of 15. Otherwise, all previous scores stay the same.)

Uniqueness: 4/10. See that elevated seesaw type thing over there on the left? I've never seen this anywhere else. The little rolly thing on the right is also unique. Everything else is pretty standard.

Upkeep: 5/10. The playground is maintained by the local homeowners' association, meaning that this is one of the things that our HOA fees pay for. (The playground is officially for Parkwood residents only, but I don't know how well that's enforced.) They do take time to maintain the landscaping and repair equipment when needed, but it's not immediate, and I think they could do a better job than they do. Then again, I'm going to hold them to a higher standard, since I'm more directly paying for this playground than I am for any other playground.

Crowd: 7/10. Sometimes we'll go here, and we'll have the playground to ourselves. Other times, there will be a couple other families (usually never more than that). But even then, it's still okay, because we're more likely to make small talk with other parents at this playground than we are at others, since we all live in the neighborhood. There are a lot of young children in our neighborhood, which is nice.

Marla enjoyment: 3/5. This is basically an average of all our past visits. She usually has a good time.

TOTAL: 24/49, ranked T-5th out of 8. For a neighborhood playground that you can walk to, it's more than adequate.


North Wake Landfill Park - Durant Road, Raleigh, NC
Visited: Saturday, August 3, 2013 | Google Satellite View

Summary: A playground at a (former) landfill? Sure!

I should get this out of the way before I get on with the ratings: this review isn't going to be particularly fair. To explain, let's start with the "Marla enjoyment" rating.

Marla enjoyment: 0/5. So, we got to the playground, and after standing there for a minute, the first thing Marla did was...try to climb in someone else's stroller. She was more interested in going on a stroller ride than playing in the playground. It's not necessarily fair to penalize the playground for that, but, those are the breaks. (Side note: The park connects to the ever-growing Raleigh greenway system, which is nice, but I don't factor that into my ratings.)

Crowd: 3/10. On the other hand...maybe it was just because the playground was crowded. Even though this playground is pretty far out of the way - there's not much signage, and you have to drive all the way around the landfill hill to get to the playground, such that it's not the easiest playground to get to - it's no secret. Outside of Pullen Park, this is the most crowded I've seen a playground since I started these reviews. I think a big crowd is generally a turn-off for Marla. (Which makes her a lot like Amber and me.)

Things for Marla to do: 6/14. The playground does have a couple of age-appropriate playground sets for Marla to play on, if she were interested. Honestly, I was expecting the playground area to be bigger, though. Given the crowd, maybe it needs to be bigger. Also, I'm not entirely sure if there were swings or not; I don't remember seeing any, but I can't tell if those are swings or not in the back right of the picture.

Uniqueness: 6/10. Well, the playground is right next to an old landfill, which is unique. And during the three minutes in which I actually had a chance to look at the playground, it didn't seem overly generic. So, 6 out of 10 sounds good.

Upkeep: 8/10. It looked pretty clean to me.

TOTAL: 23/49, ranked 7th out of 8. Like I said, this wasn't the most fair assessment of the playground, given how much time we spent (or didn't spend) there. But given how crowded it was, we're not likely to give it another chance, either.

Two more reviews, and I'll start publishing the master playground ratings spreadsheet. Which playground will we go to next?


Adam said...

I think you should consider extra amenities like the connection to the Greenway System as it is entirely possible that you can take a stroll down the greenway with Marla now or as she gets older.

Chris Allen said...

My intent was to rate only the playground equipment itself, independent of external factors like greenway access, parking, public bathrooms, etc. Maybe I could add a separate category that covers those things, since those factors do affect how likely we are to re-visit a playground.