Friday, September 06, 2013

Playground Reviews: Arlington Community Park; Woodlands Park

Arlington Community Park - Park Street*, Arlington, OH
Visited: August 30, 2013 | Google Satellite View

(* - A park on Park Street! Small town America at its finest.)

Summary: When we're on a long drive and need a stop, any playground we can find is a good one. ... Well, most playgrounds. The playground in Statesboro, GA, still ranks last on my table. How will Arlington Community Park in the small town of Arlington, Ohio, fare?

(Note: The scoring system is designed so that 50% is an average score. "Perfect" scores are rarely given.)

Things for Marla to do: 5/14. A small town like Arlington gets a relatively small playground:

But, they did have swings, and high-amplitude ones at that. Why Marla would prefer sitting in a swing over other playground activities after sitting in the car for nine hours is beyond me, but hey, whatever floats her boat. She did run around for a little bit, though, and go down the slide once or twice. (Speaking of which, there's no way for a child of Marla's age to get up to the taller slide on her own - no stairs - so we had to get her up there ourselves.)

Uniqueness: 3/10. The playground as pictured looks as generic as can be, but there was this other set on the other side of the playground, and a couple of other little things scattered around the park that children could, I suppose, play with:

Marla steered clear of whatever that wooden contraption is, but did sit on one of the bouncy things for a little bit. The bouncy seats at most playgrounds hardly budge at all, but these? LOTS of bounce. I appreciated that.

Upkeep: 7/10. That wooden contraption likely hasn't been touched in over a decade. They'd probably be better off just taking it out entirely, honestly, even if it's over there on the other side of the parking lot. But the primary playground set, and surrounding area, are in pretty good shape. In terms of trash, the park was almost spotless, because...

Crowd: 10/10. I couldn't find any evidence that this playground gets used, ever. Not only was the playground trash-free (aside from little wrapper fragments that can be found at any playground if you look hard enough), but even the trash can was pretty much empty. Given that Arlington's population is only 1,455, I think this is the right time to hand out my first 10/10 crowd score.

Marla enjoyment: 2/5. Marla never really gives a playground its due in the middle of a long drive. And, the playground was small, so she started wandering off into the grass and parking lot after about 15-20 minutes.

TOTAL: 27/49, ranked 6th out of 12.


Woodlands Park - East Boundary Street, Perrysburg, OH
Visited: September 1, 2013 | Google Street View

Summary: Of all the playgrounds within a 10 minute drive of Amber's parents' house, this one looked the most appealing on the internet. Any time the playground itself has its own special name - in this case, "Fort Imagination" - it usually means it's quality.

Things for Marla to do: 10/14. Over in the 2-5 year old section, you have a standard playground set, along with...what's this, a merry-go-round?

Of the 12 playgrounds I've reviewed, this is only the second one that's had a merry-go-round of any kind. This one has horses on it.

The 5-12 year old section - which Marla always insists on checking out, of course - was among the bigger ones I've seen.

You know, now that I think about "Things for Marla to do" score is pretty well correlated with the size of the playground. I guess that's okay?

Uniqueness: 6/10. It's getting harder for me to explain the rationale behind these "uniqueness" scores. It's kind of based on "feel" more than anything. How do I explain that, other than, "Well, this park seemed slightly more unique than most other playgrounds"?

Upkeep: 5/10. The biggest beef I have with this park is the squeakiness of the swings. Lubrication is lacking, and the swings have some years on them, so the designated swing pusher (a.k.a. me) has to exert more energy to keep the swing going than normal. Still, while the playground equipment wasn't exactly new, it was far from "run down" and still has many more good years in it. In that, it's pretty similar to our neighborhood park, which I also scored 5/10. The trash level was average.

Crowd: 5/10. As is often the case when we get to a playground between 8 and 9 am, it was mostly empty when we got there, and then started to fill up by the time we left. I bet this place is pretty busy on nice weather weekends, but it wasn't terribly so for us.

Marla enjoyment: 4/5. We spent over an hour here, and Marla had a good time all the way to the end. (As opposed to a great time, which would score a 5/5. Like I said, I'm pretty stingy with my perfect scores.)

TOTAL: 30/49, ranked 4th out of 12.

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