Monday, November 11, 2013

Playground Review: Herndon Park

Lately, we haven't been taking Marla to many playgrounds that we haven't been to before. Sooner or later, we're going to make it out to Knightdale's new playground, plus a few more in Cary. But, here are a couple of reviews in the interim:

Herndon Park - Scott King Road, Durham, NC
Visited: Saturday, November 9, 2013
| Google Street View

Summary: This is the closest public playground to our house - our two neighborhood playgrounds are operated by our HOA - but we don't go here all that often. It's not close enough to walk, and so if we're going to drive, we may as well drive a little farther, no?

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

Things for Marla to do: 6/14. A toddler area and a bigger kid area; pretty standard. No toddler swings (big kid swings only), but there was plenty to keep Marla's attention regardless.

Uniqueness: 4/10. The "bridge" connecting the two playgrounds together (not pictured, because it's behind the front set) was kind of unique, even if it serves as much an obstacle to the parents as anything else. There are also a couple of climbing-type and other things you don't see at every playground. Mostly, though, it's standard.

Upkeep: 7/10. The set has a few years on it, but it's in pretty good shape, and the park is clean.

Crowd: 5/10. At the start, we shared the playground with just one other family of three. Had it stayed that way, I might have scored 7/10...but then everyone else came.

Marla enjoyment: 5/5. I don't throw around scores of 5/5 all that often, but Marla was really, really happy and energetic the whole time. Who needs swings, anyway? Besides, a playground without swings is less work for the parents!

TOTAL: 27/49, ranking 8th out of 17. (Here's the entire scoring spreadsheet.) Remarkably average!

Yeah, these playgrounds are starting to run together a little bit. For the most part, these reviews are going to get less and less interesting, especially for the "average" playgrounds.


Finley Forest Neighborhood - Finley Forest Drive, Chapel Hill, NC
Visited: Saturday, October 19, 2013
| Google Street View

Summary: This is nothing more than a subdivision-scale swing set and slide, and a pretty old one at that. But I've gotta review it! The overall scoring and rankings are most meaningful if I score every playground we go to, even if we're only there for a few minutes. (Provided that admission is free. That's the only requirement, and it's why Hill Ridge Farms isn't eligible. Neighborhood playgrounds for "residents and their guests only", like this one, are eligible.)

Things for Marla to do: 3/14. We've got swings, and a slide. And Marla isn't old enough to get up to the slide by herself.

Uniqueness: 1/10. Hmm...I've got nothing. Seriously, though, as we visit more and more playgrounds, and I start getting the sense that I've "seen everything before", I'm going to have to safeguard against giving progressively lower uniqueness scores. But not today.

Upkeep: 3/10. The set is pretty old and downtrodden, but it was moderately clean, and I'd like to leave room at the bottom of the scale for something in even worse shape and/or trashy. (In other words, for the kind of playground that we would probably never go to anyway, unless we made a wrong turn somewhere.)

Crowd: 9/10. One nice thing about these small subdivision playgrounds is that you usually have them to yourself! Usually.

Marla enjoyment: 3/5. Give Marla a swing, and she's happy, usually. We were in the neighborhood for a birthday party, and we would have actually preferred that Marla get bored with the swings earlier so that we could, you know, go back to the party.

Note: while my uniqueness scores may creep downward, the Marla enjoyment scores may creep upward, because as Marla gets older, the more she'll enjoy playgrounds. (To a point, of course, but we're many years away from that point.) But that doesn't bother me so much in terms of the scoring, because "Marla enjoyment" is meant to be the "wild card" in my system anyway. There are a lot of factors independent of the playground that will influence how much fun Marla has; most notably, how well rested she is.

TOTAL: 19/49, ranking 16th out of 17.

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