Friday, November 29, 2013

Playground Reviews: Marla Dorrel Park, Anderson Park (OH)

Marla Dorrel Park - Thurston Drive, Cary, NC
Visited: Saturday, November 23, 2013
| Google Satellite

Summary: Yes, part of the reason we picked this playground is because it's named after someone named Marla. But it's actually a pretty good park! It's near our old apartment in Cary, so we're familiar with the area. And, I've biked here multiple times because it connects with a major pedestrian bridge. This isn't our first visit.

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

Things for Marla to do: 12/14. This park is pretty big. Three distinct play areas (the first two of which are pictured): the type of playground set you'd normally see, a climbing thing in the middle, and another play area that has play houses and whatnot. There's also a dragon you can climb on. Of the playgrounds we've been to, only Pullen Park is more expansive or has as much variety.


One thing this playground doesn't have is a really tall slide, but, meh. Maybe that's a good thing.

Uniqueness: 8/10. Big points for uniqueness here, mostly because of what I just said. I also appreciate that this isn't like all the other playgrounds where they just cut down all the trees and stick a set or two in the middle of the cleared area. They kept most of the trees intact here. Lots of shade, and it helps keep each area of the playground separate. That's pretty nice.

Upkeep: 9/10. Another Cary park in great shape. Raleigh and Cary definitely take good care of their parks.

Crowd: 4/10. This park is pretty popular, as you'd expect, but since it's so spread out, it isn't overwhelmingly so.

Marla enjoyment: 4/5. If not for the kid that threw sand in Marla's face, maybe this would have been 5/5? (Can't really give 5/5 here if Marla is grumpy even for just a couple minutes.)

TOTAL: 37/49, ranking 1st out of 19. First place overall!

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Anderson Park* - Anderson Street, Maumee, OH
Visited: Thursday, November 28, 2013
| Google Street View
(* - Not to be confused with Anderson Community Park in Carrboro, NC, which we've been to but have not reviewed yet.)

Summary: The closest playground to Amber's parents' house, or at least one of the closest. Amber reports that it was "recently" renovated and revamped - although when you only visit the area a couple of times a year, "recently" could just mean "at some point between now and when I moved to North Carolina." (Google Street View confirms that the current set has been around since at least July 2011.)

Things for Marla to do: 8/14. All of the standard playground amenities are here: swings, slides, things to climb, separate areas for toddlers and older kids. (I only give scores of above 8 here for "special" playgrounds that go above and beyond the usual stuff.)


Uniqueness: 5/10. Hey, look, a dinosaur!


Mostly thanks to her favorite cartoon Peppa Pig (which will get its own blog post sooner rather than later, by the way), Marla knows all about dinosaurs. Roooar!

Upkeep: 2/10. Trash level was average to below average, but mostly this score - my lowest upkeep score to date, unfortunately - is due to a broken toddler swing, plus another broken apparatus. Amber points out that it's harder to keep outdoor equipment in top shape in colder climates; that, and we're kind of spoiled with the playgrounds in Raleigh, Cary, etc. They set a high standard.

Crowd: 9/10. By rule, "nobody else at the playground during the duration of our visit" means a crowd score of 9 or 10. However, I may have to include a "weather" or "time of day" adjustment. Thanksgiving morning + 24°F = not the most popular time for kids to go to a playground. So is this score really indictative of how crowded (or not) this playground usually is? Maybe, maybe not - can't make that call based on one visit. Gotta stick with the system.

Marla enjoyment: 3/5. We left once Marla got uncomfortably cold. She held out for between 30 and 45 minutes, though, which was longer than I thought she would.

TOTAL: 27/49, ranking 9th out of 19. That's four playgrounds now with an overall score of 27; of those, Anderson Park is 2nd based on my arbitrary tiebreaker.

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