Thursday, January 23, 2014

Playground Review: Knightdale Station Park

Knightdale Station Park - North 1st Avenue, Knightdale, NC
Visited: Sunday, January 19, 2014
| Google Street View

Summary: Knightdale Station Park opened late last year, making it the newest playground I've reviewed so far. It's so new, it's not even on Google Earth or Google Street View yet! (The above Street View link only shows a sign that says "Future Site of Park".) The playground is supposed to be really nice, they say. Is it?

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

Things for Marla to do: 9/14. Swings, slides, things to climb, places to hide, other miscellaneous things. Although not the most complete playground I've been to, it's got all of the standard stuff and is definitely in the top quarter. (9/14 doesn't seem like a high score, but it is - only four playgrounds out of 22 have gotten 10/14 or higher, and the average to date is 6.64.)

And, there's also this little seat that you can sit in and spin. Fun!

Never seen this anywhere else, which leads me to my next category...

Uniqueness: 10/10. Alright, so I've been saving the 10/10 uniqueness for "the type of playground that I haven't seen yet, or even know exists." Is this that? Well...I had been setting a pretty high standard for that elusive 10 rating, and I don't know if Knightdale Station Park meets that, but I will say this: it's probably the most interesting park we've been to. The design - elements of railroad and farm themes - is very creative, and is almost children's museum-ish. And, there's that seat spinny thing. So it's time to hand out the 10.

Now...anyone who's been to Pullen Park - my first review - might say, "How can Pullen Park not have gotten the uniqueness 10/10??? They have a freaking carousel! And a REAL train!!" Well...those things aren't free to ride, and my reviews consider free playgrounds only, so I didn't really count the carousel and train towards Pullen Park's score. And most of the playground equipment at Pullen is actually of the generic plastic variety you see everywhere. So, even if I were to go back and re-rate playgrounds - something I don't do or ever want to, because it's a slippery slope; much easier to just say "what's done is done" - I think the 7/10 uniqueness for Pullen is about right.

Upkeep: 8/10. Being a new park, everything is obviously in great shape. But given how new it is, would it really be fair for me to give a top upkeep rating here? I don't think so. I think 8/10 - still a high number - is appropriate. Trash level is better than average.

"So, are you basically saying that there's absolutely nothing a brand new park can do to get an upkeep score higher than 8/10?" Pretty much. An old park that looks great is more impressive to me than a new park that looks great. Every new park looks great.

Crowd: 3/10. As soon as it opened, Knightdale Station Park became the best - and most popular - playground in Knightdale. It's the 3rd busiest playground we've been to so far, and apparently, it's always this busy. Where did all these kids play before?

Marla enjoyment: 5/5. Winner winner chicken dinner!

OVERALL: 35/49, ranking 3rd out of 22. So, there you go: Knightdale Station Park is indeed one of the best, trailing only Raleigh's Pullen Park (on a tiebreaker) and Cary's Marla Dorrel Park in my rankings. Hooray.

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