Friday, January 03, 2014

Playground Reviews: Streets at Southpoint; Cofrin Nature Park

Streets at Southpoint Play Area - Fayetteville Road, Durham, NC
Visited: Saturday, December 14, 2013
| Google Satellite

Summary: All of the playgrounds I've reviewed so far have been outdoor playgrounds. This one is indoors. It's inside the Streets at Southpoint Mall located not far from our house. Being an indoor mall play area, it can get kind of crowded.

Things for Marla to do: 4/14. Compared to most playgrounds, there really isn't that much here: a small slide, some things to climb on, and some little things along the walls. Meh. Beats shopping, though.

Uniqueness: 9/10. Have we been to another playground like it yet? Nope. I'd give 10/10 here, but I'm leaving room at the top for the type of playground that I haven't seen yet, or even know exists.

Upkeep: 9/10. Everything is in great shape, but I can't give 10/10 here. It wouldn't seem fair, given the advantage this playground has being an indoor playground. Outdoor playgrounds take much more effort to keep up.

Crowd: 1/10. We were here on a rainy Saturday afternoon in December. Can you think of a busier time to be at the mall? (It's unlike us to go to the mall at a time like that, but we really wanted to get out of the house.) On the basis of this visit alone, the proper crowd score would be 0/10, because it was truly crazy in there. Much crazier than any other playground visit to date, anywhere. But we've also been here on quieter Saturday mornings before many of the stores inside the mall open, and it's actually kind of nice then. So, 1/10.

Marla enjoyment: 2/5. Despite all the older kids running around without regard for Marla's safety, she enjoyed a point. She had no problem leaving when we were ready to leave.

TOTAL: 25/49, ranking 14th out of 21. It's a nice change of pace from the usual, and makes for a good break during a longer shopping excursion, if nothing else.


Cofrin Nature Park - NW 8th Avenue, Gainesville, FL
Visited: Monday, December 23, 2013
| Google Satellite

Summary: We traveled from Jacksonville to Gainesville to see some Penn State friends during our Christmas trip, and had some playground time while we were down there. This playground is on the smaller side of the average. There's a much bigger playground (albeit a much more crowded one) just down the street at Westside Park, but this size was probably more appropriate given that we had a one-year-old who had only recently started walking with us.

Things for Marla to do: 5/14. Swings, one playground set with multiple slides (and good ones!), no separate "small kid" versus "big kid" areas, plus this teeter totter type thing:

Uniqueness: 4/10. Just like you don't see merry-go-rounds at playgrounds much anymore, you don't see teeter totters anymore either. But this was something I had never seen before: your partner isn't the person directly across from you, it's the person diagonally across from you. This alone was worth at least a couple of points.

Upkeep: 6/10. The condition of the equipment, and the trash level, were both about average.

Crowd: 7/10. A few other people surfaced every now and then, but not many. I suspect this playground does not get heavy use, but it does get some.

Marla enjoyment: 2/5. In addition to the playground, there are also some nature trails and other things which might look interesting to a two-year-old at this park. And, that's where Marla headed after only a few minutes on the playground. (When Marla wanders off elsewhere in the park after only a few minutes, I usually give a score of 2 if she was generally happy, 1 if she was generally unhappy, or 0 if she completely ignores the playground from the start.)

(Who says Florida doesn't have Fall?)

TOTAL: 24/49, ranking 15th out of 21. The rankings ended up being very similar to our neighborhood playground: same "Things to do", "Uniqueness", and "Crowd" scores; one higher for "Upkeep"; one lower for "Marla enjoyment"; same overall score. I didn't realize that until after I assigned the scores, but that actually sounds about right. Although, I gave this playground the tiebreaker.

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