Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Playground Reviews: Middle Creek School Park; Whippoorwill Park

The Town of Apex is opening a swanky new park and playground soon, and we'll be sure to check it out after it opens. We won't be going to the grand opening, though, because there will be something far more important going on at the exact same time.

Until then, we did visit two very ordinary playgrounds within the past couple of weeks. Let's review them!

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


Middle Creek School Park - West Lake Drive, Cary, NC
Visited: Sunday, March 2, 2014
| Google Satellite

Summary: Most elementary schools have their own playgrounds that are open to the public on weekends. We never go to school playgrounds, though, and ... we still haven't. This just happens to be a public park that is in the vicinity of school grounds. The park itself is not part of the school.

Things for Marla to do: 6/14; Uniqueness: 2/10. The usual big kid and small kid play areas, plus swings, that you see at most playgrounds.

Upkeep: 8/10. Like most Cary parks, the grounds were clean and well kept.

Crowd: 7/10. There saw a couple other families during our visit, but that was it. I was expecting a bigger crowd, given the nice weather, but then again, this playground really isn't all that big, so maybe it's not one of the more popular ones.

Marla enjoyment: 3/5. Actually, the most fun we had at the park wasn't at the playground, it was going disc golfing afterwards. Marla took to walking the course and being my "caddy" a lot more than I thought she would. Huge success! We'll have to take her disc golfing again sometime. (This was the first time I had done any disc golfing in North Carolina at all since August 2011, by the way.)

TOTAL: 26/49, ranking 15th out of 26.


Whippoorwill Park - Rowemont Drive, Durham, NC
Visited: Saturday, March 15, 2014
| Google Street View

Summary: The main thing that drew us here, as opposed to some other playground in North Durham, was the adjacent greenway. But would the playground alone keep her occupied enough?

Things for Marla to do: 6/14; Uniqueness: 1/10. Another playground with the usual big kid and small kid play areas, plus swings, although this one seemed slightly more generic than Middle Creek (hence the score of 1 instead of 2).

Upkeep: 4/10. So, the playground was built on an old basketball court. Did they remove the basketball court first and put in a mulch-like substance instead? Nope! They just poured a bunch of rubber on top of the concrete. I wasn't particularly impressed. Also, and I typically don't include amenities such as bathrooms in my ratings, but the bathroom building at the park appears to be closed for good, replaced by a portable toilet in the parking lot.* Not a good look, Durham! The playground was at least clean, though.

(* - Many playgrounds even have portable toilets, so I suppose a portable toilet is better than no toilets at all. But my point is that the state of the bathrooms is indicative of how much the city is, or in this case isn't, putting into park upkeep.)

Crowd: 8/10. It was a beautiful day, and yet, we had the playground to ourselves most of the time. This is obviously not the "go to spot" in North Durham when it comes to playgrounds.

Marla enjoyment: 2/5. Did Marla leave the playground and head towards the greenway? Yes, yes she did.

TOTAL: 22/49, ranking 23rd out of 26.

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