Playground Review #1: Jergens Park, Northside
When I first started thinking about starting a new Blog, playground reviews was really the focus. I’ve since decided that there is way to much fun stuff in my life to limit myself to such a narrow subject. Much to my chagrin, playground reviews are also a part of my favorite Dad website, Cincinnati Dads. Which is actually just fine. There are lots of great parks and playgrounds in the Greater Cincinnati Area, I’m sure there’s room for more than one playground review website.
Stay at home Dads out there, or those who plan to become SAHD’s, heed this warning. Unless you plan to let your kids become full on TV Zombie Children of Doom, you are going to spend a lot of time at playgrounds. Even if you have spent almost $1000 on a backyard playset as we have done, (or even more, check out some of these monstrosities), you will eventually end up in one of these mulch padded amusement centers. Be prepared.
Jergens Park, Northside
At the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Bruce Avenue, this is the closest playground to our house in Northside. As the sign says, the park is on land donated by the Andrew Jergens family, where there once was the Jergens family home. A quick glance at the houses on each other corner of this intersection will give you and idea of how nice the Jergens mansion must have been (heck, 2 of the properties across the street sport carriage houses, and the other looks like it could have once been a bordello, I swear). The park is on less than one acre of land and is completely fenced in. (Ok, there is a spot in the southeast corner where you can get in or out pretty easy). The main entrance sports a heavy wrought iron gate, making this park an ideal place for free-ranging your preschoolers without too much worry that they’ll be abducted by mostly imaginary sexual predators.
Jergens comes equipped 2 swingsets of 2 swings each, one for big kids and one with safety swings for the little hellions. The safety swings are especially nice because they are almost completely shaded from April through October. The park also boasts the soon to be ubiquitous modular playground slides pictured to the left, (note to self, next time get the company name off these things). Now I don’t really have a problem with these things. They’re inexpensive and easy to maintain, so they are kind to strapped city and county parks budgets. They in general seem quite safe. I do sometimes feel a creeping conformity as more and more playgrounds switch to these set ups as opposed to the more open, rough and tumble style playground stuff we grew up with, (bonus points to anyone who can point me to a playground that has real teeter totters). My big problem with this model is the slide pictured to the left. Does anyone else see the problem here? Why the bend? Is it supposed to be “fun”? All the bend in this slide does is slow the slider down, and sometimes threaten to pitch them over the side. And don’t even dream of doing the “slide on my lap honey” maneuver with this baby. Unless you are almost as small as your child, you are likely to get stuck. Painfully. Trust me.
Jergens also sports an awesome climbing tree, just the right size for neophyte climbers.
Which is great. My brother and I grew up climbing trees in the Groesbeck house’s backyard, and later the woods nearby. It seems to me that such climbing trees are going the way of the dodo. Even more than a good playground, a good climbing tree is a great way to introduce your kids to nature. The Edsel Fairbanks* memorial rules for tree climbing are.
1) Don’t try and put your weight on any branch that is thinner than your arm.
2) Learn to recognize and avoid dead branches.
3) Daddy is always available to help you down, but you’re on your own for going up.
Jergens Park also sports a nice shelter with picnic tables and a lovely garden walking path. There’s plenty of room for running around and burning up excess kid energy.
The only negatives are threefold, older kids could become bored pretty quick, the place can become a little cramped at times, and you’ll run into the occasional beer bottle or used condom sometimes. All in all, Jergens is my ideal preschool park. The fact that it’s 2 blocks away from my house clinched it as our go-to playground and a fitting choice for Raising Hellions first Playground review.
Carolina says “Yay, Ayground!!”
Linus says “Bleahhh!”
I guess that means 3 thumbs up!
* Edsel Fairbanks was the DJ pseudonym my Dad used whenever he filled in for the late night jock at WUBE. I’ll do a longer post about the Fairbanks legacy at some point in the future.
PS. I just realized I didn’t say “Fuck” once in this review. Luckily, while I was waiting for images to load, I stumbled upon this post at Free Range Kids, and I can now comfortably say.. “That’s fucked up!”