Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review: Kachina Park (Phoenix, AZ)

Kachina Park is a little neighborhood park in a part of Phoenix I like to call "Arkadia with a 'K'." That's because it's adjacent to but not formally part of the (comparatively) swanky Arcadia neighborhood, even though people -- and realtors -- who do live there describe themselves as living in Arcadia.  (I say that with affection because I used to live in a couple different parts of "Arkadia with a 'K'.")

The park itself has some room for running, a meandering path, and a fair number of reasonably mature trees.  It also has a playground, one that Miss Mary Mack remembered for something called "the wheel."


No, "the wheel" was not some sort of medieval torture device.  It was just that wheel thingy above, maybe 2 1/2 feet in diameter and about 6 feet off the ground.  If a kid leans off the adjacent platform, they can grab a hold and make almost one full rotation.  Miss Mary Mack had lots of fun on it... for maybe a couple minutes, then moved on.

Luckily, there were a couple other kids there on what proved to be a record-setting day heat-wise in Phoenix (111 degrees, woo!) so that Miss Mary Mack could play with (and show off to) other kids.  I suspect the park has more kids on days when the heat isn't quite so bad.  Also luckily, the main (big-kid) playground structure had a shade structure which somewhat helped.  (As a parent, I eventually excused myself to the shade of one of the trees lining the perimeter of the play area.)  There's nothing particular noteworthy about the play area itself -- it has the typical big-kid/small-kid play structure dichotomy with 2 toddler and 2 preschool swings.  There's sand, but part of the big-kid structure is wheelchair-accessible via that slightly springy surface stuff.  I wouldn't describe the park as having a surplus of shade and shaded-seating, but compared to a lot of other Phoenix-area parks, it does just fine.

There's no reason to visit this park if you're more than 15 minutes away because you almost certainly have a playground that provides a similar experience closer to you.  Still, it might be enough to make your kids smile.


What: Kachina Park Playground
Where: 42nd St. & E. Campbell Ave. / Phoenix, AZ 85018 (?) (map)
Parking: Street parking (but not a problem).  Bus serves 44th St. and probably (occasionally) Campbell Ave. itself.
Amenities: No restrooms, some shade from the trees, ramadas. Ground zero for the LGO folks (La Grande Orange, Postino) is a quarter-mile away.  That's pretty close for a Phoenix parks amenity.
Bottom Line: Nice, but for locals only.  (And perhaps those waiting for a seat at the LGO places.)

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