Thursday, September 2, 2010

Review: Granada Park (Phoenix, AZ)

There are few parks in this world that couldn't be improved by the presence of ducks.  Geese, I'm no so sure about, but ducks are guaranteed kid-pleaser.  It's the primary reason, I think, why we return to Granada Park in north-central(-ish) Phoenix.
Bring three or four slices of bread, and your children are amused for at least ten minutes. The ducks are well accustomed to the public feedings, and they start swimming to the shore of the lower pond long before you actually reach the shore of the pond.

But this isn't DuckMapped, it's PlayMapped, so eventually we make our way across the bridge separating the lower and upper pond up to the playground.  It is, like many playgrounds in the city of Phoenix, filled with playground equipment from Miracle Recreation Equipment.  Unlike playground equipment in other parts of the country, our equipment in the Valley of the Sun tends to feature drab colors -- they're going to fade anyway, so why do a rainbow of colors?  The playground got an overhaul in, what, 2008, maybe?  It features the standard big kids' set, small kids' set, swings (four toddler, four big kid) and a climbing wall.

I've always like these two playground features.  On the left, those tethered mushrooms require more balance and dexterity than you would otherwise expect -- I keep encouraging Little Boy Blue but he doesn't like them so much.  And I find the "rock climbing slide" pure genius.  Not that it stops kids from climbing up the other slides (or from sliding down this one), but at least it's a novel idea (or was at one point).  Also, there's sand.  The suburbs seem to prefer the bouncy play surfaces, but Phoenix, they like the sand.  (Even now, they rake it in the morning, like it's some massive sand trap.)

For parents, it's not a perfect park.  Insufficient shade and seating are the primary culprits, and even in winter when it's not so hot, that lack of shade and seating are an annoyance (many of prefer to just sit under the trees nearby the playground).  It's a neighborhood playground, but it is less than a mile drive off of a major freeway artery, so it's not a bad choice if you're passing through.  The park gets crowded on pretty Phoenix days, though.

But as playground parks go, it's a perfectly nice one.  Just remember to bring some bread.

What: Granada Park
Where: 6505 N. 20th St. / Phoenix, AZ 85016 (map)
Parking: Parking lots adjacent to park, free; street parking along the park when lots are full (which they often get to be).  Served by bus.
Amenities: There's a bathroom, but it's of barely passable quality.  Also, in a neighborhood, so no services nearby.
Bottom Line: Relatively new playground equipment, so-so shade.  But did I mention the ducks?

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