Saturday, July 5, 2014

Courtney's Big Ass Parks Project

I love taking Pippa to new parks, but it is so easy to get into a park rut and keep visiting the same two or three parks over and over and over. Then we both get bored and sick of the same effing slides and tunnels. If I visit the same park too frequently, it turns into A Place Where My Happiness Goes To Die. But if we visit an ass shit ton of parks, Pippa and I both have fun and crack up as we run around.

In order to avoid the Park Rut, I'm going to keep track of all the parks I visit. My goal is to visit 100 different parks by the end of the year. (I reserve the right to realize that I'm insane and extend the deadline.)

I thought a lot about whether this list may include indoor playgrounds and decided it may NOT. This is about parks with fresh air and birds. Most of them will involve playgrounds, but the point is to visit new outdoor places.

But I have another list in mind that will include indoor playgrounds.

Parks I Have Visited - Woot Woot!:

  1. Singer Park - 7/5/14 - I have driven by this park at least 100 times and always thought that I should take Pippa there. Finally, this morning, I did and it was awesome. From the street, it looked ok, but once we parked and walked over, we could fully appreciate its awesomeness. It's shady in the morning, there are lots of different things to do, plenty of greenery, and there are fences to prevent little ones from bolting into traffic. We will definitely visit this gem again - but not too soon! I don't want to transform it into A Place Where My Happiness Goes to Die.
  2. Brookside Park - 7/7/14 - The mother of all Pasadena parks.  There are not one but two playgrounds. Lots of open space for toddler adventures. The Rose Bowl Aquatic Center (which I still haven't visited - someday). And of course, there is Kidspace. Today we went to the Pirate Ship Playground behind the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center. I know I will be tempted to include Brookside Park multiple times on this list since it feels like three different parks but I shall resist temptation!  
  3. Memorial Park (the Sierra Madre edition) - 7/9/14 - A small SHADY park. The playground's main structure is simple, but Pippa played happily for 90 minutes.
  4. Tournament Park - 7/14/14 (Bastille Day! And my brother's birthday!) - Tons of shade, Pippa wandered around listlessly thanks to some wicked teething; but the park is great so we will be back. I'm sure she will love the slides and sandbox when she is not in pain.
  5. Mason Park - 7/15/14 - This was another miserable teething day. I had to drive around to help Pippa fall asleep and then schlepped to Chatsworth because I had read good reviews about this park and figured Pippa deserved a diversion from her gums.  The park is fantastic. Amazing playground, even more amazing splash pad. We shall return when Pippa's gums are not torturing her. Poor girl had zero interest in the splash pad, which is very uncharacteristic of her.
  6. Eaton Canyon Natural Area - 7/17/14 - More teething, but since we were having a lovely reprieve from the summer heat, I decided it was time for some Nature. There is a little nature museum with some snakes and bugs in terrariums and turtles outside. There are also a ton of stuffed animals (by stuffed, I mean both "taxidermy" and "cute sewn teddy bears.") There is an easy nature walk, but my teething tot was not interested in walking. Also, there were signs warning about rattlesnakes and recent bear and mountain lion sightings. So yeah, we won't be going back any time soon! (Unless we have daddy to protect us from snakes, bear and lions - oh my!)
  7. Vina Vieja Park - 7/20/14 - Another amazing Pasadena park, but this one has a bonus: there's a dog park! Pippa is obsessed with dogs and she loved watching the dogs romp around, and even got to pet a friendly chocolate Labrador; but she had even more fun at the playground. 
  8. Victory Park - 7/21/14 - The toddler area is pretty shabby, but I still love this park.  Spectacular views of the mountains, lots of open space, shade, and Pippa loves the big kid playground.
  9. Dunsmore Park - 7/21/14 - WOW! Love this place! The playgrounds are fun, clean and safe. There is a ridiculous amount of shade. And during the summer, on Mondays and Thursdays from noon-5, they fill up the little skating rink and turn it into a wading pool. It's FREE and only for kids 8 and younger.
  10. Gwinn Park - 7/23/14 - No playground, just a big ass open green space with lots of pretty old trees. Perfect place for picnics, tossing a Frisbee, cloud gazing and letting a toddler explore the world. 
As of mid-July, I have visited seven different parks which means I have 27 weeks to visit 93 parks. That's 3.44 parks/week. Chop chop, I better get a move on!

    11.  Some park in Southampton - first half of August 2014 - Pippa and I spent two weeks in New York and visited the local park many times. We both loved it, especially the ducks. We need to find a local park with feathered friends.

    12.  Garfield Park - 8/16/14 - Love love love! Easy parking. Lots of trees and shade. Great playground for toddlers. The bathrooms REEK of death, despair and diarrhea, but we shall return.

Two weeks in Southampton slowed down this project, but we are back! Watch out parks, here we come!

    13.  Central Park - 8/17/14 - Love! I can't get over how many amazing parks are so close to home. Great playground and bonus, walking distance to Old Town. Win-win.

    14.  Lacy Park - 8/20/14 - Love the new playground but the slides were too hot to use - next time we'll go in the morning. But this park is spectacular. The grounds are so lovely to wander. Also, I saw a Mom Fight.

    15.  San Rafael Park - 8/21/14 - Great playground, tons of shade, but no restroom. And if your bladder is a time bomb like mine, you will appreciate what a liability this is.

This project is fun but ridiculous - how the effity eff am I supposed to visit 100 different parks in six months?? But I love visiting new parks - new people, new playgrounds, new neighborhoods fresh air, nature. So I will soldier on, for shits and giggles, just to see how badly I end up missing the mark.