I’ve seen lots of changes to the playgrounds in San Francisco and a lot of them have been really good. Being a parent and having to take your kid out to a place where they can run around and work off some energy so they don’t destroy your house is always a good thing, but there are some places that still need help. This one is on 24th Avenue and Quintara Street.
This playground, really a mini playground has looked like this for close to 50 years. They did put in some of that spongy stuff down and have replaced the benches, but it’s still the same. For some reason it even warranted a plaque. I’m not sure why because other than a few swings, small slide and sandbox there’s really nothing else left.
It’s also not fenced in and a quick run into the streets. It is also used as a staging point for Abraham Lincoln High School’s PE teachers before making the kids run around the reservoir so when PE is happening the teachers and students don’t really care much if you’re a parent with a child there to actually use the playground. We were lucky in that we only visited this playground when our daughter was very young and she was just learning to walk. Now that she knows how to walk and can run around by herself there are plenty of other places to go to that offer much more energy releasing activities as well a mentally stimulating forms of play.
While there have been great improvements to other Sunset neighborhood parks so as Frank McCopping playground and West Sunset playground, this one has pretty much been forgotten. My suggestion to our local Supervisor Carmen Chu is to either upgrade this mini-playground or just remove it and add in a few of those concrete chessboards and leave it as a meeting place for people who often use it already as a place to meet up and have a chat. It’s a small area so you wouldn’t need much there, but leaving it in it’s current state of looking like it was built during Russian industrial era times just isn’t San Franciscan. Email Supervisor Chu or tweet her about this and maybe we’ll see something get done.
I’m not sure how Golden Gate Park slipped off my radar in the past because it’s the largest attraction in San Francisco and houses some of the best places to visit in San Francisco, so today, we’re taking a trip to the park.
Built in 1893 as the home base for the 1894 Mid Winter Fair [San Francisco’s first world’s fair] the park was a masterpiece of architectural engineering because after all, it was built on the drifting sands of the outside lands. Golden Gate park is not only the largest park in San Francisco, but in comparison is three times the size of New York’s Central Park.
When it was built the contractors had the idea of putting in easy to care for trees that grew quickly and could be used for lumber. So they chose the eucalyptus tree because of its history. Unfortunately they chose the wrong species and planted lots of blue gum eucalyptus that are of no use to the lumber industry because of their high resin content, but they do give the park a distinct odor in the springtime through fall somewhere between urinal cake and mouthwash.
The park’s main gathering place is the Music Concourse which is flanked by the California Academy of Sciences and DeYoung Museum and Japanese Tea Garden. The stage which is the centerpiece is called the Spreckels Temple of Music, which has been home to thousands of bands in the 60’s-80’s as well as the centerpiece for the stand up comedy competition that drew thousands of people from all over the world and turn the park into more of a roadblock on some weekends.
East of the Concourse is the Conservatory of Flowers which is a pleasant trip, but you can enjoy the flowers and plants outside as well as the adjacent Dalhia Garden for free. Across the street from there and a short jog are the tennis courts, DeLavega Memorial Garden and the Koret Children’s playground. The Playground is an interesting stop as it is huge and hold’s a merry go round and miniature train kids can ride as well as two marble slides that park and rec workers used to keep in shape by sliding down on waxed paper to keep them smooth and give your kids a fast ride down into the sand pile. There is also across from the playground a lawn bowling area which is similar to bocce ball, but apparently with an attitude as there are signs that remind you that bocce ball is not allowed. That’s a bit of a shame since I haven’t seen a single person lawn bowling there for years on the well kept lawns.
Tomorrow I’ll continue on with the western park of the park that has places known to many, but other places that make up the quieter end of the park a special getaway.
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