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Posts Tagged 'play'

Cabrillo Playground

Cabrillo PlaygroundFinding a nice playground for your kids is a bit more difficult today. Kids need more today than the swings and slide that I used to get on what was called a playground. Thankfully there are a few new playgrounds popping up that keep this in mind and today we got to visit the newly renovated Cabrillo Playground.

The main thing with playgrounds is that they have to be fun. That’s pretty much all the kids are interested in while the parents are hoping it will be so much fun that the kids will tire themselves out so they won’t tear up the house when they get home. Well I have to say that our playground tester Rebecca didn’t hesitate when she saw the playground. Autistic children can sometimes have something that sets them off by new places, but there was no problem here.

The second she got inside she was running for the play structures and jumping and sliding around on everything. The biggest thing we noticed was that she was interested in trying everything here. Usually she just focuses on one part of a structure or finds one slide, but here it was everything she had to try out. Granted it was a weekday so it wasn’t super crowded, but there were lots of kids and all of them seemed to understand that running around and crashing into other kids wasn’t what you do in a playground. This was a good thing.

It was fun for Wife and I as well as we got some exercise chasing Rebecca around and the place overall is very nice and kept clean. I’ve often wondered about what thought people put into building playgrounds. Sand just gets everywhere and it seems like other than the occasional boy the sandbox areas are ignored by the kids [I won’t ask how the local feral cats like the sandboxes, but that’s probably part of the reason why you do see many anymore.] Then you have playgrounds shaded by trees. While that’s nice on a hot summer day for some reason they only seem to make playgrounds like that in parts of the City that are normally foggy and cold which causes a large collection of leaves and bark from the tree which break down under foot and create a nice healthy mulch. Well, it would be nice and healthy if anything was supposed to grow there, but it’s a playground, not a forest.

Thankfully, Cabrillo was well thought out since it’s in the middle of a residential block without looking like the old Russian industrial playgrounds as I used to call them. The playgrounds used to have just a depressing look about them and Cabrillo’s redo doesn’t have any of that. There are tennis courts and basketball courts that are separate from the play area along with the brilliant idea of using pavers to form hopscotch areas off to the side. I’m not sure if anyone even plays hopscotch anymore, but it just seemed like an easy addition that might make a retro comeback in the future. There’s also a concrete ping pong table that has very modern look [as opposed to Russian industrial] that I’m surprised no one ever thought of before. The net is made of punctured metal which would let you use it as a table if you were having a party there and afterwards you would just need to hose it off if you spilled anything on it. This would explain the drain holes in the ground around it. Whoever designed this did their thinking.

Around the outside of the playground which is fenced in with about a 20′ high fence are planted areas with lots of annual flowers mixed with a few perennials. It adds a nice touch and is done in such a way that kids would have to work hard to get at them. Inside planting are made up of succulents and other hard to kill plants which also just makes sense in a high traffic area.

If you have a kid, you’ll want to check this place out. The best thing is that it’s free and it’s clean. There’s nice drinking fountains and bathrooms here as well as cans out in front for people walking their dogs to deposit the waste. It’s a big plus for the neighborhood  and if you don’t mind driving to the outer Richmond it’s worth the time. Just be sure to bring some coffee and snacks as you’ll be there for awhile and you’ll have a few blocks walk to get to food and drink. You can see more in the gallery below.

The Doelger Center

Since our daughter has two weeks off from pre-school we have to find something to do with her so she doesn’t build up enough energy to explode. So this morning we decided to take her to the California Academy of Sciences. Unfortunately we left a little before noon and the garage was full which means that the Academy would be full as well. Since our little one doesn’t like big crowds too much we made a change in plans.

Now normally I try to focus on San Francisco, but the Doelger Center is almost San Francisco because it’s right over the boarder into Daly City right before you get the Westlake. The Doelger Center is open on Wednesdays from 12pm-2pm and Fridays from 10am-2pm, but this was the last day it would be open before the end of the year.

If you have kids, this is a great place. For only $4 you can stay as long as you like. They have a bouncy house which for the $4 is worth it alone, but they also have lots of other soft play mats and climbing structures for the kids to play with as well as tricycles, slides, hula hoops and a few other things. While the bouncy house is always there some of the slides and climbing structures change depending on whims of the two guys from Daly City Park and Rec who run the place, but they always do a good job.

On my first outing here I was a little horrified to see regulation basketballs for the kids to play with [recommended ages are 5 and under] and then I picked one up and realized it was half flat. All the balls aren’t fully inflated. So I had to do a test. I had the friend I had taken my daughter with hit me in the face with the ball. It hurt, sort of, but I’ve been hit in the head with a fully inflated basketball and that hurt worse.

[mappress mapid=”14″]What I really like about this place is that it encourages the kids to think about how to play. They can use all the “stuff” to create their own play space instead of here’s your playground and this is how you’re supposed to play. One day I had about 6 kids laying down on a giant parachute as I pulled them around the gym. Luckily there was another Dad who helped out and took over for me so we could switch off without having a heart attack. You have your regular groups of Moms there and they all are very friendly and don’t seem to mind if your kids “interact” [that’s the term I like to use for crashing into each other]. They understand that kids are going to be kids. My daughter reached into one woman’s bag of tortilla chips from Chipotle one day to help herself and she laughed it off.

One of the fun things too about the Doelger Center is that around Halloween and Christmas they do a little extra. Halloween has a costumed parade of all the kids and ends with a bag of candy for each of them. Christmas, and this was my first experience of it here, they had a Santa giving out toys to all the kids. I did notice a bit of an Irish brogue as he talked and realized that he was probably a friend of the “Irish Mom’s Club” which is a group of Irish women who tend to sit together and talk while their kids wreak havoc on the place. I tried to keep our daughter away from Santa figuring that he only had enough toys for the kids in that group, but one of the Mom’s told me that they had enough presents for all the kids. Good thinking. You wouldn’t want to have your kid meet Santa only to be told he forgot her present.

Afterwards our daughter decided it was time to visit Chipotle for lunch. We drove down the block to Westlake and split a steak burrito bowl and chips and guacamole between the three of us [after all the burrito bowl gives you more than half your days calories]. Total cost for this outing? under $15. Now that’s a deal to take advantage of.