We’re the clear winners in the battle of the parks

I couldn’t write about this last week because it felt too sad, but I think it’s important to recognize that kindness, beauty and innovation still exist in a world so bruised and reeling.

Last week, two little park experts and I set off on a project to rate Appleton parks. We made a chart and intended to spend 15 minutes at each park on our list. 

We graded the parks on three categories – beauty, equipment and friends.

Mostly, we all three could not believe how lucky we are to live in a city with such an amazing variety of playgrounds. I thought we had found a clear winner when we landed at Memorial Park, which completed a $600,000 upgrade of its already fantastic universal playground in 2020. 

I loved everything about it – the accessibility, the colors, the quiet spaces, the music lessons and percussion places. That playground is so beautiful and so accommodating for everyone. Every child should be able to enjoy an afternoon swing on a bright summer day and at Memorial Park they can do that and so much more.

My teammates loved it for its giant blue slide and the ropes course you have to climb to get there.

I really think there is something for everyone at this playground – a pirate ship that moves, a climbing tree that looks like it was plucked right out of the Hundred Acre Woods, a giant hill to race your friends down and music everywhere.

We would like to note that the bathroom facilities are a challenging sprint from the equipment, but they are very nice once you arrive.

We meant to stick to our strict 15 minutes-at-each-park schedule, but  we ended up staying an hour at Memorial because there was so much to do. So, I thought this one was the clear winner.

But, Pierce Park has a zip line, and City Park has a fountain and an airplane and fire chief’s car and Erb Park is our home.

So, our experts concluded that they love all the parks and that everyone should try to play in as many of them as they can because summer is short and we need to cram as much fun in as we can.

This is the back of the giant blue slide at Memorial Park. We could have stayed there all day.
Ahoy matey! I didn’t realize the pirate ship moved until I saw that dad pushing it back and forth. This park is competely handicapped accessible so everyone can ride the pirate ship, or swing or slide. I’d like to meet the engineers who designed this wonderland.
Thankfully, the slides are built nice and wide, for us big kids. I also love the colors. So bright!
Playground in Appleton or the Hundred Acre Woods?
This giant xylophone is just one of many musical instruments around the park.
I feel like there must have been a musician on the park committee. This piece of park equipment actually teaches kids how to read music.
As I may have mentioned, our favorite was this giant blue slide.
I thought Memorial Park had won the contest for sure but we were determined park goers and we had more on our list. Pierce Park is under construction but I gave it high marks for the shaded bench area.
And my partners just loved this zip line. (I snuck back to take this picture during a rare quiet moment at the park.) Every time I’ve been here with my buddies, the place has been hopping and another benefit of this zip line is that everyone has to wait their turn.
Several parks had this contraption, a combination of a merry-go-round and climbing rope. It’s actually pretty cool to see even the littlest people work together to enjoy this ride. I’ve seen many a big kid scoop up a little kid, or call out to make sure everyone’s okay, or slow the ride down to let a reluctant rider off. If you want to see all that’s right with our young people, pop over to a city park and watch them play.
The playground equipment is a little tamer here at City Park, but at least one of our judges chose it as his favorite because it has an airplane you can ride and this beautiful fountain you can admire from a distance but NOT JUMP IN!

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