Over and over and over?
Because we do. We tend to stick to a few of our favorites - mostly ones close to home. And that's okay - they're familiar, we know what to expect, and the kiddos can interact there successfully. But sometimes I feel a little stuck in a rut. A park rut. And I wish there were advertisements for the area's parks - things like "Awesome slides for adventurous munchkins!" or "Beautiful hills to run up and down to burn energy!" or "This park has bathrooms, which makes it automatically a thousand times better than ones without bathrooms!" Also, I feel that parks should have warnings. For example: "Play area is set too close to a road!" or "There is a giant sandbox that will turn your car into a mini-beach!" (#ihatesandboxes)
So, I figured GoMomGo would be a perfect spot to investigate Lane County's most fabulous outdoor play areas. Without further ado, let's jump into our first park:
Bethel Community Park
5700 Babe Ruth Lane
Eugene, OR 97402
Here's what we love about it:
- Multiple play structures: one for smaller kiddos and one for bigger kiddos
- Super cool digger/excavator things for the truck lover in your life- Excellent water feature during the summer months
- Lovely rolling hills to climb
- Close to baseball fields and a skatepark, which gives littles a chance to check out what the big kids are doing
- A covered area that you can reserve (we've done parties there)
- Multiple picnic tables
- Great paved paths that loop around the play area and are perfect for bikes
- A variety of equipment to practice different gross motor skills. My preschooler is never bored there.
- Since the Eugene Airport is out that way, there are frequently low flying airplanes overhead.
- Not that I do this, but there is a drive through coffee stand on Barger that mama could hit on the way to play. For a mocha. As an "I got everyone out the door and they are all mostly dressed and no one is currently crying" treat. Not that I ever do that.
- BATHROOMS!! (even if there are no doors on the stalls) :)
- Ummm I am a sand grinch, and that whole darn park is sand. Sand everywhere. Sand for days. Sand for years.
- Very little shade.
Last I heard, the YMCA was thinking about adding a giant community center out on this park space, which would be terrific. Does anybody know the latest on that?
One last thought: The Bethel library branch does their family (all ages) storytime on Fridays at 10:15. The park is about six minutes away from the library. One of our very favorite days goes as follows: storytime, Bethel Park playtime, picnic lunch at the park, home to hose all the sand out of all of the places. It makes for a seriously fun day. Try it! We'd love to see you!
Parking: There's plenty of street parking, as well as a nice sized lot.
Food: Bring lots of snacks. Everyone will be hungry after all the running around. Bonus: the snacks will have a bit of natural crunch from all the sand.
Resting/Nursing spots: Several benches (although only one is shaded) and several more picnic tables. Also lots of grassy areas to spread a blanket in spots where you can still see the play area.
Cost: Free - wahoo!
Time frame: Oh man - with the swings and the slides and the mini climbing wall and the water feature and the rest of everything...just plan on camping out for days (Not really. I don't think that's legal.) ;)
One more thought. A brilliant friend of mine clued me in on a wonderful idea. Instead of bringing sand toys to play with, she takes empty, clean plastic containers. Things like yogurt and sour cream and such. That way, if they get lost, or borrowed, or whatever - it's not a big deal. Why don't I think of these things?! Thank goodness for brainy friends. Now call your friends and get out to Bethel Park!
Tomorrow Emily is doing a Bethel Park for Big Kids post... keep an eye out!
Megan Defferding is the mom to two super fun boys who love to find great stuff to do all around Lane County! Check out her blog series, Happy Adventuring, every Wednesday on GoMomGo.