RiverPlay was built when my kids were little & it was a total sensation! & it still is! It truly is an awesome park. My 8 & 10 year old still love it. & I've got a few thoughts on it for Big Kids:
Note: You know your own kiddos so I'll let you determine exactly when the term Big Kid applies to them. I think it was about 6 for us. Since this is up to you, I'm going to hold off on safety tips for the Big Kids & just tell you about the park. Okay, except one: On the way to RiverPlay I always try to talk about strangers. This is a very well populated area, lots of people walking around & through. My kids know this talk backward & forward & usually say 'We know! We know!' but that never stops me from making sure it's fresh in their minds from the start.
There's a big grassy field & a little hill on two sides of the park so we always set up there & have that be our home base. I've found that with bigger kids sometimes it's better for me to stay in one spot & then if they need something they come right to it & I can help them out. Even if I run to the bathroom or am helping the other, they can go to the spot & wait or snack. There are also several picnic tables & benches around to use for this same purpose.
I think it is hilarious that Megan didn't even mention the sand area of RiverPlay (some parents are Sand Parents & some aren't & we can still be friends & love each other :) ) So let me just say to the Sand Parents: The sand area is awesome! It's true that this park is a little crazy during the summer & the sand area is always swarming. It has this awesome river-flowing-through-a-rock thing that goes right into the sand pit. It is always full of kids building dams, creating volcanoes, making sand pies. My son spends most of his time here & usually emerges dirty & wet & tired & happy. Because of the sheer volume of children it is an excellent way to watch personality traits come out. The leaders emerge for sure, also the builders, makers & really horrible sharers :) The sand area is really big so there's plenty of room for kids who are not interested in being a part of the craziness. Throughout the sand are there are fossils buried (attached to the ground) & kids can dig & discover. So very cool!
Oh! There's also a short wall on one end of the sand area so you can sit & watch the kids play if you want to.
Big! Giant! Play Structure!
Megan mentioned how this tall structure is pretty overwhelming for parents. & I had my fair share of climbing up to rescue a didn't-realize-how-high-she-had-climbed-until-she-looked-down-and-now-I-need-my-mom-right-now-RIGHT-NOW kiddo but at around 6 they both started to get into it (Okay, that's a lie. My son loved it from the minute he set eyes on it & by 4 had the whole thing figured out & totally owned it. But I still has to watch him like a hawk at 4. At 10 he's the king of the structure & I don't have to watch his every move for fear that I will lose sight of him.) It's tall, it's cool, it's full of ladders & a climbing wall & a huge slide & shorter slides. So many parks have small or medium sized play structures & that's great some days but when your kids just need to climb to the very top of something & yell "I'm the Queen of the World!!'? Head to RiverPlay. (& if you need to do that, too, I say go for it.)
The village part of RiverPlay is just perfect for the aspiring actors, entrepreneurs & teachers in your life. The structures are cute & have fun features like little stools & pass through windows. I have spent many an afternoon being treated to a snack at the Restaurant, taught a lesson at the School & then thrown into the Jail just for good measure. & if your kiddo meets up with another imaginative kiddo? You can head back to your home base & let them go for it (or just say 'I think I'm going to stay in Jail for a while, you go ahead.')
On the days when the heat's got you dragging this is a super fun spot. Not only is it refreshing for your kids, it's super tall so adults can stand under it, too! Double score!
There are other things to climb on & under, ride on & a really cool crank handle thing that one person (or more) turn while others ride across (it's about 1 foot off the ground). There are swings of all sorts & a water fountain & bathrooms.
Basically if your kids are old enough & big enough & you're feeling comfortable with it, RiverPlay is park heaven. Have fun!
Skinner Butte Park - RiverPlay Discovery Village
210 Cheshire Ave.
Eugene, OR 97402