Posted by: natalieinne | September 12, 2008

Spielplatz #13: Westfalen Park

Westfalen Park was a large garden with various play areas, eating places, and sculptures sprinkled throughout it.  There was also a large TV tower you could go up into and see the skyline of Dortmund.  We played at several of the playgrounds, including the pirate ship style playground on the left and the water works on the right.  There were several smaller spinny and bouncy rides as well.  While you had to pay to get in, we spent most of a day wandering around and didn’t even have time to ride the train that ran through the park.

Isaac’s favorite part was the water works.  You used the pump to add water to the structure, and then had some switches to determine which direction the water moved.  Plus, you could use the sand scooper to add sand to the whole thing.

Mom’s favorite part was the flowers in the park.  They had some marvelous gardens.  She also enjoyed a cup-like spinny device because it was so easy to spin really fast.  They were slightly off balance so whenever you shifted your weight you spun around.  It was hard to stop spinning, but they were very silly to be in.

Posted by: natalieinne | September 7, 2008

Spielplatz #12: Neighborhood playground

The wire climbing structure in Dortmund

The wire climbing structure in Dortmund

Our hotel in Dortmund had a playground just across the street that was a lot of fun to play in. It had a lot of elements common to other playgrounds we found, including a soccer pitch enclosed by 30′ fences and with metal nets, a concrete table tennis table, a wire climbing area, and a sand play structure. It took Isaac a bit to figure out how to get up to the slide since you had to climb a rope ladder.

Isaac’s favorite part of the playground was the soccer pitch. We bought a soccer ball and he wanted to go out and play every day. Even after walking for miles around the city, he still had enough energy to go play soccer.

Dad liked the concrete ping pong table with the metal net. We never saw anyone playing there, though, unlike the soccer pitch.

Mom liked the sand digging and pouring area. I’m wondering if we can do something similar to our own play structure.

Posted by: natalieinne | September 4, 2008

Posting hiatus is over

Sorry we’ve been so lax in posting, but between going to Germany for 11 days (it was only supposed to be 10) and school starting, it’s been a bit crazy here. We’ve got some playgrounds in the wings waiting to be put up, including some Spielplatzes (playgrounds) from Germany. Look for them soon!

Posted by: natalieinne | August 6, 2008

Playground #11: Hoag School

We checked out the playground at the elementary school in Angola, the William T. Hoag school.  It was quite impressive, with lots of layers and another of those double spiral slides.  There were rock walls, a plastic cargo net, a variety of monkey bars to hang from, and several choices of slides.

Isaac and Alix enjoyed the double spiral slide.  There was a bit of graffitti and damage at the top, but it was a pretty fast slide.

Mom liked the central house where you could sit in the shade on the stairs or stand on the grating and still see the whole playground.

P.S.  Isaac decided to make the tag a different color for a change.  What do you think?

Posted by: natalieinne | August 4, 2008

Playground #10: Wolczak Park

We went to Wolczak Park the other day with some friends.  It’s an older park in Erie that has a newer plastic playground and an older section with metal climbing creatures.  There’s also a ball field and some swings.

Isaac liked the spiralled climbing pole you can see Alix climbing on.

Alix liked the metal climbing creatures.  There was an octopus and a bug and several random ladders that just went up and down.

Mom liked the beautiful view of Lake Erie from the top of the hill.  You could even see Presque Isle and the bay from the park.


Posted by: natalieinne | July 31, 2008

Playground #9: Burchfield Park

The grandparents took us to Burchfield Park for a picnic lunch.  This is a really cool nature preserve and art center with walking paths along the river and statuary in the park.  There’s even a free art gallery you can visit while you’re there.  Plus, there is a very fun playground – one designed for kids 5-12, and one for kids 2-5.  The playgrounds look like treehouses with a wide variety of climbing and sliding options.

Isaac enjoyed the big curly slide.  This one was so big, you spiralled around twice!  There were several other big slides as well – each one unique, and three very tall.

Alix was very intrigued by the metal sculpture cave in the sculpture garden that you can go inside.  There’s even a picnic table inside if you want to eat lunch.

Mom and Dad enjoyed the walking path (Isaac got to ride his bike on the paths) in the woods and around some lovely gardens.

Posted by: natalieinne | July 25, 2008

Playground #8: Shades Beach

Shade’s Beach has a large modern playground in it. Actually, there are two – one for young kids, and one for more adventurous/bigger kids. It is also near the beach (hence the name) with a newly designed breakwall and harbor. While you can walk out on the breakwall, the construction changed the water flow patterns such that algae tends to collect next to it so it tends to be smelly and make the beach itself unusable.

Isaac enjoyed sliding down the fireman’s pole.

Alix liked climbing onto the play structure all the different ways – stepping stones, ladder, steps.

Mom liked the path leading into the woods.  It’s about a mile and a half walk if you do the whole thing (and it’s not a loop, so you do need to go out and come back).  If you go at the right time, you may even find some blackberries.


Posted by: natalieinne | July 22, 2008

Playground #7: Splash Lagoon

We were lucky enough to win a party at Splash Lagoon, so we celebrated Isaac’s birthday there.  It was so much fun!  No pictures this time since we were too busy playing.  It’s not exactly cheap, although the half day passes aren’t too bad.  I can’t imagine staying for a whole day since we were exhausted after three hours.  While there is stuff for young children to do, it will be most for for older kids and even adults.  If you do go with your young kids, be sure to share childwatching duties so you can go down some slides yourself.

Isaac enjoyed the Frog Pond and Lava Pool, which were little pools for the kids.  They had a shelf around the edge so Alix could stand up and the adults could sit easily and were very warm.

Alix enjoyed the baby jumpers in a little pool of water.  She was on the big side for them, but didn’t want to stop bouncing in the water.

Mom and Dad loved the water slides.  Our favorites were the Shark Attack, Python Plunge, and Cyclone.  All of them were pretty great, although the Hurricane Hole was a bit rough.

While the kids had fun, neither of them liked the big bucket in the Tiki Treehouse that would dump 1,000 gallons of water every 15 minutes or so.  Luckily there was a siren to warn you the bucket was about to tip.  We certainly want to go again, although we’ll probably wait until the kids are a bit older and can enjoy the park more.

Posted by: natalieinne | July 15, 2008

Playground #6: North East school

We went to the North East school district playground with the whole family.  This is actually two playgrounds at the same location.  There is a playground for big kids with two tall slides, accessible by a climbing rock wall, a ladder, or metal hoops you walk on, a jungle gym, and swings that is set apart from the main playground.   The main playground is your typical plastic playground with all kinds of fun things to play with, including a structure for very young kids.  You can’t quite make a loop around it, but there are several slides to choose from to go down.

Isaac’s favorite part was figuring out how to do the fireman’s pole, all by himself.

Alix had a favorite loop, where she climbed up the steps, over the wobbly board (someone had to help her on this), and down the rolly slide.

Mom likes the rolly slide which is made up a series of rollers.  The heavier you weigh, the faster you go down this slide.  Plus, it’s wide enough that even adults fit.

Posted by: natalieinne | July 9, 2008

Playground #5: Presque Isle Waterworks

We went to Presque Isle to go swimming earlier this week, and stopped at the Waterworks playground on our way out. This is a rope-style playground with a slide, and rope ladders, and a rope tower to climb in.

Isaac is very excited that he can climb up to the slide all by himself now.

Alix is a little monkey and loves climbing up the tower of ropes. She can get pretty high all by herself.

Mom likes the interesting history of the Waterworks and the nearby ponds that you can read on plaques set around the area.

One little note on the playground, while there is a slide here, you can only get to it on a rope surface, so this playground is definitely not for little kids.

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