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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dolores Park Playground

I was searching for something to do with my son when I came across this article on the playgrounds that you have to see to believe. The list includes places all over the world, but as I got near the end, one of the featured ones was here in the city. I checked out Dolores Park Playground and it was pretty fantastic!

I mean, how often does that happen? I naturally expect things on a must-see list to be in far away, exotic places (and some of these playgrounds are), so to find one in my own city was a real treat. And since it was a Monday and both the Exploratorium and Conservatory of Flowers were closed, it helped lessen the disappointment of my little boy who had, in his mind, planned on going to one of those two places. He was a hard sell at first, but once he saw the picture he was as excited as I was. I packed up a lunch and off we went!

Even from afar the playground is super impressive. It's located between 18th and 20th Streets at Dolores, and it's in the corner of the park. As in most places in the city parking is on the street and at a premium, but I have a tiny car so that helps me in situations like these. When we first walked in it was almost sensory overload; there is so much to see and do, but we ran right to the slides. There are both a big kid and a toddler area, so there are slides in varying heights and lengths.

There are a few musical areas in the toddler area, including these large chimes. And check out those cool drums - they are bigger than the kids themselves!

It's even fun to just run around and jump over things. We had a fun time running up the hill next to the wide slide because it leads to a bridge. We played tag and hide and seek, then met a charming woman who was there with her two neighbour children. The kids ran off and played, and she told me about the playground before the renovation, when it was far less impressive. I really appreciate that the city of San Francisco puts so much emphasis on creating great spaces for our children. 

The red bridge leads to my favorite feature of the park, a giant curly slide. My son wouldn't go down by himself, so he sat on my lap, and we went down together. I could have done that all day, but he only wanted to go once. I guess there was too much else to do!

If you live in the city and you have kids, I totally encourage you to check out Dolores Park. When the weather is nice, it just makes for a perfect summer day. And when exhaustion sets in and you want to relax, Bi-Rite creamery is just a few steps away!

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