Thursday, May 28, 2009
Maxwell Park is located between Parkside Junior High and Normal West on Parkside and Gregory St. The website (http://www.normal.org/Gov/ParksAndRec/Facilities/MaxwellPark.asp) says it's a 125 acre park. It includes the Champion Fields softball complex, 6 lighted tennis courts, playground equipment for all ages, a larger pinic shelter (available for reservations), restrooms (we'll get to that in a minute), a completely fenced in dog park, 18 hole frisbee golf course, a 12 pit lighted horseshoe court (I thought horseshoes were banned like yard jarts...HA, remember that FUN and scary game?), 3 small picnic shelters, basketball court, and hiking trails. It has lots of trees for shade and benches for mommies (or daddies, or whoever) to sit. As I mentioned before, it does have a "restroom"...I wouldn't call an open room with 3 stalls and NO doors a place I would rest. How restful could "going" in front of people really be? But at least it has a bathroom though...I am still almost speechleess that Bittner park does not have one...seeming how I drink most of my meals, a bathroom is crucial (and no, I am not talking about alcohol, people...if I didn't drink a smoothie every morning for breakfast, I wouldn't get to eat - there is no time to sit and eat a meal with 2 small children -so many parks, garage sales, and other things to do! Caffiene and water are also a key part of my semi-successful parenting - so needless to say, I "drink" a lot and bathrooms are important). So...safety...it's a big park so got to keep a close eye on your peeps. It's also close to a somewhat busy road. But the playground seems safer than most. A place to go...well...to the bathroom...check. Picnic area...check. Lots to do...check. Clean...check. We give this park 4 and 1/2 stars! (would have given it 5 if the bathroom stalls had doors...)
"Littlier" kids play area (sign says 2 -5)
"Bigger" kid play area
Some swings (one is hanicapped accessible), a digger and other things...
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Reece smiling as she buckles the buckle all by herself for the first time in this stroller.
Brody's first time at a "late" (well, late to us) night party on Memorial Day. I think it was probably 9pm here and he was still happy (and cute)
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Bigger play area (see rock wall with openings). Also off to the left you can see this big thing hanging down and then a seat. It was a really neat swing type thing that I hadn't seen at any of the other parks. Reece sat on it and basically wrapped her legs around the pole and held onto it and you spin them around. I thought it was pretty neat!
Back side of big play area...lots of things to climb on
Smaller play area...this was one of the nicer (and really cute) smaller play areas I have seen.
Reece getting ready to go down the slide...
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Anderson Park has a tennis court, basketball court, softball/baseball diamond, 2 pavillion/picnic shelters, 2 large playground areas and restroom (in between the two play areas). This park is rather large with plenty of things to do. It has lots of shade, picnic tables, benches and areas to sit and relax (that is until you see the playground). This particular week we brought our first special guest - cousin De-de (Kennedy), Tate, and Aunt Jo-Jo.
The smaller playground on the west side of the park (closest to the aquatic center) posted a sign that said the playground was for ages 5 to 12. This I thought was interesting as we had two 2 year olds that just came from the bigger (much scarier) playground area where I didn't see a sign posted. I liked how the smaller playground had tubes that had to be climbed to get to the higher, more dangerous play area. This meant, our two year olds could not access that area without our help.
The larger playground area (on the east side of the park) was quite the match for fearless 2 year olds. As a mother watching, I am pretty sure I was on the edge of a heart attack nearly every second. This playground reached heights of I'd say at least 15 feet (Jodi, keep me honest here)...I certainly couldn't touch my little girl as she dangled her foot out of one of the many openings (which contained a rock wall, rope, pole, etc)...at any rate...an opening at which my 2 year old had no fear of. If you could have only seen Jodi and I running from end to end with our arms in the air...my palms sweat as I re-live this image. There were a couple of baby swings and even a handicap accessible swing. There were 7 BIG slides (which I got the priviledge of seeing my daughter shoot out of like a cannon ball in a cannon) and a few small ones. There was a bathroom but it was quite the walking distance from either play area and it was not very clean and had no soap!
I am giving this park 3 1/2 stars...I did like it but it just may be a few years til we go back.
Smaller playground on the East side of park (see the tube under the slide that they have to climb to get to the higher parts)
higher parts with openings...
Monday, May 18, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Again, I welcome your feedback, comments, suggestions, etc. A couple of things to note...I have made the address of the park a link to mapquest. Also, we have realized there are so many parks in Bloomington Normal that there is probably no way we could visit them all in just one summer. So, there might be weeks that we visit two (of course there might be weeks we can't visit at all)...and who knows...maybe we will continue on our adventure next year. Right now, we'll just take one year at a time.
That building in the back is the restroom and meeting room
This is the smaller play area...
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Getting Reecey to pose for a picture these days is like finding a pair of baggy jeans at a Kenney Chesney concert...it ain't happenin'. The girl is always on the go so this is catching her in action. One major advantage of them being at this helpless stage in their life is that I get to pick out their clothes...so of course they are going to wear their "I love mommy" shirts on Mother's day - DUH! I better enjoy it while it lasts!
Here's the happy bunch...
My handsome (and non-mobile) child...
And now for the Brady Bunch...
The 3 girls...Reece (2), Gracie (2 weeks) and Kennedy (2)...look at these faces...I feel sorry for poor little Gracie already.
The boys...Tate (8 weeks), Bo (21 months), Brody (7 months)
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
- Basketball Court (be sure to bring your own ball)
- Picnic shelter
- Softball field
- Swimming pool
- Tennis court
- Skate Board park/area
- Baseball field
A couple of good features about this park is that there is a pavilion close by with picnic tables and there are a few benches for mommies to watch their kids. There were plenty of things to do for several different age groups. I'd say the playground itself was more designed for ages 3 and up. Reece did fine being 2 but she did struggle a bit on the rock climbing wall and also got stuck in some of the tubes. There were only two baby swings and one was broken. The play equipment itself seemed clean but the ground was littered with garbage and cigarette butts even though there were 4 Bloomington Rec vehicles and a dozen workers on the scene working on...well...something I suppose. Another downside to this park is the location of the restroom. It took several minutes to walk there and with a potty training child that could be disastrous. It was also not well marked (I wasn't sure we were even walking to a restroom) and it wasn't "baby" friendly. Overall, we give this park 3 stars! See ya next week!
Main playground area with rock climing wall and 4 slides.
Other side of playground showing swings and picnic area (in the back)
And of course a few of the kids having fun...
Monday, May 4, 2009
Brody blowing "raspberries" during his bubble bath...
Watch out for the floating head...maybe just a tad too much water.
Reece loves taking a bath with her brother...and he enjoys it too...look at him trying to see her. The joy on his face every time he sees her is so adorable.