Playground Review: From A Grown Man’s Perspective

As a 200-pound man, I believe that I have a unique perspective on what makes a good playground. You see, I remember a time when most playground equipment seemed to be made specifically to cause pediatric trauma. I lived through those days, putting in some serious hours on all kinds of ill-conceived, rusty scaffolding and ropes with way too much vertical exposure. I still get out there and swing around every so often, but times have changed. The glory days are gone.

However, the spirit remains in some of the more ambitious play structures. Many of the parks in Corvallis have some really fun playgrounds, suitable for both daredevils and the timid. Here is your shortcut to the best.

Avery Park is, in some ways, the ultimate park. There are some exotic play structures here, including the dinosaur bones, a time-honored attraction. Their barely-Euclidean geometry has driven children of all ages to push the limits of their athleticism over the years. A classic test of skill is to travel the entire ring of dinosaur bones without touching the ground, or “lava.” There’s also a train, and it’s big.

Cloverland Park has a great playground for smaller children, though it is somewhat pedestrian for a child of my size. The play structures are smaller and safe-looking, and there are none of those archaic metal holdovers from the glory days.

Bruce Starker Arts Park has a newly-installed playground that is dominated by a very imposing slide. Most kids would have to take performance-enhancing drugs and train twice a day just to be able to have a good time on it. If the slide is too much, there are some wonderful climbing rocks with a sort of webbing strung between them.

Sunset Park has some unique features. An unfurled Möbius band climbing wall is the clear highlight. The playground is built over a rubber footing, which makes it feel like you can jump incredibly high.

There are numerous Corvallis playgrounds beyond those included here, offering a wealth of opportunities for stretching one’s courage and agility. A list of Corvallis parks, with links to descriptions, can be found here:

 http://www.corvallisoregon.gov/index.aspx?page=1173

By Scott Bittner

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