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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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King of the Slides

Uploaded: Oct 25, 2014
A couple of weeks ago I read an article about a mother and son duo who took it upon themselves to visit all of the city parks in their vicinity. The only requirement was that the park had playground equipment - 78 met that criteria.

The mother was desperate to find free entertainment for her one-year-old as she paid off her student loans and other life expenses. Unable to afford swimming lessons and other classes, she turned to the city parks.

Reading about this mother turning her son into the "king of the slides" was a wonderful reminder to be grateful for our fantastic local parks.

In the Bay Area we have such an abundance of wonderful parks to choose from that we can be extremely picky. Before my son was walking, we were drawn to the parks with large grassy areas (like Peers and Mitchell). Our kids could play with a couple of toys on a park blanket and we parents could chat. As our children became more mobile, we started to venture to parks with sand, water features and bucket swings (like Johnson and Pardee). And while pregnant with our second child, I enjoyed parks that didn't require me to climb up on the structures in order to play with and/or supervise my son (like Heritage).

As I adjust to taking care of two little ones, there is something so inviting about going to a park. Unlike a scheduled class, there is no exact start or end time, no worries about either kid being too loud, and no specific agenda - just play!

I'm not sure which parks will become our favorites during this transition from a family of three to a family of four. But I know my son will enjoy the hunt!

Which local parks are your favorites? Have they changed as your kids got older or as your family grew?
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Posted by pd, a resident of another community,
on Oct 26, 2014 at 6:20 pm

My kids loved the parks with the old 70's era equipment. I think they knew it was dangerous. There were still a few around when they were little.

Renovated parks they loved were Stulsaft in Redwood City, and the big playground at Coyote Point regional park in San Mateo.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Oct 26, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

pd - Thank you for reading and commenting. We enjoyed the large playground at Coyote Point a lot as well. My son had so much fun watching the "big" airplanes in the sky. I wish the toddler section had more shade, as we checked it out on a very hot day in the summer. But it is definitely worth the trip.

Posted by Mp, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Oct 30, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Johnson in PA and Stulstaff are our favorites, though we also have hit everyone we could find. The secret to Stulstaff is the creek trail and tree swing for slightly older kids... The 'back' entrance to huddart, the creek bed between Menlo and PA and redwood city Port are also favorites.... For day trips I'd recommend the adventure playground in Berkeley/Oakland....

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Oct 30, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mp - Thank you for sharing your family's favorite parks. We've enjoyed the water area at Mitchell park. We'll need to check out Stulstaff next summer. Johnson is lots of fun with so much to do- a large grassy area, water play, sand, concrete slide...

I never heard of Adventure Playground. Looks like an amazing place to take older children. I'll need to keep it in mind for a day trip when our kids are older.

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