I've got to be honest. I wasn't feeling particularly "parky" today. At the very last minute, I decided to just visit the park nearest my home because I really didn't want to go at all! So, to Oceanway Park we went! This park is on Sago Avenue, off New Berlin Rd., nuzzled back behind Winn-Dixie, and across the street from Oceanway Assembly of God. The seclusion is kind of nice, but I also thought it would lend itself well to lots of nighttime teenage shenanigans! As a former teenager and middle school teacher, I think I know what I'm talking about. ;)
As I was pulling in to the parking lot of this place, I thought that surely this was some Northside gem that I'd been missing out on! It was 10 a.m. on Monday morning, and the parking lot was pretty full! Who else could be there but a bunch of stay-at-home moms and little kids, right!?. WRONG. Oceanway Center, Park, and Pool apparently has quite the hopping Senior Center!
You can't really see the sign, but it says "Oceanway Senior Center." The Senior Center is positioned just behind the playground. Because of this, I saw lots of grandmother and grandfatherly eyes watching over us. No one looked particularly unkind, but we were the only people in the area in our particular demographic. It was pretty funny, and I kind of felt like a spy, taking my pictures surreptitiously so as not to arouse suspicion. ;)
This is the playground area at Oceanway. On the City of Jacksonville's site, it says there are three pieces of playground equipment. In my park adventuring, I have found that this usually indicates three completely separate pieces of equipment. At this park, I could only find two. I found this big guy (above) and a swing set (below), which was off in another area.
Ephraim was brave today and not only approached the swings, but let me put him on the seat on his stomach. He didn't actually go back and forth while lying on his stomach, but he declared it a "fun ride" nonetheless! Baby steps.
Back to the playground. Ephraim had a lot of fun on the equipment. There were several slides and tubes to climb through. This equipment honestly did not look quite as new as the other parks we've visited, but it was not in disrepair. It was a bit faded, but everything was in good working condition. My suspicion is that this stuff doesn't get used very often! :) This place is obviously doing an awesome job catering to local seniors, and this may be more their niche than stay-at-home moms with little people in tow. The playground had fewer than ten pieces of litter, and I wouldn't say it was dirty, but again, in comparison to the other places we've visited, they unfortunately had the most garbage. My theory is that the older folks were keeping a watch on us because young whippersnappers come up into the park and leave garbage all over the place. Perhaps they wanted to be sure we didn't contribute to the problem. ;)
So, Ephraim had fun at the playground, but it was honestly nothing to write home about. On a positive note, there was plenty of shade and picnic tables with grills surrounding the area. Opposite the Senior Center, the back doors of the Community Center flanked the other side of the playground. I know we had a church party at this Community Center several years ago. I didn't have kids then, so I don't think I paid a bit of attention to the playground. Now though, I thought that it would be a nice place to host a birthday party, especially in the summer. You could rent out the community center and have food, cake, and ice cream inside. The space is basically just a big, open room. You could keep the back doors open to the playground and let the kids go crazy in the heat!
Oceanway also has a nice big pool for summer fun!
And there are plenty of docks and water access areas for fishing! (Beware the "alligators"! I thought it was funny that they put that in quotation marks. hahah)
Ephraim's cheesin' since there are no other kids around!
There was a bit of graffiti inside this dock area. I didn't really see any crude language, though. It was mostly "So-and-so loves such-and-such" and several messages for Cody to call someone at a particular number. Sure hope Cody found his message!
This pathway led to more docks and fishing areas. This is behind the Senior Center, and this was when I REALLY felt like a spy. There weren't any windows on the back of the Senior Center building, so a couple of fellas came outside and were standing on a back patio area keeping an eye on us. hahah! I'll try to assume the best and guess they were just watching to make sure neither of my kids hopped in the water to swim with "alligators." They were just being watchful, right!? ;)
Below, you will see that Oceanway also has basketball courts, tennis courts, a garden, a baseball field, and a covered pavilion. It was neat and had different features than many of the other parks we've seen.
In the evenings, these basketball courts are ALWAYS busy!
The website says that there are trails at this park. I didn't find them.? If they are there, maybe they are not clearly marked, or maybe they are just difficult to find.? Either way, that's a negative in my book. :(
So, I've got to be completely honest about this place. In comparison to the other parks we've visited, which were geared much more toward children, it wasn't all that great. They are obviously wildly successful at the demographic they are trying to reach, though. If you are a sassy 70-year-old, hit that place up! I could see through the windows that they were playing pool and doing other activities, so that seemed fun. If you're a mom with a couple of little kids, maybe not?. I will likely be back either way, though, just because it's in my area. :)
Here is Oceanway's website, and below are its amenities as listed on the site.