Monday, April 11, 2011

Great Park Adventure - Arlingwood Park

First, I need to apologize. To those of you who asked me to let you know where I was going this week, I COMPLETELY dropped the ball. I hurt my back somehow, most likely as a result of sleeping in awkward positions to accommodate so-and-so. I'll leave it at that so that you can wonder if I mean Aspen or Quincy. I was undecided up until well beyond the last minute if I was going to go at all, but then I decided that since my back was hurting, it would be worth it to really wear out the kids and get a good naptime from them. ;) So, an hour later than normal, to Arlingwood Park we went! This is another one of those parks where I'm sure I played as a child, although it was also much different, and much nicer.

As soon as we drove up, I thought, "Oh no, I have made a HUGE mistake." Why, you ask? Well, apparently the church/school next door uses this park as their playground. To hear Ephraim tell it, there were NINE kids there. Really, there were about 40 kids there and 9 teachers! Naturally, as soon as he saw the crowd, he was thrilled! I couldn't turn back. He generally does great with other kids and is not the problem. The difficulty comes with the wobbly walker whom strange little girls adore and feel the need to pick up, hug, hold hands with, etc. It was a very hot day and most of the teachers spent their time gathered under the shade of the covered pavilion. As a former teacher, I fully understand that this was probably their only "break" of the day and cannot fault them for that. So, that left me to navigate the children with my little ones and just tell all the little ladies that my little lady was off limits. ;) Ephraim fell right in with the other kids and had a blast. The children all seemed to be between ages 3-5, so it really was the perfect age group to blend with.

Anyway, here is our photographic journey. I didn't get a lot of wide shots because I felt weird about taking pictures of all the school kids. I waited until recess was over to get some of those. ;)

My main criticism of this park is that we had to park about 1/4 mile away from the entrance to the playground area, walk around the tennis courts, past a large ditch, and down the round a little way. Also, if you haven't already guessed, my other criticism/warning is that it is also used as a playground for the private school next door. Buyer beware! ;) I did see some graffiti, particularly in the "little kids" portion of the park, with several choice words. Also, this park did not offer much shade.

The positives, though, were that the park was very clean, the children were friendly and well behaved, the teachers were really paying attention and intervened when necessary, there are lots of things for kids to do, and my kids had tons of fun. It's worth checking out, in my opinion!

(Ephraim took this shot. Isn't it beautiful and dramatic? "Going to the park in a child's eyes!")

(Here's one with a glimpse of the other kids in the background. You can probably see their shadows in other shots because those little girls hovered around Aspen like moths to a flame!)

(After recess was over!)

(You can see some of the graffiti at the top. I cut off the choice words.)

(Ephraim's under there. Aspen thought this was HILARIOUS!)

(The walking trail, ditch, and tennis courts.)

Here are the park amenities, as listed on the City of Jacksonville's website, and here is its webpage.

PS - Since I dropped the ball, here's your heads-up! Next Monday at 10am, we'll be heading to the 9A/Baymeadows Regional Park. Hope to see you there!

1Bike racks
1Multiuse Field
1Picnic shelters
4Picnic Tables
6Playground Equipment
2Tennis Hard Lighted
6Trash Barrels
YesDrinking Fountain
YesPerimeter Site Fencing
YesSecurity Lighting

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