I’m going to try to do a weekly post featuring one of the many playgrounds in Pinellas County since there doesn’t seem to be a repository anywhere online. Here are my general guidelines for a good park for my toddler:
- Shade. It can be a tent covering the play equipment or trees, but it has to be out of the sun. We live in Florida and it gets hot as Hades.
- Containment. Fenced in playgrounds are my favorite since the Hen is fast and I like to occasionally (who am I kidding, often) take breaks while he’s playing.
- Distance. Right now, Henry fall asleep if we are in the car for more than 15-20 minutes so I’m trying to stay as local as possible. If he falls asleep, it’s like death for naptime and makes for a VERY long day.
- Variety of Play Equipment. I prefer there to be things for younger kids and older kids to enjoy. Since Henry has already mastered most of the 2-5 year ones, I like for him to have a challenge.
- X-Factor (for lack of a better term). This means that there’s a hiking path, splash pad, etc. available at the park that makes it even more awesome than average.
First up: the unnamed playground located at the Holland G. Mangum Recreation Complex in Seminole (located approximately at 9100 113th St N, 33772). It’s a fantastic smallish play area entirely fenced in with tents above the main play areas, which is perfect for blocking the hot Florida sun. There are places to climb, hang, and slide, as well as benches to eat snacks. I also love the AstroTurf that the City recently replaced (it’s so soft you don’t really need shoes, but I make the Hen wear them anyway because rules). The main issue is the swings: they are not in the shade and like all black swings, they get mega hot in the sun. The City recently planted trees adjacent to the swings, but it will be a while before they provide shade. We play at this park on an almost weekly basis since it is so close to our house. Obviously, I love it.
It’s part of a large complex that has sports fields, basketball courts, swimming pool and splash pad, and recreation center, but since we don’t live in the City limits and aren’t members, we haven’t used any of these facilities.