Marche Chase Park – Chevy Chase St. and Regent ave.

Hi there friends!  Please enjoy another guest blog post from my friend Deborah Fike:

We visited Marche Chase Park on August 8, 2016.  

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Marche Chase Park is located just east of Autzen Stadium and the Science Factory.  It’s a very basic neighborhood park.  Not many people who don’t live here know about this place, so while you might see the occasional dog walker, you probably won’t see anyone else.  The park itself is in an established, older neighborhood.  Some of the houses and yards in the area are quite beautiful, making it ideal for a sidewalk stroll around the neighborhood.  

Ample street parking is available along both Chevy Chase Street and Regent Avenue.  I prefer to park along Regent since it’s a less trafficked street that dead-ends just a few blocks down. Here’s your map.

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The playground portion of the park has only one play structure.  (I wasn’t kidding when I said this park is basic.)  The play structure is optimized for experienced climbers, so I wouldn’t recommend this park for kids just learning to climb.  This makes this park best for kids ages 4+, although if you have a kid who either doesn’t climb well or is dangerous in high places, I’d wait until they got past that stage.  

The play structure is a great place to play pretend, whether your kids like riding pirate ships, pretending to climb mountains, or being in their own treehouse.  This side of the play structure has a simple slide and curved climbing ladder:

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To get to the top portion of the play structure, you have two options. The first option is to climb the bumpy faux rocks with no railing or support.  Even though the rocks are fake, they feel real, so it’s a great compromise between having sharp edges but really feeling like you’re climbing on huge boulders:

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Or go up the rope ladder, which is twisted and curves for an added challenge:

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If your kiddo can make it to the top, he or she will be rewarded with a steering wheel and a pole to shimmy down.  Again, great for pretending to ride the waves on a great big ship:
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Besides the play structure, the park has one bench, one picnic table, one trash can, and lots of tree cover.  No restrooms or drinking fountains here.  The other major feature of Marche Chase Park is the little wooded path:

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This path runs through a wooded tree area (complete with fallen logs) across the length of the block.  The play structure is mostly visible anywhere you are on the trail.  It’s a nice path for the kids to go “on an adventure into the forest” without parents being afraid of losing sight of them.  I’m not sure if there’s any poison ivy or oak back in the area, but there isn’t a lot of brush back there, so if there is any, it’s minimal.  My kiddos love going on these kind of hiking trips, and it helps you to get some walking exercise while playing with your children.

This park is super basic, but it does have a few advantages.  I’ve been here about five times over the last three years and have only seen two other people, so it’s quiet.  There’s not a lot of car traffic to worry about.  It’s got a lot of older trees for ample shade in the summer.  The wooded path makes this an ideal place to let independent kids go on their first solo “hike.”  And being so close to Autzen and the Science Factory, you can take a quiet break away from other, more hectic activities you might be doing in the area.

by Deborah Fike, a project manager and marketing professional with two young children.

Thanks so much, Deborah!!  I love the rock climbing structure, and my kids did too.  It reminds me of Disneyland 🙂

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Candlelight Park – Royal Ave. and Throne Dr.

This week’s post is by guest writer Deborah Fike, who also did the Pacific Park post awhile back.  I’ll be adding my thoughts as well.  Here’s what she has to say:

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Candlelight Park is in west Eugene off Royal avenue, to the west of Beltline.  It’s a fairly big park with lots of amenities: a dog park, a playground, a basketball court, a soccer field, and a short series of trails.  Here’s the park on google maps.

There is parking all along the street on Welcome Way and Throne Drive. Parking on Throne Dr. will put you closer to the play area and dog park .  It shouldn’t be hard to find a spot unless there’s an event going on. The park is in a very nice, newer neighborhood, and all the people I have met on the park on three different trips were incredibly friendly.

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Melanie says: If you park near the dog park, there is a neat little community board.

When you turn on Throne Dr. from Royal Avenue, the first thing you will see is the enormous dog park.  The dog park is divided into two sections and is separated by a creek from the rest of the park (although I have never seen water in the creek).  The dog park has a lot of plastic chairs for owners to sit on and some wading pools.  Whenever we’ve gone, there are always lots of people out with their dogs, so even though I have never used this part of the park, it seems pretty popular.

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Just north of the dog park is the playground:

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For swings, we have two kid swings and one baby swing. 

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You can also see the trash cans, bike racks, picnic tables, and a water fountain

Two bouncers and a climbing fire truck.

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A merry-go-round.

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Melanie says: The merry-go-round seemed a lot higher compared to ones in other parks.  My almost two-year old couldn’t get on it by himself (he usually can).  Not a huge deal, but it did make me think I wouldn’t want anyone to fall off of it!

And the highlight of the park, the large climbing play structure.  For any kid who loves to climb, this thing has it all.  You can climb by a circular rope ladder and a climbing wall:

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You can also climb up more traditional ladders, up stairs, and through a tunnel with little windows.

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Melanie says: My younger son always loves the wheels!

For kids with more upper body strength, you can be a monkey on this twirling hanging bars.IMG_1571

And there are slides for everyone.  A double slide for two kids to go down at once.

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Plus the big granddaddy slide that gives you a nice twisty ride from the tallest point of the play structure.

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If your kids aren’t much for climbing, there’s plenty of park benches for eating and a basketball court with two hoops.

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Beyond that is a very large soccer field with two nets.

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If your kids like to go “on adventures” like mine do, there is also a short trail system that connects the back-end of the kids’ playground and the dog park together.

There’s even a cool little bridge going over the (dry) creek.

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Dry Creek Bed.

 The playground itself doesn’t have a lot of shade, though, which will make this a very hot place to be in the worst of the summer heat.

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Melanie says: I agree, these small trees might make good shade some day, but not yet!

 It also doesn’t have any public bathrooms, so make sure the kids go before you leave the house.

All in all, I love this park.  I often go here with my kids after a trip to the WinCo on Barger.  It offers a lot without having any sand or water features, which can be nice in the summer when you really don’t want to have to clean up after a park trip.

by Deborah Fike, a project manager and marketing professional with two young children.

Melanie Says:  I love how this park is surrounded by fields.  We aren’t a big dog family, but we were never bothered by any dogs, and it’s fun to watch them play in the designated area.

 

Royal avenue is a busy street, and it’s a bit loud, but it’s nowhere near the play area, so that was OK.

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We enjoyed this park too.  It’s in a nice neighborhood, has fun structures, and places to explore.  Thanks for the write-up, Deborah!

 

Oakmont Park – 2295 Oakmont Way

Oakmont park is right across from the Oakway Center Mall on Oakmont Way. Here’s the map.

I think that’s kind of the best thing about this park.  Grab a coffee at Starbucks, browse Old Navy, then stroll over to the park to let kids blow off steam.  Then you can head back to the mall for a potty break any time.  It’s a busy area, but that means a lot of people and company for your outing.  The crosswalks are well marked, and there’s parking on the street by the park if you don’t need to visit the mall.
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This park has wood chips under the taller play structure.  Here’s the nice rock-wall.

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Then we have our large sandy area with the smaller structures; bouncers, a little car (complete with two steering wheels which, while impractical for real cars, is advantageous for play cars with two or more drivers).  Lots of picnic tables and benches too.

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The raised, soft walkway separates the sand and bark chip areas.  It’s a little hard to navigate for new walkers, but they figure it out.

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I love this little house in the sandy area.  It’s a nice place to retreat to if it starts to rain.  It can also be a castle, restaurant, or cave, if needed.

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I haven’t actually been here when this water area is on and working, so perhaps we will revisit this park later.  If you have some feedback on the water area, comment below! Aren’t those mosaic animals beautiful, though?

There is a large field and paths to explore that lead to other neighborhoods.  A basketball hoop, water fountain (not on in the winter), trash can, and bike racks.  There’s also a quaint little hill for contemplating life and watching the construction at the Mall.

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One path leads to Frontier dr.

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And the other leads to Bedford Way.

So, I do like this park a lot, but there are some things about the play structure that I should mention.  First of all, it’s not a great set-up.  The things that the littlest kids will like the best are harder to get to, like the car wheel that’s at the very top of the structure

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…or the smaller slide that’s not easy to get to either. You have to go across this bridge:

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Now, I’m not opposed to challenging my kids.  I consider myself a pretty “free-range” parent and I like to let my kids explore on their own.  But, that being said, I think some kid has fallen off this thing every time we’ve been there.  It’s Eugene, it’s wet, there’s only a hand rail on one side.  I’m not opposed to the occasional cut or scrape, but I don’t actually want my kids to fall all the time. Same goes with the bouncy bridge:

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There’s such a huge gap between the railing and the bridge, I’ve seen kids fall off this one too.  The metal is slippery, unlike some of the wooden bridges at other parks.  My little 18 month old wants to go across this and it’s a little scary.  But I can’t blame him because all the stuff he wants to do is across these bridges!
So, not my favorite play structure. (By Game Time, btw, if you’re keeping score)
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There are a few other neat things

A steep tunnel, some unique monkey bars and a wavy mirror to name a few.

There is a spinny thing:
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I don’t know what those are called, if you know, please comment below.  Anyway, this one is a bit taller than usual, which is either more fun, or harder to use depending on your child.  There’s also a baby swing and kid swing.  So, if you’re kids are big on swings, this is not the park for that.

All in all, I like this park and I’ll continue to visit it, in spite of the high fall ratio.  I guess that’s just the kind of mom I am.

 

 

Gilham Park – Park Wood Dr. and Lakeview Dr.

Gilham Park has got it’s groove back!  And by that I mean that a few things that were missing are back. But I’ll get to that in a moment.

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Link to Google Map Result:
http://tinyurl.com/otw6ewx

Just a word of caution when heading to this park: when I type “Gilham park Eugene” into google maps, the first thing that comes up is the nearby “Gilham Elementary School Soccer Field.” Thanks Google! Not quite.  In fact, I think a few friends have gotten lost thanks to that, so here is the disclaimer right away: Don’t go to Gilham Elementary School! This park is nearby, and in fact, you can see the school across the field, but it’s not the same place. Also, guess what? This park is not actually on Gilham Road.  Haha, good joke Eugene!  I’m always a fan of parks named after the area they are in and not the road they are on so it seems like they should be on the road that there name is and NO THAT’S NOT CONFUSING At ALL.

So, check out the link above or just go down Lakeview Dr. to Park Wood Dr.  You will know you are in the right place if you see tall pine trees and very large houses.  Like, super really nice big houses. So, it’s a nice neighborhood, I’ll just say that.

Wheel Chair Accessible parking spot and parking on a relatively quiet street.
Wheel Chair Accessible parking spot and parking on a relatively quiet street.

Gilham park has both sand and bark chips, with water play in the summer.

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There’s a bouncer back there too.

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If you’re like my son, you will notice the excavator first thing.  This was a nice little surprise for us because the excavator had been “out of order” for a very long time!  I was afraid they would take it away because people might complain it’s too “dangerous.”  Now it is back and actually less dangerous! It’s closer to the ground, so lots of kids will be able to play on it without their parents worried that they will face-plant right into the metal construction tool.

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His feet can touch the ground!

The other thing that has made a triumphant return is the Merry-Go-Round!  This has been gone for a long time, maybe a year?  I figured they’d be replacing it with some “safe” equipment made out of plastic.  But, behold, it is back in all it’s fast, metal glory. Around the Merry-Go-Round and winding through the park are paths with soft blue rubber.  I really like how soft these are for little crawling babies and mama’s aching feet.  A nice alternative to the bark and sand area.

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Also pictured: quite a few nice benches for sitting and trash cans too

Behind the Merry-Go-Round is a bridge, that is very fun to run across, and some little paths in the trees.  It’s not like you are very far from the street or park, but it is a pleasant little area.

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The play structure is one of the Kompany sets and it is also in the sandy area.  This can make it a little slippery at times.

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In the bark chip area is a baby and kid swing and a big bouncer.

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Also this odd tunnel thing.  It kind of reminds me of a rib cage of dinosaur bones.

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There is a nice large field and the school beyond that.  If you come on a school day, and the kids are at recess, this does make your little preschooler wish he could go play with them.  In fact, I’m sure some little kids would be sad or even dart off to go join them, so keep that in mind if you have a runner.

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It’s back there and you can hear those kids having lots of fun! There’s also some nice picnic areas and trees in the field.

Here is something new I noticed: a mosaic four square court.  Also, the water fountains and bike racks.  No bathrooms here.

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I leave you with some cute kid chalk art, just because.

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Irwin City Park – W. Irwin Way, off Barger

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https://www.google.com/maps/place/Irwin+City+Park/@44.0878319,-123.1845031,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x54c11ce3371ba23f:0x56d17666c9f96830?hl=en

When I first headed west on Barger I turned down the first Irwin street I saw, which turned out to be E Irwin way.  Trust me, don’t do that, or you will park here…

crappy parking
crappy parking

It’s not terrible, but you’ll be missing out on this great, shaded, ample parking lot.

oooh, nice
oooh, nice

When you have kids in the car, you don’t want to park on the side of the road.

At Irwin, you will come to a nice little covered area.

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I love the tiles in some Eugene parks.

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I like that you can hang out in a covered area that is right next to the play structure!

20150725_102623lots of shady benches around too, this park has good shade.

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A great climbing wall here

do it!
do it!

This play structure has a great tunnel, lots of bars for swinging, super slide and small slide, funny mirror, and a bouncy type, see-saw thing…

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Fun tunnel time!!!

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Bouncer? See-saw? or both?

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the standard two baby swing, two big kid swing set-up

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Twice the dizzying possibilities of the standard Eugene park

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There’s a lot to do in this park.  Did you bring a basketball or baseball?  There’s a basketball court and a baseball diamond.  Both are in pretty good shape.  The basketball hoop has a nice looking net and the baseball diamond seems to be pretty well-kept and smooth.
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Let’s take a walk beyond the basketball court, shall we?

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nice little trail, benches, and field out here.

Let’s go the other way too, beyond the play structure.

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a little bumble-bee, wildflower action.

20150725_111213 20150725_111827 20150725_111537 neat little bridge.
Found these discarded clothes by the bridge, not sure what it is, looked like someone just threw out a bunch of clothes (maybe stolen clothes that someone didn’t want?)  But mostly I was happy with the lack of debris and litter in the field area, it was very pleasant.

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I think Irwin makes a nice park for a playdate.