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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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.