Fairmount Park – E. 15th Ave. and Fairmount Blvd.

Before I dive in, first let me say thank you!  The Eugene Park Guide is one year old.  It’s been a lot of fun exploring parks and sharing them with you.  I hope that the information has been helpful to you and maybe even encouraged families to visit more parks in our beautiful city.  The outpouring of interest and support has really made me consider putting more love into this blog: instead of being a straightforward info blog.  So if you’d like to see more interesting photos or any other improvements let me know!  As of now, once a month is about what I have time for, but I hope to post a bit more frequently this summer to get my followers more information during summer break.

I have gained a lot of new followers since I started, so if you’d like to go back and visit my first post, check out Bethel Community Park.

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Ok, now onto Fairmount.  This little park is in South East Eugene, off Franklin Boulevard. It is at the base of the hill on which Hendricks Park is located (does that hill/butte have a name? Let me know if it does!) and just past the eastern edge of the University of Oregon. I have always wanted to call it FairMONT, but beware; it is FairMOUNT.  Here is your map.

Your parking will be on the street, either right in front (north side of the park), or on the side (east side of the park). There are paths to the park on either side. (left photo is north, right photo is east)

 

Even though the street curves around the park, there isn’t too much traffic, and most cars are at least slowing a bit to go around that curve.  Plus, there is enough brush, bushes, and grass to act as a barrier, so I don’t feel like the street is much of an issue.

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E. 15th street curves around the park and turns into Fairmount Blvd (there’s a stop sign at the corner that says you don’t have to stop if turning right).

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The other two edges of the park are bushes and fenced in area.  It give the whole park a nice enclosed feeling.

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If you enter on the east side, you get a nice little information kiosk, with lots of info about Hendricks park and events there.

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As you enter, there is a big grassy area.  It’s a nice little field for playing ball or running off some energy.

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The park itself doesn’t actually have a play structure, per se.  It has 4 main pieces of play equipment: A large slide, swings, a see saw, and merry-go-round.  All of these are on sand.

 

As you may remember from my Tandy Turn post, that many parks have been converted from sand to bark chips.  I’ve contacted Eugene Parks & Rec to see if they plan to change Fairmount park as well.  I’ll let you know!

The big slide is a lot of fun and there is often a line when there are many kids playing at Fairmount.

It’s a bit tall for the really little ones, and it can get a bit slippery to climb up if there’s too much sand on the steps, so watch out for that.

The see-saw is a nice old-fashioned, metal and wood teeter-totter.

I know some parents aren’t a fan of these.  They aren’t as easy for kids to use on their own as the newer style of bouncer see-saws.  I like them though. Really feel the burn in your thighs as you help your tiny toddler go up and down!

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Standard swings: 2 kid, 2 baby (bucket style seats).

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Another “classic” style feature is the metal merry-go-round.  We love stomping on it and making big noises.

Next to the play area is a nice picnic area, with beautiful wooden picnic tables and some trees for a bit of shade.  The whole park has a shady feel, although the play area itself is mainly shady in the early morning or evening, when the sun is behind the trees.  There are lots of nice benches to sit on around the park, in addition to the picnic tables.

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Pretty wood. I have no idea what kind this is, maybe someone else knows 🙂

There are also lots of Oregon Grapes around, our state flower!

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On the other side of the picnic tables is the water area: lots of fun to push the button to turn them on and run around in the water!!

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Two things I wish were better: 1. The button needs to be pressed frequently to keep the water on.  When we were there sometimes a kid or parent would just stay by the button and press it over and over for the other kids. 2. The basketball hoop is right above the water area, which created some conflict when basketball players and kids playing in the water were cramped for the same space.

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On the other side of the water is a bathroom. I was actually pleasantly surprised that it was clean and did not smell terrible when we were there, I had no problem using it.  You may want to remember your own hand sanitizer, because there was none provided, but there is toilet paper.

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Fairmount is also a location frequented by some local day cares and preschools, so some mornings there were a lot of kids there and it was very crowded.  But it’s also nice to have lots of kids around to play with and to hear so many happy voices.

If your kid likes to run and climb on play-structures, then this park may not provide them with a lot to do, but it helps if you have a ball to play in the field with or some sidewalk chalk handy.

I like Fairmount Park, it’s a nice shady little park with some old-school play equipment that can keep get you cooled down with water play.  I hope you’ll check it out!

 

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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.