There are stages in life where you couldn’t really care less about playgrounds. When you’re a kid, you play there; when you’re a teenager, you are far too mature for such shenanigans. (Or, perhaps, you’ve been scarred by them by breaking your arm in grade three attempting a complicated monkey bar swing on rainy equipment, not that I would know.) When you’re a bit older, you have sex at playgrounds. (This I didn’t really know until finding condom wrappers underneath the slide at my local park. GUYS, it is WINTER. Go do it in your garage like NORMAL PEOPLE.) Then you get your own place and bedroom, and you only go to parks for picnics that involve more than one bottle of wine, but don’t care about playgrounds themselves, unless you go there for a family event. And then, if you’re me, you’re mostly scared of them. (We used to hold family birthdays at a park in Montrose that was enormous, and, if you’re terrified of kids falling off things like I am, it’s ridiculously alarming.) Then, you find you’re responsible for a child, and they like to get out of the house occasionally (mostly because they can’t use the internet yet), so you need to find somewhere for them to go and eat gumnuts. And sometimes, you need a selection of parks, perhaps because the one closest to you has condom wrappers underneath the slide.
But where are these parks? Are they good? Do they have equipment for little kids? Do they have equipment for bigger kids that can do things slightly more advanced than grab handfuls of tanbark and give them to you like some kind of generous gift? WHO KNOWS?
So imagine my happiness when I discovered that someone had actually bothered to make a site called playgroundfinder.com, where they point out parks on a map, and people rate them out of five stars, and put pictures up. So you can find parks near where you live, or maybe near where you’re going to be. For a boring example, we recently had to take the Rocket to Chadstone for something very important (Lord of the Fries, probably) but were worried she’d go nuts from being cooped up in her pram. So I had a look at the site, saw this place called Markham Reserve, and we went there on the way home. And lo, it was great. Sandpits, swings, slides, a million things to touch and to climb and well you get the basic functions of a playground. So she was happy, we were happy, etc etc. Today, I met up with my other mother pals, and as Teach had the car I looked for a park near a train station and we ended up here, which was actually very successful because it turned out there was a cafe RIGHT ACROSS THE ROAD, and the coffee was SURPRISINGLY GOOD. So I am finding Playground Finder tremendously useful, and they even have an iPhone app, but don’t get me started on how much I hate Apple at the moment unless you want my next post to be an UNREADABLE ALL-CAPS RANT.