Welcome to the first of our new series of local playground reviews. For those just joining us, here is the initial idea.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Slides
Location: 180 Elizabeth Street in Hartford, at the north end of Oxford Street. (Note that 180 Elizabeth is not a real address, but seems to work on Google Maps)
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
The playground at Elizabeth Park is ideal for younger children, and also has equipment that the older kids find interesting. Close parent supervision is recommended as there is no enclosure around the play area and the surroundings are active with both people and vehicles.
Playscape: There are three different playscapes in close proximity, each designed for children of different ages. The smallest was easily navigated beginning at about age 1.5 and included steps up to a four foot high platform with three different slides. The second installation is larger, with higher platforms and steeper slides in addition to different climbing options. Finally, the tallest piece of equipment has a horizontal zip-line and rings with a more challenging ladder leading up to a high slide. All three pieces are in good condition; they’re fully functional, though showing signs of wear from the significant activity they receive.
Swings: Two swings are available near the playscapes; both are designed for smaller children with the larger seats that contain leg-holes. They are a popular option and provide an opportunity to talk about taking turns and sharing.
Other Stuff: This portion of Elizabeth Park is basically a large sloping field with a couple of activity areas set up around the perimeter. The playground area also has a large sand pit, though I have never seen anyone actually playing in it. There are two basketball courts and a baseball diamond in the immediate area.
Facilities: There is usually a port-o-potty in the vicinity of the playground, but there are no permanent structures or buildings.
Social Opportunities: There are almost always other kids at the playground, so social interactions are frequent. Our experiences have all been good – everyone is generally friendly. Parents are usually paying attention to their kids and are quick to instruct their children to be aware of, and careful around, the babies. All of the equipment is closely spaced, so it is common to see larger kids moving quickly between the different sets as they chase each other around.
Potential for Escape: High – escape is possible in just about every direction. Elizabeth Street is relatively close to the main play area (100ish feet?), which is where people tend to park. Parents need to keep an eye on their children.