March 5, 2012

Play Date: Atherton Park

Play Date is a series of little guides to the area's parks and play areas.
This week: Warren Atherton Park

The Basics | Warren Atherton Park
Location: At Quail Lakes and Grouse Run drives in Stockton
Type: Neighborhood
Size: 10 acres
Amenities: In addition to a playground with metal slides, swings (regular and infant), bars and equipment to climb on, the park features a softball diamond with concrete bleachers, two basketball courts, two handball courts, two tennis courts, benches and picnic tables, restrooms and lots of open, grassy space.
A little history: The park was acquired by the city in 1977. It's named for Warren Atherton, who, though he had no formal higher education, became a prominent Stockton lawyer and a judge, and is known as the father of the G.I. Bill.
Play date: Take the tricycle - there's a nice, paved pathway through the park. 
Source: City of Stockton)

When we got to the playground, we found a girl and her grandmother, filling a pail with sand to build a sandcastle. 

Only slightly less rare than finding metal slides at a playground anymore is finding sand (They all seem to be lined with wood chips or rubber tiles now). Atherton has both. So, it's showing it's age a bit, but it's very clean and so green and grassy that you'll feel like playing chase and picking dandelions.

Except for the infant swings, the playground itself is better-suited for big kids than for preschoolers. I have a 2-year-old, and we struggled. The gaps between the steps leading up to the slides are wider than she could easily manage on her own. And I wouldn't have let her anyway - the towers are tall and the guardrails modest. 

But kids are resourceful when it comes to fun, and she had a good time managing the playground on her own terms (mainly by climbing wrongways up the smaller of the slides and coming back down on her belly). 

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