South Hills Mom

a mom's guide to kid-friendly resources in the South Hills

Under-discovered Treasures – Neighborhood Playgrounds!

on August 1, 2013

Last week I headed out to the Montour Trail for my evening run. I passed by the parking lot on Irishtown Road because it looked full at first glance; it wasn’t until I was past the entrance that I noticed one lone empty spot. No worries – I knew Lions Park and Lovejoy Field were up ahead for me to turn around at to claim the last parking spot in my preferred trail parking lot. I approached the park and pulled in to the familiar pavilion area – the one I drove past literally thousands of times since moving to Bethel Park in 1999 – and stopped short. There’s a playground back here? How did I not know this??!! True, I’ve never been to the Lion’s Park pavilion, and have only visited the Lovejoy Field occasionally to watch my younger brother play baseball. But, still! I’m now a MOM in Bethel Park! Shouldn’t someone have told me?

Well, I’m telling YOU now. There are parks and playgrounds all over our community that are being underused by our children. FREE PLAYGROUNDS! Free for moms and dads to spend a morning with their children; free space for children to roam and explore; free for children to play and to pretend and to create those sweet childhood memories that we all hold so close to our hearts.

I’ve decided to take my children on an under-discovered treasure hunt. We are going to go find all of these secret spots scattered among our neighborhoods in the South Hills and share them with you. In fact, we are going to share a new playground with you every day for the month of August!

What better place to start, than where this all began for me?

Lion’s Park, 5757 Irishtown Road, Bethel Park

Image

There it is! The hidden playground that I discovered with as much excitement as I would had I reached into my pocket and pulled out a forgotten $20 bill.

This playground features:

  • two regular swings and one infant swing
  • wooden climbing platforms
  • two slides; one straight toddler slide and one twisting tunnel slide
  • one tunnel
  • Tic-Tac-Toe game
  • one steering wheel
  • one bubble window (I’m sure that’s not the official word for that, but whatever it’s called, my daughter LOVES to look at me through it!)
  • picnic pavilion

My thoughts on this playground:

  • My children are very young, and therefore very easily entertained.  This playground was very fun for my 7 month old because it has the type of swing that he can swing in.  He would give this playground 5 out of 5 stars.
  • My toddler liked this playground because there were many nooks and corners to explore.  She could easily climb the platforms to access the slides, wheel, and bubble window.  She enjoyed going down the straight toddler slide and enjoyed yelling into the tunnel slide to hear her voice echo.  She enjoyed crawling through the tunnel, getting out, and crawling through it again.  She would probably give this playground a 4.5 out of 5 stars because she was allowed to do everything at this playground, but she couldn’t swing at the same time as her brother, since she would need to still use the infant swing.
  • I would give this playground a 3 out of 5 stars.  There were many things to keep my little ones busy, but I think preschoolers and older kids would probably enjoy the equipment on this playground for a much shorter time.  Other than the tunnel slide and the two swings there just isn’t that much for older kids to do here.  Also, probably from being under-utilized, the playground needed me to tidy it up a bit before my kids could play on it.  There were quite a few spider webs and lots of mud and dirt on the equipment.  Not a big deal – it’s an outdoor playground after all – but bringing a towel to wipe down the equipment would probably be a good idea.  I liked that the playground was easy to find and that there was plenty of parking right by the playground.  We will definitely visit this playground again.
  • Also important to note, Lion’s Park is often reserved for private events, so the playground isn’t guaranteed to be available.  We visited it in the middle of the week, but you should check their calendar (http://bethelparklions.org/lions-park/) before planning your visit!
Toddler slide, with tic tac toe game

Toddler slide, with tic tac toe game

The tunnel, before I cleaned it up

The tunnel, before I cleaned it up

So there you have it – our first playground review!  Stop by again for more under-discovered treasures in the South Hills 🙂

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