South Hills Mom

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

Oak Tree Park, Bethel Park

on August 9, 2013

Parks like Oak Tree Park are the inspiration for my “under-discovered treasure hunt.”  If you aren’t specifically looking out for it, you would just pass it by!  The entrance to the park is a driveway nestled between two houses, notable only because it doesn’t lead to a house and it has a small wooden sign letting you know that you’ve arrived at Oak Tree Park.  I visited this park a million years ago when I was in high school for exactly one practice when I entertained the idea of playing in the annual juniors vs. seniors “Powder Puff” football game.  Since then the park completely slipped away from my memory, despite it being mere minutes from my house.

Oak Tree Park, Summit Street, Bethel Park

Oak Tree Park, playground

This is a sweet little secluded park.  You drive down a single lane driveway to a parking lot/basketball court at the bottom of a small hill.  The park is surrounded by trees and the backyards of the homes that encircle it.  There’s a baseball field, basketball court, and picnic pavilion, and tons of room to run and play.

This playground features:

  • a swing set with two regular swings and two infant swings
  • two spring bouncy animals
  • a wooden climbing structure with a slide, monkey bars, and a tire swing
  • port-a-potty
  • picnic pavilion

My thoughts on this playground:

  • My seven month old got to swing happily in the shade.  All his needs were met, so 5 out of 5 stars from him!
  • My toddler enjoyed running down the hill to the play area, which is just slightly downhill from the parking lot.  She rode the bouncy animals, enjoyed swinging next to her brother, and climbed up the platforms to go down the slide.  The slide was a little too big for her liking, so she only did it once.  She would probably give this playground 3 out of 5 stars, because it was small and didn’t have a huge variety of things for her to do.
  • I thought this playground could be better maintained.  The animals were pretty outdated and their paint was faded.  The playground was made of wood, so though it was clearly aged it didn’t pose any hazards.  One of the basketball hoops was unusable; it had a cardboard box where the hoop should be.  Maybe Bethel Park is replacing the hoops in the near future?  This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed this – the hoops at Simmons Park were like this when we visited there a couple weeks ago.  I would give this playground 3 out of 5 stars.  It needs updating, but it has the basics.  We enjoyed probably 20-30 minutes of playing at this playground, and we will return because of how close it is to our home, but this isn’t a park we would travel to get to.

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