February 7th, 2013
by Dawn Pedersen
Southside Park at 6th and T Streets in downtown Sacramento has one of the top 5 playground parks I have ever been to. That may not seem very impressive, until you known that I photographed at least one hundred playground parks last year. It’s one of only two in the area I’m aware of that includes a merry-go-round (the other is Glenbrook Park.)
Southside Park has the giantest playground around, with play structures for bigger and littler kids. Theo likes both. There is also a large sand lot, a big row of swings, and a few other attractions. The playground has a delightful space/solar system theme.
We also love the large pond with its ducks, geese, and cormorants. You can’t go right to the shore, as there is a wrought iron fence all the way around the pond. But it has a few short docks that put you out over the water. Some people like to fish from those. I just like to chat with the geese.
On the weekends, there’s often a snack vendor rolling his little cart of ice cream bars through the playground, ringing his bell. The park also includes a recreational pool and wading pool, which is operated by the YMCA.
Not lovable: the scary bathrooms. Diapers get changed in the back of the the CR-V instead. We also make sure to bring drinks, snacks, and handwipes.
Without further ado, here are last Sunday’s photos (click on any one below to open a full-size slideshow.)
Theo hits the rock climber first. Like many toddlers, he doesn’t know or care that this play structure was designed for 5- to 12-year-olds.
Daddy and Theo spin the hand and foot pedals of the stationary cycler.
Theo likes to scream HELLO DADDY into talk tubes.
My musical prodigy. CLANG CLANG CLANG.
Theo needs a little boost for the zip line/track ride.
A typical view of my son: his backside as I try to keep up.
This is called a Supernova. It spins around at an angle (with no small effort on the part of Daddy.) You can ride or walk on it, and Theo loves it immensely.
Oh yeah! The merry-go-round! I think most parks skip having one of these because people think they are DANGEROUS. You know what? Kids need risk.
Theo ascends a curved ladder onto the tot play structure, which was build for children ages 2-5.
These tot slides are a bit shorter (and slower) than the more exciting ones on the youth play structure.
Back to the bigger play structure, which includes a feature I haven’t seen anywhere else: a SwayFun boat. A generous dad rocks the boat for a large family plus Theo.
Theo enjoys the coordination and balance challenge of the pommel crossing.
The play structures have numerous play elements built right into the walls, like this rocket ship which glides along its cutout path past Jupiter.
Back on the Supernova. Theo’s a sitter, but I bet it won’t be long before he tries the standing/walking position the bigger children are enjoying.
The large sand play area includes this SuperScoop. Theo digs while kids nearby build a sandcastle-slash-sandheap.
There are a variety of swings to choose from, like this cozy red chair swing. There are also baby swings and a tire swing, along with the more traditional kind.
This saddle spinner is in the tot lot. It takes little effort on Theo’s part to go around very fast and get super dizzy. I get nauseated just thinking about it.
Daddy barely fits into the saddle spinner.
This is a lower corner of a small rocket ship climber in the tot lot.
A friendly older girl gives Theo a push or two in the saddle spinner.
This stand-up-spinner is near the youth play structure. If you move in toward the pole, you go faster. If you lean out, you go slower. It’s a nice kinesthetic lesson in centrifugal force. This standalone item often has a few kids waiting for their turn.
Yet another section of the playground, with soft surfaces, includes this molded ramp. Theo enjoys walking up it like a balance beam, and jumping off the high end.
This joyful sculpture that crowns the solar system theme of this playground, “Alien Airstream Trailer,” is by artist Joe Scarpa. It constantly blinks with LED lights like it’s on the move, and it’s filled with little metal aliens. Unfortunately, you cannot get up there and play in it.
Theo feeds the ducks. Unfortunately, he’s trying to feed them bark from the surrounding plantings.
One final bit of play in the sand lot.
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