Ode to the Tyler Park baby playground [Family and parenting]

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Ever since Springtime has rolled around, Jack's bedtime has been steadily inching later and later. In February I couldn't prop this kid's eyes open with a toothpick past 7 pm, but now he's doing somersaults across the living room floor as late as 9. A later sunset means that I have a very hyperactive toddler (and a lot more time) on my hands.
 
Like any good mother, I have found that the best remedy to this problem is to grab Jack and hit the bars...the monkey bars that is. Jack and I have become regulars at many of the playgrounds around Louisville.
 
And perhaps it is in part because of its close proximity to our house, but the tot playground at Tyler Park has become our favorite. It's never crowded, and has far less sexually graphic graffiti than other children's playgrounds. Here are the many other reasons why Jack and I love Tyler Park's playground:
 
  • Great shade: the wall backing up Baxter Avenue combined with Tyler Park's many trees provide ample shade. Before having a kid, I never really thought about what parks had better shade. Now, after hearing news stories about toddlers receiving second degree burns on plastic playground slides, I'm a tad fanatical.
  • Spongy floor: The tot playground has this foamy, spongy flooring that almost seems to bionically bounce children off of it. Kids fall down, and most of the time...they don't get hurt. The best part of this flooring choice is that it is a material that babies can't put in their mouths (Willow Park...I'm talking to you and your wood chips).
  • Tucked far and away: Yet another nice aspect of the park. Most moms I know don't really care for the "fishbowl" effect of many playgrounds. Most playgrounds seem to be in the middle of parks, where everyone can watch your kids playing. The baby playground at Tyler Park is tucked away on one side by an enormous wall and shielded on two other sides by tennis courts. It seems much less "out in the open" and therefore safer.  
  • Separate "big kid" playground at the park ensures that there are rarely older children there stealing my kid's swing. There's nothing worse than worrying about your toddler getting stampeded by a bunch of seventh-grade girls. 
  • It's gated: This one is a no-brainer. Most playgrounds are not gated which when coupled with high-traffic areas (Seneca Park, parts of Cherokee Park) make me nervous. Toddlers are masterful at quickly darting out in places they shouldn't. Tyler Park has a gate that is tall enough that only parents can open and close.
The post-dinner, pre-bedtime hours of summertime were made for children and playgrounds. Louisville's playgrounds provide the perfect urban reprieve from toddler tantrums and summertime heat. So as we lead up to the longest day of the summer (June 21st) come join me and Jack at Tyler Park...we'll race you down the slides. 
 
Photo: flickr: ambergris 
 
 
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