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Brookdale Park

Equipment by Landscape Structures.

Surface: rubber.

On our way to Old Orchard Park, this one poked its head out at us as we drove past the A&W that hides it from Avenue Road, so we pulled over for a quick playground appetizer before heading to the main course. (And a literal appetizer at A&W.)

It’s a lovely little spot, and probably better than Old Orchard if your kiddos are under five. Most of the equipment is geared towards smaller kids; climbers that are lower to the ground, fewer fall risks, a covered sandbox. There’s also plenty of low-to-the-ground freestanding equipment like spinners and spring-mounted riders.

The park itself is an interesting shape. Beginning at the corner of Avenue and Woburn as a carefully landscaped garden, it then cuts across several blocks diagonally towards the northwest in a way that suggests it might be covering up a buried stream. (Or probably, as the name implies, a brook.) The upper portion of the park would make for a nice shaded forest walk for a kid too small to know that they’re not actually in a forest.

Being here brought two contradictory but true thoughts to my mind. First, the smaller equipment made my kids look like giants, reminding me that my kids aren’t little anymore. But equally, the way they interacted happily with the equipment reminded me that kids might not outgrow “little kid” things quite as early as we think. My son sat for a full 10 minutes, carefully flipping a panel of two-toned cylinders from tan to brown, completely lost in a repetitive task as if he were still his two-year-old self.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I recommend this to younger kids, but it also makes a great warm-up for the bigger playground of Old Orchard Park just to the north.

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