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Wildwood Crescent Playground

Surface: wood chips.

So this whole ranking playgrounds thing, where I give a score to each one we visit? Here’s why you should take those rankings with a grain of salt: the Wildwood Crescent Playground is small and unimpressive, with no water features, no washrooms, a jumble of equipment by several different manufacturers, and not many amenities in the immediate area.

But also: we had an absolutely wonderful time.

Our visit to Wildwood actually came directly following a visit to Fairmount Park, when we walked a forest path up the Williamson Ravine to Wildwood Crescent. We were going to head home for lunch, but everything about the Wildwood Crescent Playground – the shaded sandbox, the little free library, the silence interrupted only by the occasional passing train – seemed to be begging us to stop and have a picnic lunch there instead. So we did.

I mean, even the name is beguiling: Wildwood Crescent…it sounds like the name of a tawdry British daytime soap opera that you pretend not to like but watch with your mother anyway.

My daughter did a cursory climb on the equipment, particularly enjoying the rope climber and the “mobius climber” – an element by Landscape Structures that we love. We sat on a swing together, with her on my lap and facing me so that I had an up-close view of her giggling face; something I know I have to enjoy now, because in a few years she might be too cool to giggle with me.

She then spent a long time talking to herself in the sandbox, while be sat side by side filling toy dump trucks with and then emptying them again. We had some food, read a copy of “Lady and the Tramp” that someone had left in the little free library, and then played for a bit longer.

It was great, and it wasn’t even the playground that I had intended to visit on that day.

I guess the moral of the story (not that this is news to any parents out there) is that some days, no matter what outing you go on, no matter how minutely you plan out the details, things go wrong and your family has an awful day. Other days, for no obvious reason, everything is just wonderful and everybody is all smiles.

As a parent, you have limited control over how much fun your family is going to have on any given day out. Sure, you do your research and your planning, but some of it you’ve just got to leave in the hands of the universe.

High five to the universe for giving us a great day at the Wildwood Crescent Playground, regardless of what my rating system says.

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