Rate My Park – Summer Series Part 2

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An Earnest Experience in Erie County Pennsylvania

All summer long, Fridays will be designated to exploring parks in Erie County PA and rating them!  The Earnest Littles and I are having a blast park hopping and seeing what is out there!  Each post will give a final rating out of 10 for the overall park and then we will break down the categories.  For each park we are looking at equipment, cleanliness, bathroom options, parent spots and picnic facilities.

Please note, the opinions given in this post/rating are our opinions alone and do not speak for the parks, the townships or anyone else.  Our intent is to give a glimpse of our experience and how much we, as a family liked the park.

Greene Township Playground, 9333 Tate Road, Erie PA 16509

Overall Rating 9.75/10.  Wow!! This playground is amazing.  The play structures are huge and numerous, there is a side designed for children 5-12 years old, and 3-5 years old – perfect for our kiddos who range from 4-12 years – and it was mainly all fenced in.  There was so much to do we felt like if we left too soon, we would miss out on all the fun.  The running, laughter and joyous screams were aplenty as many families had made use of this incredible playground while we were there.  There is a massive amount of green space offering gorgeous panoramic views of baseball diamonds, football fields and what appears to be wooded/forested areas.  There is also the Paradise trail that is a ½ mile paved path which goes out to the vast green space behind the playground.  This park we HIGHLY recommend, if you go to any parks this summer, make sure you make it here!

Equipment:  The playground is massive.  I am not sure that I can fully describe it and ensure I have included all the adventure that is available.  On the 5–12-year-old side there is a massive climb structure/climber complete with a walking bridge (that lead to another climber that resembled a gazebo/playhouse), wall climbing, monkey bars, four slides (large covered twirling slide that what the height of the structure, one small one at the first level; and three slides side by side about halfway up the structure, that offered different textures/shapes for sliding experiences).  This is where we lose the 0.25 in the rating, the three slides are bumpy and all three of my kids said they did not enjoy 2/3 slides that are side by side since the ride down was slightly rough.  The ground cover on this side was wooden mulch/wood chips.  The swings were plentiful with six belt swings, one large swinging saucer and an inclusive swing on the 12-5-year-old side, then there were three bucket swings including one that was a parent-child swing on the 3–5-year-old side.

The 3-5-year-old side had a mini merry-go-round, and numerous play/climbing structures that resembled playhouses, a boat (which has an appropriately sized slide), a tractor, and a train.  There was so much to keep little feet busy and to discover from a percussion stand to large displays of braille letters (lower and upper case) and numbers.  The ground cover on this side was the manufactured rubber intact flooring (not the rubber pieces). 

All in all – this park was fully enjoyed from the 4-year-old to the 12-year-old.  In the picture of them, my 7-year-old gave a sideways thumb for the rough slide experience.

Cleanliness:  The park was very clean, there are plenty of trash cans located all over the park that allows for easy access and helps to keep it clean.  The equipment itself is kept up well, with natural wear from use it was pleasantly clean as well.

Bathrooms:  There is a decent bathroom building available for use (it was open when we were at the park).  It was fully stocked with toilet paper and soap at the sinks.  They appear to have at least two toilets per restroom (Men’s or Women’s) both equipped with a handicap option.  However, we did not see a change table option for itty bitty ones.

Parent Spots: There are numerous of benches located right by the playground, a few even had shade from some nearby trees.  The benches were located all around the playground equipment as well, lots of options – some had natural tree shade and on the 3–5-year-old side, there were benches with pergolas above them.

Picnic Facilities: Two large pavilions (one was smaller) with many wooden picnic tables fully.

Stay tuned for our next review.  Live in Erie County?  Have you been to this park?  What are your thoughts?

Rate My Park – Summer Series

An Earnest Experience in Erie County Pennsylvania

All summer long, Fridays will be designated to exploring parks in Erie County PA and rating them!  The Earnest Littles and I are having a blast park hopping and seeing what is out there!  Each post will give a final rating out of 10 for the overall park and then we will break down the categories.  For each park we are looking at equipment, cleanliness, bathroom options, parent spots and picnic facilities.

Please note, the opinions given in this post/rating are our opinions alone and do not speak for the parks, the townships or anyone else.  Our intent is to give a glimpse of our experience and how much we, as a family liked the park.

McKean Community Recreational Park, 8798 Main St, McKean PA 16426

Overall Rating 8/10.  This park is large, it has a nice sized parking lot, baseball diamonds, other large sporting fields and a walking track.  It is a lovely, open green space with a nice breeze and a lovely Veteran Memorial.  All in all, we really liked this park, while we were there the kids were quick to make friends with a family who frequents, and they were so kind to invite us back to play.  We recommend checking out this park for some free fun in Erie County PA this summer!

Equipment:  The playground has a decent size climber complete with three slides, monkey bars, a crawl tube, bridge, a sliding pole and fun climbing options.  The ground cover appears to be older mulch so there was a complaint from the seven-year-old (and contributed to her rating of one thumb up and one thumb down) that she kept getting dirt in her crocs.  There is a swing section that has both belt swings and full bucket baby swings.  Ground cover also appeared to be older wooden mulch. The equipment is slightly dated in our opinion, but that did not stop is from being a fun place to play.

Cleanliness:  The park was very clean.  There was a little bit of litter from recent visitors who left their trash Juice boxes and napkins) after it got blown away from them, however there are plenty of trash cans located all over the park that allows for easy access and helps to keep it clean.  The equipment itself is kept up well, with natural wear from use it was pleasantly clean as well.

Bathrooms:  There is a decent bathroom building available for use (it was open when we were at the park).  It was fully stocked with toilet paper and soap at the sinks.  They appear to have at least two toilets per restroom (Men’s or Women’s) both equipped with a handicap option. 

Parent Spots: There are PLENTY of benches located right by the playground, a few even had shade from some nearby trees.  The benches were located all around the playground equipment as well, lots of options!

Picnic Facilities: There are so many picnic options here.  Two large pavilions (one with kitchen facilities and a ton of seating) with many wooden picnic tables fully shaded and had grills (both decently close enough to the playground) and one small one that has one wooden picnic table with handicap access.

Stay tuned for our next review.  Live in Erie County?  Have you been to this park?  What are your thoughts?

An Earnest Summer!

Status

This summer is FLYING by!  Sorry the posts have been sparse – we are enjoying the weather and this hot season.  We have been keeping busy with our local zoo, libraries, bowling and even took in a movie.  I have to admit, with a school-ager it is tough to keep the interest, allow some boredom, all without allowing the craziness to take the days over.

This summer, we decided on a different approach.   Instead of trying to do BIG things like travel or get out everyday, we made a weekly schedule.  A schedule easy enough to change if necessary but also help with the dreaded summer “brain drain” (we have a great article on these tips coming up next week by one of our moms in the Earnest Mom Squad).  We decided weekends would still be the break so we assigned regular activities for the weekdays.  Mondays we have a fun class on self regulation and practicing hand writing, Tuesdays our local library has a free special event that we attend, Wednesdays are backyard days, Thursdays are baking afternoons and par kour classes in the evenings, and Fridays are science experiments day.

Tuesdays, our local libraries have been great.  We have seen magic shows, balloon shows, local baseball teams, the traveling zoo and bouncing play times.  All free and it is fun to get out and let the kids play in a new space with new activities each week.  Wednesday’s backyard day is literally time playing in the yard – nothing too special and sometimes we fill up the kiddie pool.  We usually get out everyday, at least the kids do but this is a special time where we all go out together and I may garden or rest my swelling feet and the earnest littles get to run and play to their hearts content.  All before rest time of course to help the nap process along.

On Thursdays when Earnest Babe takes her two hour nap, Earnest Boy gets up from his 20 minute rest and him and I bake together.  The first week was GREAT, we baked this Starbucks Copy Cat Banana Bread recipe (from myfrugaladeventures.com) with the bananas that my children will not eat once they have freckled, we substituted chocolate chips for the walnuts and enjoyed it for four or five days.  It was delicious.  The second Thursday, we tried our hand at strawberry jam with the strawberries we picked earlier that morning.  We made this recipe from www.intimateweddings.com.  The whole process took a lot longer than we had thought but the result was yummy plus it did not use pectin, only sugar and lemon juice.  The last two weeks we had family in from out of town so we did not bake but today we are back in the swing of things with Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies.  We are using the classic Nestle Tollhouse Recipe (not my french aunt’s recipe for you Friends fans out there) and using all organic ingredients.  The baking day was created at the request of Earnest Boy, I was surprised he was interested in cooking but he is home with me all summer and I love baking and cooking.

Our Science Fridays have been so much fun!!  Once again, we wait until Earnest Babe is napping so we can focus on the experiments at hand.  Now before you get to thinking this Earnest Mom has crazy organization skills and creativity to plan and execute educational science experiments, hold on.  We decided to purchase a monthly subscription for the summer to The Spangler Science Club.  They send you 1-10 experiments a month that are focused on STEM and growing the curiosities of 7-14 year-olds.  So far we have grown polymers, experimented with the grown polymers, grown crystals and currently we are on a polymer alligator growth watch.  This post is not sponsored, we just are loving the Spangler Science Subscription and feel that you get a lot of bang for your buck no matter the price level subscription that is chosen.

This summer, I feel as though I am not feeling pressure any day or week to keep kids entertained – they know what to expect each day and we get excited for every activity we do together.  All days, the activity is not a full day event so we are able to spend free time together and time that is scheduled.  I feel a lot less stressed!!! Any earnest followers have some fun activities planned for their little or big ones this summer to keep the boredom and/or summer crazies to a low?  Please share.

x. earnest mom.

Local Spotlight: ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum.

Earnest mom looks at a local children’s museum, ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum.

Having relocated to Erie last year, I was eager to connect with some local moms and find some great places for the earnest family to go for fun.  While out and about at the library, a local mom had asked if I had heard of the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum, so I decided to check it out.  I am earnestly glad I did!

The ExpERIEnce Museum truly is an experience for children of all ages.  My two earnest littles could spend hours there, daily if I let them.  The museum houses four main areas through out, the lower level being The Ronald McDonald House Creativity Floor which features several arts related educational classes, programming and activities, and exhibits such as the Tiny Tot Spot (for those 2 and under), The Open Studio Center, Multi-touch Art Table and much more.  The main level has two main exhibits, one being the Discovery Corner/Outdoor Classroom (one of my favorite spaces) highlighting natural play/exploration spots, an outdoor library and more.  The next exhibit on the main level is the Explore Floor, which has the mega and super popular water table (it is huge and earnest boy is there from the minute we arrive until we leave), the Bedrock Cave, Imagination Playground and many additional activities.  The upper level is the Imagination Floor, this floor features the adorably pint sized Wegmans Kids Market to “shop,” The Magic of Magnets, Old Town, a suspended train that zooms around the room above all the playing kids and many more places to discover.

The museum staff also works very hard to have weekly classes to encourage education and art exploration through out the year. In the summer time they have wonderful Discovery Day Camps, two of which we had earnest boy enrolled in last year and will be enrolling again this year.  He absolutely loved his camp and a shout out to Miss Tami (who was as sweet and fun as could be), he walked away from camp with a tie-dye tee that he still wears, a painting the he made, ‘Pollock Style,’ a camp shirt that changes colors in the sunlight plus many happy memories of fun, art and learning with his peers.  The museum is still enrolling now for summer camps, and it is not too late to get your kids an unforgettable summer experience plus support our local children’s museum.  They feature week long camps and single day camps to fit every schedule and budget.  More information on their camps can be found on here: ExpERIEnce Discovery Day Camps, or call 814-453-3743 to register today!

The expERIEnce Children’s Museum hosts nearly a dozen special events throughout the year, many of which this earnest family has enjoyed thoroughly. Including their signature Breakfast with Santa program, Noon Year’s Eve, Bunny Days, Fancy Tea Party, Jedi Academy, Super Science Day, Future Me- kid’s career fair and more. Upcoming events include a Teacher Workshop on Friday July 8 in their outdoor classroom, Discovery Corner. This workshop is open to educators throughout the country looking to learn more about engaging kids in nature and making art with nature. The workshop does qualify for Act 48 and PQUAS credits. Pre-registration is required and can be found at natureexplore.org.  The museum also hosts an annual ADULTS-only fundraiser on Saturday August 6 called the Street Soiree. Tickets are $50 for members and $65 for nonmembers and can be purchased at eriechildrensmuseum.org The event features live music, delicious local food, drinks of cheer and fun- all to support the children’s museum. We will offer free admission August 18, 19 and 20 to celebrate ERIE during the city’s annual community celebration.


The ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum is truly a gem to the Erie community and a treasure for our children to explore, create, learn and grow.  The vision of ExpERIEnce Museum, according Ainslie Brosig, ED, is that it would be “a place where ALL kids and their families can engage in learning through play. We help to ensure that every child has a chance to play, thrive in school and succeed in life.”  I believe that they have succeeded in this vision and will only continue to be an asset and positive influence on our little Erie community. Please check them out today!

NOTE: earnest mom has not received payment nor promotional items by posting this article. I earnestly love the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum and hope many more of you can get out there to enjoy it too!

x. earnest mom.