27 September 2009

Madison Park North Beach, Madison Park

EDIT 3/25/09: added name of park, as noted on Seattle Park Guide and no where else.

What majesty! (I feel that I say that a lot about parks in Seattle) This park is great. It's a little patch of grass next to Lake Washington, just a few blocks north of Madison Park (home of some of the greatest swings in Seattle).

Location: E Lynn St & 43rd Ave E
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Sand
Chain length: Short

So these swings are pretty standard short-chains. This park is mostly just grass, usually full of sunbathers... that is, when the sun is actually out in Seattle, and that has been very very often this summer. The swinging is ok, but you may be tempted to sit and just stare. Stare out at that lake. Mmmm, how nice. This park doesn't seem have a name posted anywhere on any Parks or maps website, nor is there a physical sign at the park... if you know the name, please let me know!

How to get there: Bus routes #11 and 84 stop right in front of the park.

26 September 2009

Volunteer Park, Capitol Hill

Volunteer Park is one of the nicest parks in Seattle. There are large expanses of grass, and you can walk up the tower and get one of the best views possible. Oh, how majestic.

Location: 15th Ave E & E Highland Dr.
Number of swings: 2 regular, 1 baby seat, 1 baby bucket
Ground material: Wood
Chain length: Short

Standard short-chain swings. This playground is pretty cool though, there are some interesting dinosaur-vertebrae-shaped objects to climb around on. Maybe they're not dinosaur vertebrae. Maybe they aren't vertebrae at all. Whatever. This park overall is greater than its playground, but if you happen to be here and need to get a little swing in, you should be okay. The playground is located near the northeast corner of the park, next to the cemetery. Yes, you get to look at graves while you swing!

How to get there: Bus route #10 runs along 15th Ave NE.

25 September 2009

Madison Park

Madison Park. A neighborhood. A park. You may be familiar with Madison Beach, which is across the street. I swam there once, but I find Lake Washington slightly disgusting. That's because I grew up on Lake Chelan, and it doesn't get much cleaner than that. Anyway... these swings are really really really good. Really.

Location: 43rd Ave E & E Howe St.
Number of swings: 4 regular, 1 baby seat, 1 baby bucket, 1 zipline
Ground material: Wood
Chain length: Long

Wow! These swings are GREAT! They are extra long, nicely hanging high off the ground, and they are new! This whole park is nice and new. Madison Park is a neighborhood full of money, so it's good to see that its public playground reflects that. I did witness some horror at this park, however. A baby was placed in the bucket-style swing, having a good time, then his guardian/nanny/caretaker walked away for a moment and WHOA SCREAMING! I looked over to see this baby hanging from his foot on this swing! Upon further inspection, we realized this baby bucket-style swing is BROKEN. Hopefully Seattle Parks gets on that soon.

Note that there is even a zipline at this park. Wow, this park is awesome. Just fix that baby swing, please!

How to get there: Bus routes #11 and 84 encircle this park.

Washington Park Arboretum

I love trees. I love plants too. I love the Arboretum, and guess what? You can swing there!

Location: Arboretum Dr. E & Lake Washington Blvd E, near the Stone Cottage and Japanese Garden
Number of swings: 4 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Wood
Chain length: Medium-long.

Wow. Great swings. Park can be busy, as it was on the day I arrived... I think it was a toddler soccer lesson? Dozens of toddlers running around with soccer instructors speaking British English. Hmmm we must be near Madison Park. Anyway, these swings are a good chain-length/ground-height ratio, and are good for my personal classic swing experience. I love it, I love it!

How to get there: Bus routes #11 and 84 run along Madison Ave in both directions.

24 September 2009

Cal Anderson Park, Capitol Hill

I guess Google Maps prefers to use the Bobby Morris Playfield to label this park. But whatever, I go by City of Seattle physical signage!

Location: 11th Ave & E Pine St. on Capitol Hill
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby seats, 2 baby buckets
Ground material: Rubber (from recycled tires?)
Chain length: Medium. (low to ground)

This park is nice. I like parks with rubber ground material. This is also one of Seattle's busiest parks, since it's in the heart of Capitol Hill. But I don't really like these swings. They are the lowest to the ground in all of Seattle. They are also very busy, so good luck getting a swing at any daylight time. But the fountain that runs through this park is my favorite in all of Seattle. I wonder how this park will evolve when the new, adjacent light rail station opens in 2016...

How to get there: Routes #4, 43, 49 and 60 stop along Broadway. Routes #10, 11, and 84 stop along Pine.

22 September 2009

Montlake Playfield, Montlake

Good swings. Great park. Lots of grass.

Location: 18th Ave E & E Calhoun St
Number of swings: 2 regular, 1 baby seat, 1 baby bucket
Ground material: Sand
Chain length: Medium

The Montlake Playfield is great. It's tucked away in this residential neighborhood. Mostly your playground competition will be non-school-age children in the daytime and maybe a few stray high schoolers at other times. This is a very nice playground in general. We used to trek to this park late at night back in the days of living in Mercer Hall at UW (4W4L!).

How to get there: Bus route #25 stops along 19th/W Montlake Pl.

17 September 2009

Eckstein Community Park, Ravenna

Awh, what a cute park, tucked away in NE Seattle. There's some really nice grass here, they must take good care of it.

Location: 21st Ave NE & NE 68th St in Ravenna.
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby seats, 2 baby buckets. 1 tire swing.
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Medium.

These swings are pretty good. The seats are nice and new, and I found the chain length and height off ground favorable. This really is a pretty cool playground, there's all sorts of fun toys for the kids to play on. Oh, and there's a tire swing. Can you tell I'm not really that excited about tire swings?

How to get there: Bus routes #64, 71, 76 and 83 stop at 21st & 65th.

16 September 2009

Bayview Playground, Magnolia

Don't let the name fool you, there is no view of any bay. This is just a sad little playground forgotten in a quiet corner of Magnolia.

Location: 24th Ave W & W Armour St. in Magnolia
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Sand
Chain length: Short

The seats are high off the ground to better facilitate the occasional long-legged adult swinger. However, this was also the first park I've come across with stickers attached to the playground equipment reading "This play equipment is designed for children 5-12 years old." Oops, missed that memo. This is a sad, small playground, but you can get some good swinging in, even if you're over the age of 12.

How to get there: #31 and 33 bus routes stop along 22nd Ave W.

15 September 2009

Ravenna Park, U-District

Take a little walk through the forested area in back of Cowen Park, and you'll find Ravenna Park on the other side.

Location: Ravenna Ave NE & NE 55th St. near U-Village.
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby seats, 2 baby buckets.
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Medium-long.

These seats are high off the ground, so if you're a swing gymnast, your belly can ride the seat and your extremities have proper space to hang. And the seats feel really sturdy. I think this playground is newer than other Seattle playgrounds.

How to get there: Bus route #30 stops along 55th and Ravenna, #74 stops along 20th, and #68, 83, 243 and 372 stop along 25th.

13 September 2009

Magnolia Community Center, Magnolia

Henry Peck Children's Play Area at the Magnolia Community Center...

...and this one isn't even labeled on the map. Oh, how shameful. This park is a much more comprehensive play environment than almost every other Seattle playground.

Location: 34th Ave W & W Smith St. in Magnolia
Number of swings: 5 regular, 1 baby seat, 4 baby buckets.
Ground material: Wood chips.
Chain length: Long.

Long chains! Get really high! However, the seats are VERY close to the ground, so don't hurt yourself. This park is adjacent to Catharine Blake K-8 School, so of course many children come included. But there are plenty of swings for everyone! I really like this park.

How to get there: Bus route #24 stops along 24th. #1, 31 and 34 stop along nearby McGraw St. All Magnolia buses seem to go along there somewhere.

11 September 2009

FAQ Basics

I've never really explained myself here. No one's ever asked, but maybe if I post this no one will need to.

Location: This is usually an intersection of either familiar-seeming streets, or the corner of the park where the swings are located.
Number of swings: QUANTITY
Ground material: Hey, it can make a difference depending on how you are feeling at a given moment.
Chain length: Not scientific. Maybe even contradictory. I go by whatever it feels like to me, judging from previous swing experiences and such.

Why? Going to parks always was a Seattle hobby of mine and those around me. And we all like swings. And sometimes we go to certain parks because of certain swings. This gives me the chance to archive it, at the very least for myself, and do something productive with the swing times.

How to get there: Sometimes there are a million ways to get there. I just look for the nearest buses, but I usually get there by walking.

And when I tag neighborhoods, sometimes I tag adjacent neighborhoods because it makes sense to me at the time. Some neighborhoods don't have swings of their own, but they are very close to swings that are technically in another neighborhood.

Feel free to ask me questions, suggest local parks, or invite me to your secret swings.

09 September 2009

Georgetown Playfield, Georgetown

Georgetown is great. It's really isolated from the rest of Seattle, but it's a neighborhood that I enjoy. This swings in this park are very close to the door of Georgetown Liquor Company.

Location: Padilla Pl S & S Homer St in Georgetown
Number of swings: 2 baby seats, 2 regular, 2 baby buckets
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Short. Maybe medium-short.

These are fun swings. Short chains, but it's a great location to swing. There's nothing but sounds of I-5 and the trains. Aaah, Georgetown.

How to get there: #131 Bus stops along Airport Way. So does #134. #60 Bus stops along nearby Bailey St.

08 September 2009

Maplewood Playfield, Beacon Hill

Here are some nice swings tucked away next to I-5 on Beacon Hill, pretty near to Georgetown.

Location: Corson Ave S & S Snoqualmie St. on the southwestern side of Beacon Hill.
Number of swings: 4 regular, 1 baby seat, 1 baby bucket
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Medium-long.

I had an enjoyable time here. There are lots of trees surrounding and a huge grassy hill behind. It's a mostly residential area, but that means you're more likely to swing in peace.

How to get there: Bus route #60 stops along 15th Ave in both directions.

06 September 2009

Magnolia Park, Magnolia

Surrounded by blackberry bushes, and peering out to Puget Sound atop a bluff, Magnolia Park is a beautiful Seattle destination. It's swings aren't that great, however. But I've never really come to this park for the swings, I usually come here to look at that amazing view, just as I previously described.

Location: Magnolia Blvd W & W Garfield St, in Magnolia
Number of swings: 2 regular
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Short

So this was the first time I've ever had to wait my turn for swings because other adults were using them. OK, maybe it wasn't the first time, but it did leave an impression on me. But after waiting my turn, I got on a swing, and there were other adults peering, waiting their turns as well. There was one child seeming to want a swing at one point, but she obviously knew the competition was stiff. These swings are short, but give you some good momentum. The chains and their attachments to the pole squeak and click, and every moment is full of excitement from the thrill of thoughts like "maybe this will break, and I will die or be injured!"

How to get there: Bus routes #24 and 33 stop along 28th Ave W and Thorndyke Ave W. Routes #19 and 31 go down Condon Way.

05 September 2009

The Bluff swing is dead.

The rope swing at the bluff in Shoreline has been cut down. I originally wrote about it in this post. My friend was there recently and has informed me that it is now a dead swing. Sad day.

West Queen Anne Playfield, Queen Anne

West Queen Anne Playfield, Queen Anne

Location: 3rd Ave W and W Howe St, Queen Anne
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Medium-long.

My first memories of this park are from my college days, somehow we stumbled upon this park in the middle of the night. What were we doing on Queen Anne? I have no idea. Maybe visiting someone. When I first moved to Seattle, I was intimidated by Queen Anne, but now I feel more comfortable there. This is a nice park, and the swings are pretty good. It's like most of the parks on Queen Anne, very good upkeep, lack of graffiti, happy children overflowing the park right after lunchtime... why do I choose mid-afternoon to go to parks sometimes? Oh the things I've learned since embarking on a swinger lifestyle.

How to get there: Bus routes #4, 13, and 45 stop along Queen Anne Ave.

04 September 2009

Judkins Playground, Atlantic

According to Wikipedia, the Atlantic neighborhood "is the northernmost neighborhood of the Rainier Valley, between Mount Baker Ridge and Beacon Hill. Atlantic is in turn located in the Central District of east-central Seattle, Washington, though it may also be considered part of South Seattle and the Rainier Valley. Atlantic contains the Judkins Park neighborhood." I'm a geography nerd, so sentences like the previous are like talking dirty to me. Maybe you find it a little dry. But anyway, Judkins Playground has some nice swings!

Location: 23rd Ave S & S Judkins St
Number of swings: 2 regular, 2 baby
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Medium-long. (low to ground)

I really enjoyed these swings, once I was able to get a turn from the children who also enjoyed them immensely. The chains are long, so you can get pretty high, but they are also low to the ground, so sometimes pumping your legs causes some flying wood chips.

I was greeted very nicely by a mom at this playground. It went something like "How are you today?" "I'm good, how are you?" "Very well, thank you." What a nice lady. What a crazy guy to type all this right now, when it's completely irrelevant. I'm kind of awkward when approached sometimes, so her "How are you today?" sent messages into my head like "What you doing at this playground? My children need a safe place to play away from the likes of hoodlums like you!" Actually I think it's pretty obvious I'm one of the least threatening people in the world. There ARE nice people in this world who really just want to greet you on a beautiful, sunny day.

How to get there: Bus route #48 stops along 23rd, #7 and 42 stop along Rainier.

03 September 2009

Hiawatha Park, West Seattle/Admiral

Hiawatha Park, West Seattle/Admiral

I was very happy to have stumbled upon this park. It looks like they're doing a bunch of construction at the playfield, so maybe whatever sports teams play/practice there will have a pretty new home soon.

Location: California Ave SW & SW Lander St, Admiral area of West Seattle
Number of swings: 5 regular, 1 baby seat. 2 baby buckets.
Ground material: Wood chips
Chain length: Long

I met a fellow swinger here! I sat on a swing next to another guy who looked about my age/mid-twenties. Upon sitting, he exclaimed, "I LOVE SWINGING!" And I agreed with him. We had a wonderful conversation of "The Joy" of swinging as we reached great heights with these long swings. It's always nice to meet like-minded individuals. He apparently likes to play Spiderman while swinging, so I got an awkward-though-entertaining show as I got my swing on.

The baby swings are pretty standard. Overall this park is nice, and I'm sure it will be even nicer when the construction ends. As I've noted in previous posts, I'm always a huge fan of swingsets with more than 4 (in this case, 5!) swings in a row.

How to get there: Bus routes #55, 85, 128 stop along California Ave SW in both directions. Routes #56 and 57 stop along Admiral Way (1 block north), and they provide excellent service to and from downtown Seattle, if you feel like making the trek way out to West Seattle.