Tuesday, November 16, 2010

STL Views and Reviews: Malcolm Terrace Park

I've lived in St. Louis for over twenty-five years, but until a good friend suggested that we meet for a playdate at Malcolm Terrace Park last week, I had never even heard of it. 

Boy, have I been missing out.

Personally, I always find it to be a bit of a struggle to find a really good park that the entire family can enjoy.  My elementary school-aged daughter likes playgrounds that challenge her physically and have "a lot to do," my toddler loves a park with lots of open space where he can run freely, and I love a place where they'll both be entertained and I can relax a bit and actually enjoy the fresh air and the scenery.

I also find that, as a mom to a toddler (who is rapidly evolving into a fearless and overly adventurous preschooler), I don't enjoy the sprawling playgrounds where your kids can disappear from your sight for what seems like hours on end, even if it's actually only about thirty seconds

Yes, I have helicopter-parent tendencies; I know this about myself and, quite frankly, I'm okay with it. 

The playground at Malcolm Terrace Park is small enough that parents like me can actually see what their little ones are up to, without having to follow them around like a puppy.  Maybe I'm lazy, but sometimes half the pleasure of taking my kids to the park is being able to sit on a bench nearby and just sit.

Maybe  it's like my stay-at-home mom version of "time to myself," because at home I can't sit down without somebody needing me to get up and do something the minute my ass makes contact with a cushion. 

It's like kids have radar -- oops, moms about to sit down and breathe, we better keep her moving . . .

So Malcolm Terrace Park is nice for lazy mothers who want to go somewhere where they won't have to chase a busy toddler.  But it's also really nice for older kids too.  The playground isn't one of those brand new shiny things with plastic astro-turf underneath it; it's more of an old-school, back-to-basics, good old-fashioned fun type of place. 

It has two swings, two baby swings, a curvy slide, a tunnel slide, and a straight slide, a swaying, creaky bridge, and a tunnel, some monkey bars, and some poles to climb.  And mulch on the ground.  Nothing fancy, but plenty of scope for the imagination.

And did I mention the trees?  This, I think, is why I and probably a lot of other people like this park so much.  Nestled amidst homes off of Mosley Road in Creve Coeur, Malcolm Terrace Park is quiet, serene, beautiful, and shady!!! 

Mature, fully grown trees surround the play area, keeping the slides cool even on the sunniest of days.   There's plenty of grassy area for running around or playing catch or picnicing on a fall day, and there's also a sand volleyball court for anybody whose up for a game, or who wants to bring sand toys and pretend it's a day at the beach . . .  

Also very important for parents of small children, both parking and restrooms are located within walking distance of the playground.

The park also has a small path of trails to walk through that makes for a great nature hike for kids who love to pick up sticks and admire rocks, and apparently The Riverfront Times even listed it as the best park for birdwatching in St. Louis.  There is a small rock creek that kids will enjoy, and a shady area full of trees and plants known as Serenity Grove where everyone can relax.

If you would like to see pictures of Malcolm Terrace Park, there is a great stream of Flickr photos at http://www.malcolmterracepark.org/

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