When Fudge jumps off the play structure in Central Park in Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, he breaks his front teeth. Of course, he does. It was the 70’s. There was no squishy landing on the playground. No composite rubber breaking the fall. In fact, I can pretty much bet that the structure was some rusty, unpainted piece of metal standing over worn out dirt. Ahh, the good old days.
Well, I was reading an article in the Sunday Chronicle and it seems that longing for that by-gone era of torturously high slides and chronically squeaky swings is not unusual. And, according to many Pediatric researchers, these kinds of playgrounds actually better help children develop sensory and motor skills, while overcoming fear. Well, hells yeah! And they’re fun too.
Fortunately, hidden behind Mt. Davidson in the sleepy little neighborhood of Miraloma exists Miraloma Park (fondly called Sandy Park by regulars). It boasts metal monkey bars, an all too steep swirly slide and sundry other play structures that make for a daringly good time. What it lacks in primary colored plastic and rubberized surfaces, it makes up for in old school appeal. Located on Omar Way between Rockdale and Sequoia, this playground also happens to have one of the most exceptional views of the city.
And it’s not just children of the 70’s that see the beauty in this playground. Rumored for a remodel, I’ve personally know several children to write essays and letters to the city campaigning to keep Sandy Park just the way it is. This is a place where you might spot a middle schooler or two sneaking back in to hold on to a few more youthful moments when they think no one is looking.
While you can certainly find a toddler or two swaddled in the baby swings or romping around the sandy grounds, Miraloma Park delivers for the big kids. There are swings on long chains that can literally get pumping so high that you really can touch the sky. And when you jump off, it’s sand, not man-made absorbent rubber, that breaks your fall. Who knows what can happen? Metal rings, in addition to standard monkey bars, are spaced just far enough away that you can fall off a few hundred times before you make it across. And when you do, you know you’re a superstar. This playground was created before we were all winners just for showing up. That said those who do are certainly in for a good time.
Miraloma Park, (aka Sandy Park) Omar Way at Rockdale