Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Park Day: Glen Alla Park, Marina del Rey

He did the rocking boat and the rocking sea horse about three times each.
I think he's talking to himself here--or maybe to the sea turtle.
I told him to smile for the camera and this is the face he made. Heh.
Man, this kid will snack on anything.

Here's a wide view of the park taken as we were leaving. You can see the scuzzy bathroom building in the background. The trees are coral and ficus.
This playground came with rave reviews and it lived up to the hype. Glen Alla is an L.A. city park that's fairly close to our house just southeast of Marina Del Rey in a mostly commercial-industrial district. The year-old universally accessible playground equipment is great, but mostly this park spacious, clean and well-kept. Glen Alla reminds me of Playa Vista's excellent Tot Lot but without being such a madhouse and with plentiful street parking.

Anyway, much like the equally large play structure at the close-by Westchester Recreation Center, the theme of this play structure is the ocean. Sea creatures abound, the central platform is meant to look like the deck of a sailing ship (complete with captain's wheel), and there are even a couple of periscopes for the kids to use.

However, in contrast to the sun-baked and cramped Westchester space, the Glen Alla play area is extremely open and yet has plenty of shade thanks to several mature trees that are incorporated into the space. In addition to the main structure, there was an ocean-themed sand pit, and kids could even excavate cement sea creatures out of the sand. This playground seems to be the beneficiary of many community contributions of sand toys, so the kids can all rake and scoop and pour to their hearts' content. (I once tried to donate shovels and buckets to a Playa Vista park, but the guards swept up such unauthorized detritus immediately. L.A.'s benign neglect is much kinder to any would-be sandcastle architects.)

There's also a fiberglass cave/hill thingy, swings and a variety of cool detached thingies that make noise or spin. The play structure itself also deserves credit for having a huge number of entertaining boards with gears and bells or what have you, and Jackson and I enjoyed playing with them all. The only downside to this park is the incredibly icky bathroom, but another mom told me they'll probably be replacing it soon.

We drive by the area around Glen Alla all the time, and we'll definitely be visiting again. What can I say? I can't resist any park with a pirate ship!

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