Guest Post: Joseph D. Reading Park

In honor of National Kids to Parks Day (May 19, 2012), I decided to venture outside my comfort zone and take my girls (three years old and one year old) to a park we never had been to before.  We actually drive by it several times a week, but have never checked it out.

I was pleasantly surprised as we drove down the driveway leading to the park area.  Parking is close to the playground and is easily accessible.  There is a sidewalk leading right from the parking lot to the playgrounds which is great when bringing a stroller along.  We passed by several covered pavillions which were set up for parties.  Some people even set up their own!  They all looked very inviting to my party loving three year old!

Slide on “little kids” playground
There are two playgrounds right next to each other.  They look very well maintained and inviting.  One is the “little kid” playground and the other is the “big kid” playground.  There were very few differences between the two, namely the “Wiggly Bridge” (as my three year old called it) and some more spaces to climb up/down.  Both playgrounds have swings (bucket and regular) and slides.  The slides have a tendency to get hot as they old school metal ones, but weren’t too bad the day we were there.  We checked out the “little kid” playground first.  My one year old is not walking yet, so I sat her in the mulch by the large number manipulative.  She had fun spinning the numbers and watching her big sister run around.  The “big kid” playground was just too inviting, so my three year old ended up spending most of her time over there, but would go back and forth between the two.  The playgrounds are close enough that you can watch your children on both at the same time.  My girls also really liked the swings.

“Big kids” playground

“Little kids” playground
We were there before lunch time and the sun was really strong over the playground.  The only shade to be found was that made by the equipment itself!  Make sure you bring a lot of water when you come if it is sunny.  There is a water fountain near the bathroom, but it was not working the day we went.  We decided to take a break for a snack under one of the many trees on the park grounds.  It was nice to get out of the sun for a while.  There is also a lot of room for children to run around.  As we ate snack, my three year old was eying a “mountain” by our spot.  She felt like such a big girl when she reached the top.  There was a flat field at the top which would be perfect for flying kites in the fall!

One thing I always look for when I am going out is a bathroom.  Thankfully, there is a bathroom on the park grounds as we had to use it on the way out.  Unfortunately, it had a strong smell of cleaner, but didn’t feel very clean.  There was no soap, but the water did work.  Note to self, bring hand sanitizer!
All in all, we really enjoyed our first visit at Joseph D. Reading Park.  I definitely see us going there in the future to play and for picnic lunches.  Kline’s Freeze (yum!) is not far from the park entrance so you could get ice-cream on the way in or on the way home!
The lowdown:
Pros
Easy parking.
Pavilions available.
Well maintained and clean equipment.
Two playgrounds for different ages.
Lots of shade for resting and picnics.
LOTS of room to run.
Cons
Playground is very sunny.
Metal slides get hot.
Bathroom is not the best.
Make sure you bring enough water for everyone and some hand sanitizer!  Maybe we’ll see you there!
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Angela Pounders is a transplant to Manassas Park from Arlington.  She is blessed to be a stay at home mama to two beautiful girls.  As a former teacher (as well as preschool director and Children and Family Director), she is always on the look out for fun, easy and educational things to do with her girls.  She also loves to share her ideas and is looking to start her own blog, Master’s Daughter, by the fall.