Heather Farm Park

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<p><strong>The setting: </strong>The children's playground sits in the midst of a large, picturesque grassy field with a clear view of Mount Diablo. Picnic tables dot the grass that surrounds the sandy play area. A manmade lake is just north of the play area. Basketball courts are adjacent to the west as is the Clarke Swim Center. The entire park, ballfields to the east and all, encompasses 102 acres. Heather Farm is an easy place to have a barbeque while the kids play.</p>
<p><strong>What's here: </strong>The playground features a wooden train and two wood playhouses for smaller children. It also boasts two main play structures with slides and other amnetities for older children. There are a total of 12 swings and five slides. Adequate but not an abundance on a busy day. My 5-year-old grandson, Shea, has enjoyed coming here since he was 2.</p> <p><strong>Coolest feature:</strong> A climbing wall rests in the middle of the playground. It has plenty of small nodules to step on, but it's a difficult wall to climb, so it's really for children age 8 and up. The small ones can take solace in ascending the first row or two. Shea needs help after the first row, but he still enjoys trying.</p> <p><strong>Ideal for: </strong>If your child is a runner or a climber, like Shea, then this is a great playground for them. There is plenty of room to roam and a variety of things for kids to safely climb. Shea likes to climb to every slide he uses rather than take the steps leading up. He also likes to climb across the two sets of hanging rings, although he still needs help with these.</p> <p><strong>How's the sand? </strong>The sand here is nice. It's grainy but not rough. It has plenty of depth, so kids can fall or jump onto it without getting hurt.</p> <p><strong>When you're done playing</strong>: There is a shopping center on the other side of Ygnacio Valley Road with a Fresh & Easy grocery store, a yogurt shop, several sandwich shops, a pizza parlor and other stores. The Contra Costa Canal bike trail runs along the park's northern border for those who want to bike there.</p> <p><strong>Parking? </strong>There is a parking lot adjacent to the playground with about 80 spaces. It's more than adequate on most days unless there is a swim meet at the Clarke Swim Center.</p> <p><strong>Restroom proximity:</strong> The bathrooms aren't that close. You either have to go to the swim center across the parking lot, the city offices just north of the play area or the ballfields east of the grassy picnic area. All of them are a bit of a trek with a small child.</p> <p><strong>Safety concerns?</strong> The lake a little north of the play area is a safety concern for parents of small children who can't swim. There are a lot of ducks and geese around that water and sometimes small children will make a run for it. It's also easy for a child to run from the play area to the parking lot, so parents should always keep an eye on their kids. There is also the occasional inconsiderate dog owner who thinks it's OK for their dog to run free through the play area even though there are signs prohibiting it.</p>
1750 Heather Dr, Walnut Creek, CA 94598
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