Saturday, April 28, 2012

Splash Park Fun

Yesterday my youngest 3 and myself  met up with 2 of my friends, Julie M. and Michelle H., and their kiddos at the newly opened Splash Park here on Fort Polk. The girls and I had a great time just relaxing, talking, laughing and, well , just hanging out while we all let our kids run around and enjoy the water and the great weather here in La. Gabriel did not need to be told twice to go play and was gone with out a second glance back at me, while Ian was not very happy at all, at first, but after about an hour he was running around playing with all the water and screeching and doing his own baby thing with out a care in the world. While Sasha was doing the pre-teen thing of trying to be cool and look bored out of her mind when I would look her way, but when I was not paying attention she was right in there with  her brothers enjoying the water. They had such a great time that when it was time to leave I had to bribe them with pizza and a return play date just to get them to leave the park.

Julie and Michelle , with their kids, actually ended up leaving before we did, since they had arrived about 30 minutes be us. After they had left Gabriel fell right into playing with some of the other kids that where there on a field trip, this past week was spring break here in La., while Sasha and I just hung out and played with Ian.
As I was walking around I got to thinking about something Julie had said about how she did not think she would be bringing her kids back here, nor Michelle, any time soon since the park was not really created with safety in mind and she could not understand how the Army was able to get the park approved for such young kids or even get insured for that matter.

See the park was built for kids 12 and under, but it does not seem that safety was something that was in the for front of the Army's mind when it was being planned or constructed.
The ground is only concrete, there is no cushiony area to it, so it is very slippery every where. During the 2 hours that I was there Gabriel fell at least 6 times and poor Ian was on his back side a good amount of time too since he was not able to get a good foothold on the wet cement.
There are 4 " rides" in the little kiddie area, shaped like water animals that shoot water out of holes, that from afar look like a soft material, but once you are right upon them you notice that they are a very hard plastic, which just screams "danger".
There are life guards on duty, but it seems that most of the parents there are not very diligent with keeping an eye on anything other than their phones, so you have much older kids that are running around pushing and shoving the smaller kids , which is easy to do since there is no area blocked of for babies/toddler, etc.
You are not allowed to bring drinks or snacks in so if your child does need a drink or want a snack then you have to leave the park. I was told that you could come back in after you had eaten and not have to pay another entry fee, which is $2 for each child, but that was only if there was room when you came back.
There is plenty of sitting and tables and covered areas which makes it easy for parents to sit and watch the children play and not have to be in direct sun light the whole time.

But, see even with all these thing that could be changed to make it safer for your child and easier on you as a parent when it comes to letting your child run around playing and having fun the one thing that does not change is the fact that your child does not care if there is a soft area for him to land on when he falls down from over excitement or that your toddler does not care if the water " rides" are made of plastic or some soft material that will be a little more forgiving if she happens to hit her mouth or head on it from having so much fun playing on them. They just want to have fun, period, and we as parents need to come to the point where we can let them do this with an understanding that it is okay for our kids to fall and get hurt and have bruises, because they are kids and that is what being a kid is all about.

Needless to say it was the best $6 I have spent in a long time and that my 3 are looking forward to going there again for some more water fun.



Ian and Sasha enjoying some tunes

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