fresh air fridays

Fresh Air Fridays Playgroup: Gregory Park Review

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Fresh Air Fridays Play Group

The Fam and I are huge fans of playgrounds and parks. FREE fun, always accessible during the summer, and can be achieved with not a ton of planning or travel. What’s not to love?

We have discovered our “favorite hang-outs” and we know which are safe and clean. But I know there’s many other parks/playgrounds in our area that we have never been to.

And then last year it struck me. Maybe other Moms would like to know what play areas are the PITS, and which ones ROCK??? So I enlisted Fresh Air Friday’s Playgroup help to rate our area parks and play areas based on the below questions:

1. What did like best about this park?
2. What did you like the least?
3. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being best) how was the safety for the kids at this park.
4. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being best) how “parent friendly” was this park ? (shade, benches close by, bathroom close, parking lot close, etc?)
5. Overall rating.

I am so excited and happy that Bonnie Bowman is willing to take a break from her job with Fieldstone College Planning and help me fulfill this idea of providing these outdoor area reviews for all Moms/parents to see. Here’s Bonnie and crew’s latest review: Gregory Park of Brainerd:


Howdy all! Well, last week the families of Fresh Air Fridays Play Group visited Gregory ParkThis park has a great feel to it. Beautiful trees, paved paths, Open spaces for a good old game of Frisbee, or flying kites! ( Who could resist with all the wind last week.) Speaking of wind, here’s a little history on Gregory Park. 

In 1898 a Tornado hit a beautiful stand of dense Norway Pines located in the center of Brainerd know as Gregory Square. With all the trees blown down, clean up began, and a city park was formed in their place. With all the damage done by tornadoes these last weeks, it’s nice to know that some good can come of it. Pretty cool huh? Who knew! Well, on to the review:

1. What did we like best about this park? First and foremost for most parents, is the central location of the park. Its a pretty good “meet in the middle” spot for families coming from any direction. Great open spaces for running, and who doesn’t love that water fountain 🙂

2. What did we like the least? No Parking Lot! Its all street parking on busy streets. Loading and unloading is a challenge due to the amount of street traffic around the park, and the speed of cars not aware of the possibility of a darting child. There really doesn’t seem to be a “side of the park” street-wise that is safer than the other either. Just know, when you go to this park, be on your “A-game” and be watchful.

3. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being best) how was the safety for the kids at this park? For safety we give the park an 8. Everything seemed to be in good repair at both of the playground structures. Both playgrounds have pea rock for their base. We would recommend parents being on high alert for trash, however. Several parents were fishing out the gross and grimy from between ever-seeking fingers. Every park visit requires this, however with the size and traffic that Gregory Park gets, we seem to find more of the yuck!

4. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being best) how “parent friendly” was this park ? (shade, benches close by, bathroom close, parking lot close, etc?): For parent friendly we give this park a 6.5. There are picnic tables, and benches a plenty for parents wishing to observe from a distance or to set up a picnic lunch. The park has great trees for shade, but the larger playground does not have the luxury of being near any of them. 2 separate playgrounds ( 1 larger, 1 smaller) allow for you to spread out on a busy day at the park. This playground lack a good bank of swings and being a playgroup for 5 yrs of age and under, we find swings in high demand! Also the park lacks some age-appropriate equipment for the under 2yr crowd. No parking lot is a definite negative too. The play equipment being located near the edge of the park puts kids closer to the road then most of us like. There are water fountains and bathrooms located in the park, just wishing they were closer to the playground equipment. The park is surrounded by gorgeous churches which helps give things a great “serene” feel.

5. Overall rating? Overall rating for Gregory would be a 7. It’s a truly beautiful park close to Downtown shopping and resources. That water fountain is a great asset and fun to get “sprinkled” by on a hot day. But overall parents with the younger crowd of kids were left wanting more age-appropriate play equipment.

Families with children 3 to 5 found the equipment adequate but not attention grabbing. Most families would choose one of the many other parks in the Lakes Area with a wider variety of equipment to bring their kids to before going back to Gregory Park.
Thanks a ton, Bonnie that is a great review. I am excited to see what adventure FAF is off to next!
Be sure and pop back to the blog in a few days to see who our next victim test subject Mom Squader is up for a Sunday Spotlight interview! I promise it will be a good one. 🙂

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About Becky Flansburg

Becky Flansburg is freelance writer, blogger and virtual assistant living in Northern Minnesota. A dedicated mom to two beautiful kids, her veteran blog is filled with laughter and love about the joys parenthood. Becky is also committed to helping women realize their work-from-home dreams, enjoy life beyond the cubicle and find clarity in the work/life/family balance. Connect with Becky via her website, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest