Playground and Park Reviews

Parks: Playgrounds and parks! We are blessed with many good ones in the Brainerd Lakes Area and it’s a great way to get out and hang with other families as well. Some of our personal favorites include Whipple Beach, Loren Thompson Park, and Berrywood. There’s also two play groups for those of you with little tots. Fresh Air Fridays and Nisswa Time to Play can both be found on Facebook.


Here a review of a few of our area Parks and Playgrounds:

Berrywood Park
Berrywood Park is located at 13199 Berrywood Dr, off of S College Rd, right across from the Heritage Assembly of God Church. Tucked in to an apartment building complex, Berrywood is surrounded by a nice little community  that also boasts basketball/tennis courts, a baseball field, and a paved walking trail.

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being best) how was the safety for the kids at this park: For safety we give this park a 10. The park has a great variety of equipment that is new and in good repair. We love that there is equipment available for all age groups. A huge safety issue is when you have younger children trying to play on equipment that is too big, and not developmentally appropriate for them. This park has the best of both worlds. For those of you familiar with Loren Thompson Park, Berrywood has a familiar layout.

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 9. Berrywood has a good size parking lot that is located right off of Berrywood Dr..  The park is set far enough off of College Drive that the busy traffic on that street is not an issue.  There is a bathroom located right next to the playground equipment, with benches and drinking fountain out front. There are also picnic tables available for a lunch at the park. The biggest downfall is the lack of shade in the morning. The playground equipment has a sand base, which is a plus or minus depending on your preference. The Layout of this park has very little for blind spots, which makes keeping your eyes on the kiddos pretty easy.

Gregory Park of Brainerd:



This 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. This park has a the central location and is 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? 🙂

Downside: 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.

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.

Note from parent: 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.
Nisswa Park
The variety of equipment for a wide age range of children. The park is not bordering any major roadways, so it eases our parent’s mind about straying toddlers ending up in front of a car. And yes, this park pulls at the heart strings and offers a good ole fashioned Merry-Go-Round.
1-10 on safety: We give it a 10. All the equipment (old and new)was in great condition. The pea rock was free of glass or debris which is very important with little hands in it all the time. The park is really well maintained and nicely groomed. 

1-10 on “Parent Friendliness” (meaning trips to the car or bathroom are not a headache): we give it a 9. Parking is up right next to the playground. The park boasts a wonderful shaded picnic area with a pavilion, picnic benches, grills, and great trees for shade. There are benches that line one side of the playground area. A great spot to watch your kids from that has little-to-no blind spots. Bathrooms are inside the warming house just off the playground as well. The 9 for rating is only due to the drive from Brainerd through construction, so in a few months hopefully that difficulty will be gone.

Would you like to review and rate an area park or playground for Lakes Area Mom Squad? We welcome any help in this department!
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 thoughts and answers to rebeccaflansburg (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!


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