Today I’m happy to bring you a park review from Grinnell, Iowa. The girls and I visited two parks in Grinnell that had both recently received MAJOR renovations. We had a blast and will definitely be back.
Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park – 1500 Penrose Street Grinnell, Iowa 50112
When we pulled up, I almost didn’t recognize this park compared to our visit last year! This park has a really great combination of available activities and amenities for the location. It hosts softball/baseball diamonds, has sand volleyball, tennis courts, nice green space, picnic shelters, restrooms, and now two remarkable playgrounds!
Playground 1 that we played on is nearest to the parking lot. It had a variety of structures and was definitely geared toward the 8 and under crowd. The height of the features was enough to be satisfying to my 7 year old but totally safe for my 2 year old crazy climber. There was a small feature of musical play items – chimes and drums and such – and also some fun interactive pieces on the equipment itself. This play ground also had multiple sets of monkey bars that my oldest really enjoyed.
Playground 2 was set further back from the parking lot we used but was visible from playground 1. This playground was created with a slightly older child in mind. The set gets incredibly tall with numerous fun and bright slides and opportunities for different kinds of climbing. It does have a secondary smaller play structure so if you aren’t comfortable with your little ones climbing the big main one they have some place they can go. It also has a rope climbing feature that my middle girl – age 4 – loved. My oldest thought this was the COOLEST playground she had seen in a while.
My 7 year old thought this playground was so neat that she wanted to make a video to share with you to give her opinion…
She IS right about one thing..the footing is little bits of blue rubber and if you don’t have tennis shoes on it can get in your shoes and be a bit annoying – still it didn’t stop my kids and I from having a blast at this park. If you are in Grinnell you need to keep it on your radar as it is definitely unique from many of the other play grounds in the area.
Park Pros: A lot of activity options in one spot, two playgrounds equals twice the fun, playground structures that are unique compared to many in the area, nice restrooms.
Park Cons: Parking is a bit away from where we played (but it was open green space and easy to cross), the blue tire type footing can get in shoes and sandals and be a bit annoying, and parents will want to keep an eye on younger kiddos at the taller structure although my 2 year old was fine.
The other park we visited today was..
Grinnell’s Central Park – 925 3rd Ave Grinnell, Iowa 50112
This park has also been recently updated and it shows. One thing I loved about this park was the abundant shade! A lot of mature trees are involved in the landscape and so it was very easy to find cool spots even in the middle of summer.
One thing they have recently added is a fountain/splash pad area! We didn’t get in the water today but plenty of kids were by the time we left and it looked like they were having a blast. There is a shelter house near the fountains for seating and storing bags or other items.
The play structure was fairly basic of what you would expect at a nice city park. My kids enjoyed the slides and other features that were all in great shape. One thing that this park has is GREAT footing with a rubber padding that is soft, durable, and all one piece so it doesn’t travel home with you in your shoes!
Another thing we loved about this park OF COURSE was the sand pit. It does look like they still have a few sand play items waiting to be installed but the sensory experience of playing in sand is always adored by my 2 and 4 year olds. The sand was fine and it appears it must be maintained as there was no litter/debris in the sand when we were there.
Overall this is a great mid-sized park located in the heart of Grinnell, Iowa. Street parking is right next to the playground and shade is plentiful. We will be back again!
Park Pros: Sand feature, Great Footing, Splash Pad, Nearby Parking, Lots of Shade
Park Cons: Playground structure is mid sized, splash pad could get very busy on hot days so crowding may be an issue.
Just a side note..if you are ever in Grinnell long enough to need a tasty treat I definitely recommend the Dari Barn right near Ahrens Park for a sweet ice cream treat after a day of play! 1810 6th Ave, Grinnell, IA.