Best Of Tucson®

Best Playground

Reid Park

Reader's Pick: An embarrassment of playground riches is what you'll find at one of the Old Pueblo's most-used parks. On the perimeters are a simple eastside play structure and a northern boundary outpost. And in the middle is the old playground with two structures, bouncy spring ride-`em creatures and a Wild West wagon. But we think the readers are talking about the biggest playground, which is on the south next to the five big turtles. Some people say the turtles are made of cement, but we swear they're real; they're just moving very, very slowly. The area has three separate orange, tan and green structures: a tri-roofed superstructure over a two-roofed model including tube connectors, a one-roofed version and a no-roofed small blue dinosaur for wee ones. The structures are mostly new and surrounded by wood chips for the hamster-cage feel, except for the middle one, which is on a rubber aggregate peninsula. There are also a few freestanding swing sets and a yellow snaky ladder thingie-enough that your child can play without ever coming near another human. If only Parks and Re would reach into the clue bag and erect some kind of shade cloth over the whole damn thing. From mid May through August the stuff gets so hot you get second-degree burns just looking at it.

Reader's Poll Runner Up: Himmel Park, North Tucson Boulevard and First Street. A propensity for slides is what makes Himmel Park an attraction: six slides in all, three straight, two curly and one tube. Two are in the toddler structure, a low bunny-sized affair surrounded by a big circle of sand and no fewer than 11 picnic tables. Our child graduates to the other side of the park and the colorful Mexico Forge Playbooster with one of each slide variety. Drawing children in like bees to nectar with its blue, orange and green, this metal and plastic icon tops out at 10 feet, with the upper platform a mere 6. You'll find it flanked by a tree and a bench for sleep-deprived parents and surrounded by a circle of sand full of such treasures as juice lids, cicada hulls, and the occasional penny. Finally it's back to the west side of the park for the granddaddy of all slides, a dizzying 12-foot-tall ramp of shimmery, sizzling steel; they don't build slides like this anymore in this litigious age. Alongside it are three big swings to complement the eight toddler swings throughout the park. Slide on down to Himmel with or without your kids.

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