AS A GRANDMOTHER OF TWO, ages 2 ½ and 5 who sometimes spend the weekend with Randy and me, I’m appreciative of public playground equipment. The City of Faribault is doing a great job of installing/updating playground equipment and other amenities in our city parks. Our park system is growing as our community grows and our needs change.
Among the newest of parks is Fleckenstein Bluffs Park, located near downtown (First Avenue NE) and along the Straight River. Next door sits an under-construction apartment complex. A riverside recreational trail runs nearby. This park is sure to be well-used, especially once a picnic shelter, canoe launch site and river overlook are in place.
Recently, I stopped at the park to check out the nature-themed playground equipment. The closer I looked, the more I discovered—like animals and fossils hidden in the mini rock climbing walls and stacked logs, the acorn caps, the replica branch supports, the toadstool and stump stepping points, and much more. What a creative way to incorporate nature in to play. I expect my grandchildren will delight in finding a chipmunk, for example, among the logs.
Opportunities to create music on an over-sized xylophone also impress me.
I appreciate, too, that this playground is subdued in brown hues, fitting into the natural environment rather than splashing bold colors. This spot, after all, highlights the river, the woods, the backdrop bluffs. Nearby, the Fleckenstein Brewery once stood—thus the park name.
Across the river on the east side of town, another new park offers diverse playground equipment. My friend Brenda, who lived in Faribault until moving to Connecticut with her family, tipped me off to Meadows Park during a summer visit. Her daughter, Lyla, played with friends at this park along 14th Street NE across from Milestone Senior Living Faribault.
I appreciate Brenda’s recommendation as this will be a good play space for my grandchildren, especially given their age differences. The park offers distinct play areas marked for specific ages—one for ages 2-5 and another for ages 5-12. I don’t always feel comfortable with Isaac playing on the same equipment as his big sister, Isabelle. So this arrangement is ideal.
And, if I ever decide to pick up pickleball, Meadows Park also has courts.
Likewise, Windsor Park in south Faribault offers pickleball courts and playground equipment sized to various ages. I liked what I saw from a distance, although I didn’t stop to investigate close-up.
And just up the hill from my home, the city recently installed a basketball court in Wapacuta Park. It was much-needed and is already well-used. In the evening, especially, I hear young people playing basketball, their voices drifting over and down the wooded hillside. I smile thinking of these teens bouncing balls and shooting hoops outdoors rather than locked inside staring at screens. Years ago this park housed basketball and tennis courts, which, for whatever reason, were removed. I’m thankful the tall metal slide that our daughters climbed is gone and replaced with safer playground equipment. The grandkids enjoy Wapacuta, too.
Finally, I’m especially excited about another planned park, this one in a green space under and around our historic viaduct. The park, as yet unnamed, will be in a highly-visible location along Minnesota State Highway 60 and just a block from Central Avenue (the main street through our historic downtown). So many possibilities and opportunities exist to make this a community gathering spot. A place for the arts. For enjoying the outdoors. For recreation. For showcasing Faribault.
© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
these are brilliant! someone has really taken the time and done the research to create these park features and how wonderful for all of the benefactors of their work.
Nice to see your beautiful park playgrounds, Audrey. Finding a chipmunk would be surprise! Would you believe I live across the street from a city park children’s playground? Perfect when the grandkids visit.
Oh, Ruth, that’s wonderful to have a park directly across the street.
Yes it’s wonderful. Would you believe I had neighbors who didn’t like to hear the sounds coming from it as well as the ball field? They’ve moved away thank goodness
I suppose everyone has different “noise” tolerance levels. But, yes, probably best that they moved.
I want to escape to nature to play – me too, me too – ha! 🙂 I would love a swing set for just the adults. There is nothing more soothing than swinging, rocking, gliding when life gets busy and need a break. There are quite a few people who string up hammocks to while the day away down here in the parks. I am with you in seeing the playground equipment updated – some down here looked unsafe or needed a tetanus shot to get on with all the rust. The tennis/pickleball courts and basketball courts have been redone or refreshed too. Plus it is great to see a good majority of them open again for use. Take Care – Happy Day – Enjoy!
Good to hear you have some wonderful playground areas in your part of Florida. I, too, enjoy swinging in a glider or gently in a hammock. But I can no longer handle swinging in a regular swing.
What a great variety of parks with playgrounds in Faribault. So good for the children! So improved since when our kids were tots.
I know. Much improved.
Love all these parks you have show cased. Park equipment has come a long way the last few years. I really like when a park has the different play areas depending on the age of the child.
Yes, playground equipment is much-improved from our days and our children’s days. Think about those teeter totters and merry-go-rounds of yesteryear.
I love the hidden items! How fun for the kids to discover these 🙂
I agree. I’ve never seen anything like this before in playground equipment and love the concept.