Check Out the New Macomb Rec Center Playground and Spray Park

Today we went to check out the new Macomb Rec Center Playground and spray park (located at 3409 Macomb Street, NW) which was just renovated by DC DPR.  In a word, it’s great.

The new playground exists on the footprint of the old playground – leaving the basketball court and the baseball field still intact.  Also, the mature and very shady trees remain, which is quite nice.  The new renovation features a small sprinkler park, a completely gated off toddler play area with swings, a “big kid” play area (both Cameron, almost 5 and Violet, 2.5 preferred this area), many picnic tables, the existing rec center (which looks like it got a fresh coat of paint,) and several benches .  I’m including a lot of pictures of the playground and spray park so you can see what it looks like.

My only critiques are that in the spray park there isn’t really any where to sit (or even stand) to the side and watch your kids without being somewhat sprayed.   Within the gated toddler area there are also no benches for sitting.  That’s about it – very small quibbles over all!  Maybe in the future more benches could be added – there is certainly room for them (except in the spray park.)  Overall – well done DPR!  It’s a lovely playground and it’s so nice to have an additional spray park to go to in the summer months.

The New Playground and SprayPark in the Palisades is Great!

This morning Violet and I went with some friends to check out the newly redone playground and spray park in the Palisades area of DC (5200 Sherier Place, NW Washington, DC 20016).  All in all, the new playground is really beautiful.  It has features to appeal to a wide variety of ages in both the wet and dry areas of the park.  There are only 4 swings, which is fine with me – 2 “big kid swings,” one bucket swing, and one handicapped swing.  There are large and small rock formations to climb, a few slides – including one really big one (watch out, it gets hot!) and lots of fun things to climb up and across.  There are some musical things to play too.  In the wet area there is a water slide, some fish that dump water when filled (similar to the buckets at the Wilson Aquatic Center) and sprinkler fountains of varying sizes.  Violet was more into the little fountains, and the older kids were really enjoying the big ones. There was something for everyone!

Overall, it was a huge hit!  There is limited shade, not too much seating as far as benches go, and the only trash can I saw was just outside the gate – those would be my only critiques.  Otherwise, a great renovation by DPR! We can’t wait to go back!!

Update: We went back this afternoon with my son who is 4.5 – He totally loved it, and I wanted to note that DPR did a great job at picking equipment that is really good for all ages – so both my kids could really enjoy the space in different ways.  Also, the playground had much better shade in the afternoon than in the morning.  And finally, the only way I could get my kids to leave was to promise we could go back tomorrow afternoon – that is saying something!

The Pizza Playground at the Zoo is Back….

Violet and I went to the National Zoo yesterday morning to check out the new Pizza Playground which just re opened.  I wasn’t sure what to expect – but I didn’t expect to see basically the same playground!  The pizza has been replaced – and is now square instead of round.  The toppings are still there, but some of them are fastened down to the pizza.  There is still plenty of shade over the pizza.  And that’s about it – honestly, I was a little underwhelmed.  Here are some pictures so you can see what it looks like:

New Pizza Playground at the National Zoo – Coming Soon!

My kids were big fans of the Pizza Playground at the National Zoo – and last year by way of my FONZ membership I heard that they were going to be renovating it.  Well, it seems that renovation is currently under way – and the playground is now closed, but it is set to re open on June 29th!

I can’t wait to check it out!  There is going to be a party on opening day.  Here are the details from the Zoo website:

Celebrate the public re-opening of the Pizza Playground on June 29 from noon to 1:00 p.m.! Enjoy access to the new square Pizza Playground as well as free pizza and a commemorative gift courtesy of Ledo Pizza® while supplies last. You can also Meet-a-Farm Animal – Alpacas, donkeys, and goats! Keepers will introduce you to one of the many furry or feathered residents of the Farm (weather permitting.)

PS: I heard about the closing of the Pizza Playground via a tip from a reader and friend…. keep them coming!

Wilson Acquatic Center Closing for Maintenance & Spray Park Season is Almost Over!

Heads up moms!  The Wilson Aquatic Center is scheduled to close for its yearly maintenance / cleaning from Sunday, August 26 through Saturday, September 8, 2012.

Also, after labor day weekend (September 3, 2012) the sprinkler parks across the city will be shutting down for the 2012 summer season.

Violet enjoys the last moments of summer fun at Chevy Chase Rec. It's been fun, Summer 2012!

So get out there and enjoy them while you can! And get ready to head back to the Wilson Aquatic Center once it re opens in September!

For all the details regarding the closing and maintenance schedule for ALL the DC DPR Spray Parks, Outdoor pools, and Indoor Aquatic Centers, check out the DC Department of Parks and Recreation website.

Free Party at Turtle Park on July 27th!

Come and enjoy a free party at Turtle Park on Friday, July 27th from 5:30 – 8:00 PM.

A moon bouce, hot dogs, and sno cones - basically my son's idea of heaven. And it's free!

Bring the kids and the whole family and enjoy FREE Sno-cones, moon bounces, face painting, popcorn, music, hot dogs.

This event is brought to you by Restoration Church is collaboration with Friendship Recreation Center (Turtle Park), DC Parks & Recreation.

I will be there with my kiddos – see you there!

FYI – I found out about this event via the Friends of Turtle Park email list serv – if you’d like to sign up for it, check out their website.  And to keep up with what the Department of Parks and Rec is doing, follow them on twitter!

Emergency “Summer Fun” Bag – Keep it at the Ready!

How many times have you gone to the playground in the summer, only to be surprised that the sprinklers are turned on (I’m looking in your direction, moms I met yesterday at Chevy Chase playground!).  It certainly happens here in DC often enough – DPR has set summer hours and dates for the spray parks, but no one seems to actually follow them.  Don’t be that mom with the toddler staring longingly at the other kids cooling off in the water – keep a bag of supplies in the trunk of your car or in the bottom of your stroller at all times.  You never know when it will be time to have some sprinkler fun!

Cameron is actually in his swimsuit and coated in sunscreen - so I must have been really on my game this day!

Here’s what I always have in my summer fun bag – keep in mind, I’ve got 2 kids, so my bag has 2x the supplies!:

2 towels for drying off after.  Even with all this heat, the water is chilly, and the kiddos can get cold at the end.

2 diapers – regular – not swim (both for Violet, Cam doesn’t wear them)  I only bother using swim diapers for actual swimming.  They are expensive, and for sprinkler play I just leave Violet in a regular diaper then change her out after.

2 Rash Guards (optional) – one for each kid.  This way you can just take off their shirts, put on the rash guards, and let them go.

2 changes of clothes – one for each kid.  If I am feeling really lazy, I’ll just let the kids go in in their existing outfits, then change them after.  There is really no need for full on swim attire – you can  skip the rash guards if you don’t have them / don’t want to bother.


It’s not exactly rocket science, I know – but so many times I hear parents saying at the park “You can’t go in because I didn’t bring your swimsuit.”  With just a little preparation – you will always be ready!  Just be sure to replenish your summer fun bag when you get home so next time it is ready with fresh supplies.

Washington DC Spray Park Summer 2012 Schedule!

I see a lot of you are looking for new info for the 2013 Spray Park Summer schedule – here are the hours this summer:

14th and Girard Street Spray Park 1 14th and Girard Street, NW | Mon – Sun 10:00am – 7:00pm
14th and Park Road Spray Park 1 14th Street and Park Road, NW | Sun – Fri 10:00am – 7:00pm; Sat 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Chevy Chase Spray Park 3 5500 41st Street, NW | Mon – Sun 10:00am – 7:00pm
(202) 727-7714
Friendship Spray Park 3 4500 Van Ness Street, NW | 20016 Mon – Sun 10:00am – 7:00pm
(202) 282-2198
Girard Street Park Spray Park 1 1480 Girard St NW | 20009 Mon – Fri 11:00am – 7:00pm; Sat 11:00am – 4:00pm. Closed on Sundays
(202) 671-0373
Joseph H. Cole Spray Park 5 1299 Neal Street, NE | Mon – Sun 10:00am – 7:00pm
(202) 442-9262
Lafayette Spray Park 4 5900 33rd Street, NW | 20015 Mon – Sun 10:00am – 7:00pm
(202) 282-2206
Palisades Spray Park 3 5200 Sherier Place, NW | 20016 Mon – Sun 10:00am – 7:00pm
(202) 282-2186
Petworth Spray Park 4 801 Taylor Street, NW | 20011 Mon – Sun 10:00am – 7:00pm
(202) 576-6850
Riggs LaSalle Spray Park 4 501 Riggs Road, NE | 20011 Mon – Sat 10:00am – 7:00pm. Closed on Sundays
(202) 576-5224

I’ve been pestering the DC Department of Parks and Rec (@DCDPR on twitter) regarding the spray parks – thankfully they have been very informative, and patient with me!  Today I heard back from Sean Link, the Aquatic Program Manager for DPR (apparently spraygrounds fall under his domain) with the summer schedule, and also a little info on what had been happening at my local spray parks – Chevy Chase / Livingston Playground and Friendship Rec /  Turtle Park.  Let’s start with the summer hours (which begin Monday, June 18).  Until the 18th, hours are Friday – Sunday, 12 pm – 6pm.

Violet checks out the water at Livngston Playground over Memorial Day weekend

14th & Girard Mon – Fri, 10am – 7pm; Sat 11am – 5pm, Sun 11am – 5pm
14th & Park Mon – Fri, 12pm – 7pm; Sun 3pm – 7pm
10th Street Park Mon – Fri, 11am – 7pm; Sat & Sun 11am – 5pm
Joe Cole Mon – Fri, 11am – 7pm; Sat & Sun 11am – 5pm
Chevy Chase Rec / Livingston Playground Mon – Fri, 11am – 7pm; Sat & Sun 11am – 5pm
Columbia Heights Mon – Fri, 11am – 7pm; Sat 11am – 4pm Closed Sunday
Friendship Rec / Turtle Park Mon – Fri, 11am – 7pm; Sat 11am – 4pm Closed Sunday
Lafayette Mon – Fri, 11am – 7pm; Sat 11am – 4pm Closed Sunday
Palisades Mon – Fri, 11am – 7pm; Sat 11am – 4pm Closed Sunday
Petworth Mon – Fri, 12pm – 8pm; Sat & Sun 12pm – 8pm
Riggs-La Salle Mon – Sat, 12pm – 7pm Closed Sunday

If you would like more specific information on these spray parks, including addresses and locations, you can find it on the DC DPR website.
There’s also been a lot of confusion going around the neighborhood list servs, and the DC Urban Mom message board about what has been on, and what hasn’t.  Friendship Rec / Turtle Park has frustratingly not seemed to be on, especially on Memorial day weekend when it was H-O-T.  Sean Link told me “At Friendship there was a staffing mix-up- evidently the normal rec person that turns it on was out on leave and his replacement had issues getting it on. That will not reoccur. We have trained up the backups at the site.” This is great news!

Also, Chevy Chase Rec / Livingston Playground was on, but at a trickle the last I saw.  Sean told me “We’ve been having some issues with CC, hopefully resolved. It ran great this weekend.”  Also, great news…..  This playground is so new I was worried that it was having trouble operating already.  I can’t wait to check it out now that everything is working properly.

//A few eye witness reports for the spray parks this week : On Tuesday the 5th, around 5pm Livingston was on, but yesterday, Thursday June 7th at about 4 it was not.  On Monday afternoon Turtle Park sprinklers were not on, but on Thursday the 7th, they were on.  So – I guess at this point it’s a gamble!  Thanks to everyone who has been emailing me with their reports!!//

Thanks to Sean Link and DC DPR twitter for helping me get to the bottom of all this so I could share the info with you guys!

FYI, to keep up with all the Department of Parks and Recreation news, “Like” DC DPR on Facebook, or follow them on twitter!

Sprayparks Are Open For Business Starting Saturday!

///UPDATE Check this post for summer hours for the DC spray parks and info on Turtle Park and Livingston Playground///

//UPDATE – I’m getting a lot of google traffic to this post so I wanted to add some more information.

First, per the official DPR press release, until June 18th, outdoor pools and spray parks are only open on the weekends (including Fridays).  The hours of operation are 12pm – 6pm. After June 18th, spray parks and pools will be open on a “summer schedule.”  I am still waiting to hear back from DPR as to what that exactly means.  And FYI, it seems like parks are basically doing whatever – I heard that Livingston was on Thursday, 5/31 even though according to the official DPR policy it wasn’t supposed to be.

Second, this weekend Turtle Park spary park (Friendship Rec) was not on.  I heard a rumor that some of the tiles needed to be replaced and they were waiting for DPW to do this.  A friend of mine was at Turtle Park Thursday 5/31 and said it was not on.

Third, this weekend Livingston playground spray park (Chevy Chase Rec) was on, but at a low level.  I talked to DPR on twitter (@DCDPR) and they said the problem had been fixed.  I have not been back to check personally.

I will continue to update with more info as I get it.//

We’ve had some hot days so far this spring here in DC, and the kids and I have been anxiously awaiting the opening of the spraygrounds for the summer season.  Well, the wait is almost over!

Cooling off at Turtle Park

As of Saturday, May 26th at 12 noon the spray parks (and outdoor pools) in DC will be open!  For me, that means I’ll be spending a lot more time at Turtle Park and Chevy Chase (aka Livingston) playgrounds.  Hope to see you there!

Click the image to see the list of pools and spray parks by DC Ward

FYI, to keep up with all the Department of Parks and Recreation news, “Like” DC DPR on Facebook, or follow them on twitter!

The Sprinklers are ON at Chevy Chase / Livingston Playground!!

///UPDATE Check this post for summer hours for the DC spray parks and info on Turtle Park and Livingston Playground///

Hooray!  Today I received an eye witness report that the sprinklers at Chevy Chase Playground (aka Livingston Playground) are finally up and running as of 1130am this morning!   The hours of operation will be 11am til 7pm DAILY – this sprinkler park is in fact open on SUNDAYS! The water comes on in ten minute cycles (on for 10 minutes, off for 2 minutes) but the button on the top of the red “hydrant” in the middle of the spray ground will keep it on continuously (see picture).  See you there!!

A picture from the testing phase - note the red hydrant in the middle which keeps the water on.

Chevy Chase Playground (often called Livingston Playground because of its location) is located at 4101 Livingston Street Northwest, Washington D.C. It is within walking distance from the Friendship Heights Metro Station (on the Red Line) and, there is also plenty of street parking.  For more pictures and information on the rest of Chevy Chase Playground (which was just renovated) check out my earlier post.