The New Myrtle Park: Review

Last year, I reviewed Myrtle Park in Deep Cove, which is a park I grew up visiting that had changed very little. During the off-season, the park was given an upgrade, and I recently went back to check it out. Having a new spray park is an exciting thing, after all.

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Myrtle Park retained its “big kids” playground area, removing the older play structure AND the swings area, adding in more green space and a new splash area. While not exactly to the concept drawings, the revised park is still quite nice. Still, I feel like the park got more of an aesthetic upgrade than an actual PLAY upgrade. The AWESOME swing set was removed and replaced with a tiny baby swing set, no big kid swings, and one of the swing rockers that I’m not the biggest fan of. The splash pad is nice, great for small kids, but it’s not as interesting as the older version. 

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Bike Camps in North Vancouver: Pedalheads vs Escape Adventures

Aiden has now spent two summers in bike camps, but with different programs. Damien is in bike camp for the first time this year. This has given me a unique perspective to compare two bike programs offered in North Vancouver: Pedalheads and Escape Adventures.  

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Last year at age 4, Aiden completed Level 3 of Pedalheads, which was entirely conducted in a field at Brockton School. The camp focused a lot on maneuvering and obstacles, as well as road safety. Following the camp, we focused on teaching Aiden the Level 4 basics ourselves, which were mostly about road safety. We have since done some amazing and long family bike rides.

This year, I wanted both kids to go into bike camps again. Damien, at age 3, was decent on his Strider run bike and was already learning his pedal bike. Given his adventurous nature and overall level of co-ordination (drumming, 2-wheel-scooter, etc), I knew he could pick up pedal biking at this age. Initially, I had both kids registered in Pedalheads: Damien in Level 1, Aiden in Level 4. I felt like Level 4 was a bit basic for Aiden’s skill level, but the next level required a bike with gears, which we don’t have yet. Pedalheads is great for skills, but it’s progression in levels is very rigid.

Then I heard about Escape Adventures, a locally-run bike program which very quickly takes kids outside of fields and roads and gets them on trails. Already it sounded more interesting. Road and trail safety are integrated, but it’s not the sole focus – the actual bike part is quite an adventure! And, as a bonus, the program for Damien’s level was 2.5 hours instead of 1 hour (the Pedalheads equivalent for his age). DONE. 

So, I took the cancellation hit and switched the kids into Escape Adventures and it has been the BEST choice. Damien is in Mini Rippers, learning how to start and stop and ride on his own. He was just figuring out the riding part when he started the program, and is now solid on that. He’s officially done with his run bike. Starting and stopping are still a work in progress, but he’s getting there. It’s crazy that my 3-year-old is on a pedal bike without training wheels. Awesome. After working with us throughout the year, I expect I’ll put him in Mini Rippers Trails next Spring, perhaps Little Rippers by Summer. At age 4, his class at Escape Adventures will be far more interesting than it would have been if we stayed on the Pedalheads advancement track.

Aiden has been in Little Rippers Stage 2 and bikes from Lynn Valley’s Kilmer Park down into the Inter River Bike Park, taking different side trails in Lynn Valley between snack and lunch time. He’s grown in confidence amazingly, doing hills and stunts that would have freaked him out last week. It’s amazing to see.

 

Omg #daredevil #biking #bikepark

A video posted by Arieanna Schweber (@arieanna) onJul 16, 2015 at 2:04pm PDT

We plan to get Aiden a bike with gears and hand-brakes within the year, either repeating this level or going to the Extreme Riders .5 group in our next session. If that’s the case, Aiden may win the argument and get the full-face helmet he’s been dreaming about!! I just bought him a new helmet, but full-face seemed like overkill for road riding. 

Brockton School Playground

Brockton School is a private school in Lynn Valley. We paid many visits to the playground last year while Aiden was taking Pedalheads. Since the class was short, and Damien was with me, we spent a lot of time playing on the play structures. 

The playground offers older play materials, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I find some of the older play equipment is more fun than all the new “safe” stuff. There were lots of play options for kids of many ages.

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Michael Park: A Review

Nestled in a tree-surrounded wedge in the Boulevard / Calverhall neighbourhood area, off E 11th Street and Drayton Street, is a lovely little park. Michael Park boasts a beautiful shady park with a huge grassy area and lots of trees for climbing, plus a decent play structure and two swing sets (surprising!). 

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The park is partially fenced, which helps deter ‘runners’ from escaping, but cannot be relied on for determined toddlers. The kids played here quite contentedly for an hour and a half – until everyone had to use the bathroom (of which there wasn’t one, of course!).

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For more of my playground reviews, check out the full directory of North Vancouver Playgrounds.

Chief Dan George Park: A Review

Chief Dan George park is one of the smallest playgrounds in the District of North Vancouver, called a “neighbourhood pocket park,” which is great to burn off steam if you live close by, but not much else. Geared towards smaller kids, the park boasts a single play structure (climb up, slide down) and a swing set, plus a digger and a ball structure, though it does boast a larger green space for exploration. 

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For more of my playground reviews, check out the full directory of North Vancouver Playgrounds.