Test Drive

Playground pleases kids, parentsBuilding a Better PlaygroundTallahassee Museum’s New Site Pleases Kids and Parents

By Gina Davidson

{mosimage}As a parent of small children, I’m always on the lookout for something fun to do – especially if it involves exercise (for them, not me), and if it means they’ll be so tuckered out, they’ll sleep all night. Combine activity with education, and I’m in! So I was excited when a friend suggested we check out the new playground at The Tallahassee Museum.

The museum and the Junior League of Tallahassee teamed up to create this fun, educational experience for families in our area. With the help of more than 400 volunteers over four days, they constructed the playground, which is twice the size of the old one.

We arrived with our crew of four youngsters (ages 3-6, plus husbands, thank goodness!) and were thrilled to find one of the best things a playground in Tallahassee can have – shade! And lots of it! We were also happy to see that the expansive playground features two play areas. There’s a “boat” for the pre-K bunch, where they can climb, slide and play. And an elaborate “fort” for the older kids, beckoning them with rope ladders, a twisting tube slide, fireman’s pole, bumpy bridge and more.

Of course, the kids took off in several directions all at once, but since there is only one way out of the play area, we were at ease.

My daughter headed for the swings which, much to my delight, had covered chains, meaning no pinched fingers. Best of all, the swings were big enough, and long and strong enough, for me to take a ride! A tire swing and baby swings rounded out our choices.

The triple slide was calling my son’s name. This bright blue creation lets three kids ride at a time, squelching the argument of who goes first. It offers three unique bumpy rides, each ending in a slow stop. No catching flying toddlers mid-air or sore fannies that hit the ground too hard.

My friend’s son went for the tire tunnel, a little hideaway nestled near the fort. Also hiding away was my niece, who found the partially enclosed sandbox and managed to get far dirtier than the rest of the bunch. Thankfully, restrooms are nearby, making it easy to clean up and take potty breaks – vitally important at this stage of life.

And what trip to the playground would be complete without the ever-present plea for snacks and drinks? Have no fear, the Trail Break Café is near! And a water fountain is also available.

Before heading out on the nature trail, we played the museum’s interactive games. We did mazes where you find the path from the animal to their habitat. We matched animals to their paw prints, and played a peek-a-boo game to discover where animals live. There were also musical pipes for the children to play.

The adults in our group took turns relaxing on the porch swing and nearby benches, sipping our sodas and staying cool in the shade. The new playground was the perfect start to a pleasant day at the museum. It was a Tallahassee morning well spent.

Look, Ma! No Hands Massage!

{mosimage}Technology meets ancient Chinese massage in the Massage Mouse. While it looks like a computer mouse and is happy to sit next to you at work and hold your papers, the gadget is actually a hands-free relaxing massager. To work off several hours of tension and stress, place the mouse’s removable massage pads to the sore joints and muscles of your body and let Electro Muscular Stimulation bring relief within minutes. For more information, call (800) 803-4370 or visit hi-dow.com/MassageMouse.htm

Gallery Hopping Online

{mosimage}Even though the artwork of your dreams is being created in a Paris garret – and you’re in Tallahassee – you can still find each other through Boundless Gallery. Using this virtual gallery, you can view independent artists work from all over the world – paintings, prints, photographs, ceramics, fiber art, jewelry and more – and buy it online in the comfort of your own home. Boundlessgallery.com  

Easy Mending for Greenhorns

{mosimage}Missing buttons and frayed hems can turn favorite clothing into back-of-the closet clutter. In her new book, “Hand Mending for Beginners: 10 Easy Illustrated Steps to Save You Time and Money,” Nan L. Ides offers novices simple and time-efficient instructions for basic clothing repairs. With this easy read, even the fumble-fingered will be stitching in no time. $10.95 plus shipping at iUniverse.com , barnesandnoble.com , or Amazon.com .

Categories: Quick Reads