Now that spring weather is finally here, we’re going to get back to highlighting some “great parks” for families. And just like recent entries in the Indoor Play series, readers will be helping me with the reviews. First up, Rebecca Greco tells us about Vaughn Athletic Center Park. With its rubber surface, it is an especially great choice on muddy spring days!
Name and details:
Vaughn Athletic Center Park is located at 2121 West Indian Trail in Aurora. It’s part of the Fox Valley Park District. The park is tucked away a little bit at the back of the parking lot, so you can’t actually see it from Indian Trail. Go into the entrance by the large Vaughn Athletic Center sign and follow the parking lot around to the back and you’ll see it.
Q. Can you describe the playground? Anything special it offers?
The park at the Vaughn Athletic Center has been one of our favorites for several years now. We have a park directly across the street but still feel like it’s worth it to get into the car and drive over to this one a couple times a week. There are some fun and unique pieces of equipment that aren’t at other parks we go to and there is plenty of open space to run around.
Q. What type of playground surface? Cushion, mulch, sand, etc?
Q. Is there a separate playground for toddlers?
Yes, there are two sections to the park. A larger area for older kids with climbing equipment and monkey bars and then a toddler area with smaller slides and a rock to climb.
Q. Is there a paved trail or path good for walking or riding bikes and scooters?
There are some sidewalks and a little bit of a path but it doesn’t really seem to lead anywhere. I tried walking around it last year and ended up in a neighborhood, I couldn’t find a connecting walking path.
Q. What was your child’s favorite part of the park? Least favorite?
When I asked my 4 year old her favorite part she said, “Everything!” She really loves the musical instruments they have and likes to put on shows. There’s a little stone bench nearby that makes the perfect audience seating while playing the instruments.
Both my daughters love sand, which this park does not have. I’m fine with that though, we have a sandbox in our backyard, when we go to the park I want them to run around!
Q. What was your favorite part? Least favorite?
I love parks with the rubber cushion surface, especially for toddlers. As soon as the snow started melting we headed to the Vaughn park because we knew it wouldn’t be muddy since there isn’t any mulch.
One complaint about this park is that there is only one baby swing. There is a larger plastic chair swing that older toddlers and kids could go into, but when it’s busy it can be difficult to get a swing.
This park also always seems to be extremely windy because of the nearby fields and pond. We went on a fairly nice spring day but because of the wind it felt a lot colder.
Q. Does it seem like a park that might be especially crowded at certain times of day?
We go to this park quite often and it does get crowded during the day in the summer, but it’s never out of control. It’s a fairly large playground so there are plenty of options if it is busy.
We’ve taken park district classes at the Vaughn Athletic Center and the playground has always been a stop either before or after classes, and it seems like a lot of other families have the same idea.
Q. Are there public bathrooms?
The Vaughn Athletic Center has bathrooms inside, it is close but still a little bit of a walk though. There are changing tables and there are also drinking fountains, vending machines and a food court inside.
Q. Is there shade over the playground? Is there shade for a picnic?
The playground doesn’t offer much shade but right nearby there is a covered picnic area with tables.
Q. Can you describe your family’s experience a bit?
The first nice day we had this spring we headed to the Vaughn Athletic Center playground. We were one of a few families that braved the windy day to play there. Both my girls had a great time running around and exploring but really spent the majority of the trip either on the swings or playing with the instruments. Our trip was shorter than planned because while it was a relatively nice day, the wind was pretty intense and our hands were just too cold. But we will definitely be back for a lot more trips as the weather continues to warm up!