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Heritage Park -- Palo Alto
300 Homer Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Amenities: Children’s playground (a cooperative effort between the city of Palo Alto and Friends of Heritage Park; unique features include a train, a dolphin, a climbing rock, and a personalized wall); picnic tables (one handicap accessible); benches
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Word on the Street
Located in downtown Palo Alto, Heritage Park boasts of a well-kept lawn, playground, walking pathways, and a beautiful sentinel redwood tree that the little ones always seem to love running around. This 2.6-acre facility was completed in 2003, so the play structure is still shiny-bright and the woodchips are still fresh. The children's playground, with its mural of childrens' handprint tiles, is a popular place to play. It's enclosed with a fence, so grownups can sit on one of the benches and relax as their children run around. There is a toddler play structure, whose choo-choo train shape lends itself perfectly to imaginative as well as physical play. The big-kid play structure is challenging enough to entertain elementary schoolers, and the lagoon-shaped sand play area always seems to have an abandoned spade or shovel for kids whose caregivers forgot to bring any. There is also a big climbing rock that children can scramble on (younger children will need supervision; parents may find themselves climbing the rock themselves to keep up with the more adventurous types), and a sandbox. And with the Museum of American Heritage right across the street (not to mention the kid-friendly eateries and frozen yogurt stops just a couple of streets away), there's no shortage of places to head to next. The one downside to this park is the lack of restroom facilities -- or, for that matter, any shady groves or clumps of bushes to shield the most desperate toddler! This doesn't seem to deter the families who gather for playtime and camaraderie, because despite its shortcomings, Heritage Park is still a much-welcome swath of green for families who live in congested downtown Palo Alto.