Being a nanny, I spend a lot of time in parks and playgrounds. Living in Nolita in NYC, I am always hard-pressed to find a good, clean park with an innovative children’s playground in our area. The truth is….there isn’t one and Central park is too far away for us ‘downtowners.’ We live in no-man’s land for playgrounds. Frankly, traveling has spoiled us. Charles and I have become park connoisseurs. We know what we like and expect from a well-thought out park. It is true that I am covetous of other city’s playgrounds, wishing that I could magically transport the entire park to our neighborhood.
If I had this power, I would choose to put London‘s Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground on our street. Charles simply refers to this park as the ‘Pirate Ship Playground.’ (I am sure my obsession is a bit nostalgic since I grew up playing in a similar pirate ship playground at Polliwog Park in Manhattan Beach, California). Located next to her Kensington Palace home, Princess Diana’s Memorial park was inspired by the stories of Peter Pan, creating an environment of discovery and make-believe. The main attraction is the pirate ship surrounded by CLEAN, powdery sand (great for sandcastle building). The playground is an adventureland featuring teepees, musical gardens, sensory trails, a rock garden and other typical playground wooden structures. Aesthetically, this playground is beautifully arranged with plants, flowers, sculptures, grassy areas intermixed among the play areas. There is also a cafe and well-kept bathrooms.
I am happy in this playground and Charles is always asking to stay ‘just a little bit longer, please.’ Even when the park is crowded, I don’t feel trapped. If I could transport this playground, I would certainly include the lake located outside its fenced walls. The open space is much needed in our neighboorhood and feeding ducks and swans never gets tiring!
Fortunately this trip, we stayed at the Dorchester hotel located directly across from Hyde Park. The Pirate Ship Playground beckoned us from our hotel windows.