One of my favorite things to do in the summer is bring the kids to new parks.  Exploring new parks is a cheap way to get exercise, keep playing fun, as well as exploring new neighborhoods and meeting new people.     I discovered that it is really challenging to learn any information about parks other than what is published on city or county websites, so I decided to document my impressions on the places I visit.

Community Center Park


Park Review- Community Center Park Inver Grove Heights, MN

Address- 80th St. and Barbara Avenue East, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077

Inver Grove Heights has some nice, large city parks in comparison to surrounding communities.

The Community Center Park is located next to The Grove Aquatic Center. This park has three different areas for children of all ages.  There is a small children area with toddler swings, a small children climbing structure with slides and low stairs.  There is a little area that my kids used to play house in, there are a few ride on spring toys and there is a sand/gravel digging area.   There is also a bigger kid area with a multi-level climbing structure with 3 tube slides, and one straight slide and a climbing structure in addition to two toys to bounce or spin on. There are flat rock stairs separating the little kid from big kid areas, to help keep your little kids away from the big kid area when they are in the fast, but fearless, toddler age.

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When your kids are ready to go onto the tall structure, make sure you warn your children to watch their heads.  There are red structural bars that are the exact level of a 5-year old’s forehead about every 10 stairs.  Every time I am there, I see a poor kid, so excited to climb the stairs to go down the sides, who does not see the bars, and bumps their head.  The good news is they only bump their head once, and never forget the bars are there again. There is spinning platform on pole and one of those bouncy teeter totters that bounces off of the tires. There is also a strange climbing structure that looks more like art than playground equipment, but it is fun for kids who are strong enough to try to climb and slide down.

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There is a short wood chipped trail to lead you around the pond or to the skate park on the other side of the building.  There is also a very pretty shaded gazebo area if you are lucky enough to have children that are old enough to play on their own. There is an outdoor drinking fountain and you don’t even need to worry about a stinky, port-a-potty, you can use the clean, indoor bathrooms in the building right next door, inside The Grove, Community Center.

The downfalls,  during the day there may be the school age care program on the playground equipment and watch out for those goofy red support bars.   The positives,  It has awesome 2 and 3 story tube slides, a great area for little kids separate from the big kid area and when your kids are old enough, you can sit and read a book in the shaded gazebo while they play.