Now that Spring is officially here we've begun our annual obsession with parks and playgrounds. We've always been on a quest to find the quintessential park. For us that means a great playground, a swingset with at least two baby swings (no lines, no fighting!) a good, kid-friendly trail, and accessible bathrooms. Parks get bonus points if they have any added features like a sandbox or water feature.
We've realized recently that one of the best parks we've ever visited is right in our backyard (well, not exactly, but pretty darn close), Squaw Valley Park on Fox Chapel Road in Fox Chapel.
This park is lovely. It's beautifully manicured and has just about every single thing one could want in a good park. And it's small, so, while county parks like North Park may have it all, you can't easily park and walk to everything. At Squaw Valley you can. It's relatively small but it packs a punch.
We could literally stay at this park all day, there are just so many little treasures.
The park had a great playground complete with a separate area for toddlers but last year they added a second playground and it is amazing. Brand new and colorful, the new playground is a huge hit with all ages. In addition to the two playgrounds with traditional slides and climbing features, the newer playground also features swings, rockers, and a spinning thing (what are those things officially called?).
The fishing/duck pond is the central feature of the park, and with built-in benches it's a great place to sit and eat lunch while watching the ducks. There are some trails through the woods that offer a the feeling of hiking at a big state park while still being easy enough for kids. Just beyond the original playground lies a large stage, provided by Busy Beaver, that my kids like to sing and dance on while mom and dad offer the appropriate applause.
Another favorite feature with our family is the sand volleyball court. When nobody is playing volleyball it transforms into a giant sandbox. We all take off our shoes and socks and have a ball. I also noticed a lot of families teaching their children to ride their bikes on the paved tennis courts and basketball courts. Finally a huge paved trail circles the entire grounds- great for exercising as well as a stroll with the kids.
I can't think of much this park doesn't have, except a water feature, but even that is solved by the spiggot near the volleyball courts which turn into an makeshift sprinkler for the kids in the summer. And it's all new and clean and well maintained. Right off of the Fox Chapel exit of Route 28 (head North on Fox Chapel road just about 1/2 mile) it's easily accessible from just about any side of the city.
If we have another beautiful weekend like last, you should definitely plan a trip to Squaw Valley Park.
Squaw Valley is located along Fox Chapel Road, between the O'Hara Township Municipal Building and Delafield Road.