Monday, August 11, 2008

Outside Adventure: Clemyjontri Park

Clemyjontri Park
6317 Georgetown Pike
McLean, Virginia 22101

This playground is unbelievable. Located in McLean it is under 30 minutes from most anywhere in Arlington and well worth the trip. Clemyjontri (named for the 4 children of the family who funded the creation of the park) is accessible to children of all abilities (think ramps, special swings, wide spaces for wheelchairs) and is a toddler's delight.

The playground has 4 main sections that surround a carousel. To fully explore each section you would probably need to stay at the park for 3 hours, however, since most toddlers cannot handle three continuous hours of running, you should not plan on doing everything in one visit. There are picnic pavilions available for use and they can also be rented for parties. The entire playground has a special track like surface that makes falls fairly painless.

We started our visit with a ride on the carousel. During the week the carousel is free and on weekends tokens are required. Each token is $1.50. Children under 42 inches must be accompanied by an adult and this adult does not need a token to ride. The carousel is beautiful. Children have the option of riding on a horse that goes up and down or one that stays stationary. There is also a teacup that spins and a chariot to sit in. The chariot is a nice option if you have a child who can not yet sit on his or her own since you can hold the child on your lap. The staff was really sweet with the kids and boarding and unloading was very efficient. My daughter had never been on a carousel and was absolutely delighted with just sitting on the horse. When the carousel started to move she was thrilled. The carousel is fully covered but stops operation on October 26th. As of September 1st the carousel will only be operational on the weekends.

We then had to go find the swings (of course) which are located in the Rainbow Room section of the playground. There were regular swings, bucket swings, chair swings, tire swings, and adapted bucket swings. We opted for a chair swing followed by a bucket swing.

From the swings we sprinted to a ramp accessible jungle gym. There were numerous steering wheels and other fun things to touch along the way to the slides. There are numerous jungle gyms of varying sizes throughout the playground. This one happened to be in the Schoolhouse and Maze section of the playground. Later in our visit we did go to the maze but our daughter didn't particularly enjoy it. She was confused and a little frightened by the walls. According to another parent, 26 months is the magic age where that starts to be fun.

In the Movin and Groovin Transportation section kids are able to play on every type of vehicle I could imagine. There were cars, planes, school buses, fire trucks, and trains for kids to climb on, 'drive', and just explore. We liked the school bus and the fire truck (which has a slide). There is also a track for foot races and many different bouncers. The frog was our daughter's favorite.

It was then that the playhouse was spotted. The playhouse is very similar to any playhouse at any playground but it caught our daughter's eye. We played restaurant (Mommy orders food, LG brings it to her, Mommy pays) until it was time to go on the carousel again.

The final section Fitness and Fun is geared towards older children but the balance beams (3 different types all with bars to hold on to) and seesaw were a big hit. The huge jungle gym has a lot to explore but for now was just fun to run on.

One more time around the carousel and then it was time to go. We were tired but happy.

Additional information:
Parking ~ there is a parking lot at the site of the playground but it fills up quickly. The overflow lot is a good walk so you might want to have a stroller on hand in case you cannot get close parking. There is a drop off area at the front of the park.

Bikes ~ though there is a very cool 'road' and tricycle parking spots located throughout the park, tricycles and bicycles are not allowed (safety issues I imagine). Wheelchairs and strollers are permitted.

Weather Warning ~ this park is new and the trees are young so there is very little shade. My daughter melts easily in the heat so we cannot go if it is over 80 degrees outside. The park surface and equipment absorb a lot of heat so be careful of burns on fragile toddler feet and hands.

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