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Friday
Oct212011

Great Parks! Rocket Ship Park in St. Charles

I'm optimstic that we have plenty of park weather left this falll, so this week we visit a park that will appeal to all the little astronauts out there.

Kehoe Park in St. Charles. Photo by Tara Burghart.Park Name: Kehoe Park, part of the St. Charles Park District. It is better known, however, as "Rocket Ship Park" because of the - you guessed it - rocket ship slide on the playground.

Location: Located at the intersection of 8th, Prairie and Howard Streets in St. Charles. It's located between downtown St. Charles and Randall Road. There is no parking lot, but street parking is easy.

Amenities: This is a small, 1.5-acre neighborhood park. It features a modern playground, 1960s-era rocket ship slide, swingset, drinking fountain and a small gazebo with a picnic table. It does not have bathrooms or a portable toilet.

Good For: Kids who love pretending to be astronauts or space aliens. The playground is good for all ages, although the area aimed at toddlers is connected by a swaying bridge to the equipment aimed at older kids. 

The playground at Rocket Ship Park in St. Charles. Photo by Tara Burghart.Our Experience: We've driven by this playground countless times, but we finally stopped on one of those gorgeous fall days we had earlier this month. Well, to be honest, I never stopped before because I was too nervous about my daughter climbing the three-story rocket ship that is the park's trademark feature. But she is better coordinated now, and I've really wanted to see the rocket ship up close!

I gather from a bit of web surfing that the rocket ship dates from the 1960s. It is still in good shape, but certainly not the kind of thing you see on playgrounds today! The photos here and on Flickr will explain it better than I can in words, but there are three levels to the rocket ship, each connected by a metal ladder that threads through a narrow round hole in the rocket ship's platforms. From the first level, kids can go down the metal (fast!) slide. They can keep climbing to the next two levels, but the only way down is to descend the ladder. I wouldn't let my 3-year-old daughter go any higher than the slide level -- I was worried she'd fall down the ladder or get scared up top. The openings are so small that only the most petite of moms could shimmy through them to rescue a scared child.

But even with my restrctions, my daughter had a great time climbing the rocket ship's lader and zooming down the slide. And once she was bored wih that, she played even longer on the park's modern playground. It features lots of slides, monkey bars, a swinging bridge, a climbing wall, a spider web-like climbing contraption, and more. The park also has a swingset with both baby swings and regular swings.

This park was full of kids on the day we visited, something my daughter loves. I'm sure the gorgeous weather had something to do with it, but as I talked to the friendly families there, I also got the feeling that Rocket Ship Park is a beloved little gem for the surrounding neighborhoods. It surely is unique!

Editor's Note: You can see more photos from Rocket Ship Park, as well as other sites Go West Young Mom has visited, by looking at our Flickr albums. Do you have a park that should be profiled for the "Great Parks!" series? Please let us know about it by commenting below or writing editor@gowestyoungmom.com.

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