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Springbrook Park/Uplands Elementary
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Play structure at Uplands Elementary PlaygroundWhat’s to Love: My son and I stumbled upon this little gem while touring (outer) SW parks and playgrounds. We were headed to see “Springbrook Park,” but ended up pulling into Uplands Elementary School. We were pleasantly surprised by the awesome playground structures (see pictures). Lucky for us, there were two trailheads at opposite ends of the playground that led directly into Springbrook Park.

Climbing structure at Uplands Elementary PlaygroundOne of the nice things about visiting these two locations is the convenience of visiting them both at the same time. When your kids tire of the play structure, head into the woods for a short hike on the trails of Springbrook Park. Springbrook park “…is a 52-acre urban nature area dedicated to the enjoyment of all residents and visitors to Lake Oswego. Its informal trails meander through the native plants, trees and wetlands, providing viewpoints and linking the surrounding neighborhoods and schools (source).”

Little tots playground structure at Uplands Elementary PlaygroundThe link below is a PDF-map of these “informal trails.” So, Springbrook does not have a play structure, but is more of a “Natural Area.”  Developers have tried more than once to build housing developments on this land, but it has been preserved – ENJOY! Uplands’ playground equipment (nice combination of old and new) is top notch, and this school is just off the beaten path enough to be an uncrowded destination.

When we visited, it was Saturday morning, and (for the most part), we had the entire playground to ourselves. It’s a very mellow and peaceful area with: soccer nets, a covered basketball court, porta-potty, and in the little-kids-area, some of the nicest (low-to-the-ground) monkey bars I’ve seen on a playground.

Caveats: The Springbrook trails are very short. It mainly provides a network for connecting schools and neighborhoods. So, it’s perfect for early walkers and toddlers, but it’s not the best spot for a longer, family hike.

Websites: PDF – Trail Map Friends of Springbrook Park Uplands Elementary School

Distance from Portland: Within 10 miles of downtown Portland.  Here is a Google Map of the area.

Recommended Ages: 8 and younger

Parental Stress Factor: Low stress…the trails in Springbrook all lead somewhere, so it’s practically impossible to get lost.

Physical Difficulty: Typical playground equipment, and the trails of Springbrook are all flat. Neither location is handicap-accessible.

Family Fun Factor: Because of the playground/hiking option, this is a fun stop for families with small children (8 and younger). Bring a soccer ball, basketball or baseball equipment, and the family fun factor increases!

Pet Friendly: This seems like a good place for well-behaved dogs to wander. While we were there, people were playing fetch with their dogs in the soccer field. Dogs must be on a leash inside Springbrook Park.

Weather Considerations: Obviously, best in good weather; however, Springbrook has excellent tree-cover on rainy days.

Springbrook Park Trailhead at Uplands Elementary PlaygroundInsider Info: There are several trailheads surrounding the Springbrook property. For us, it made perfect sense to park in Uplands’ parking lot. There are two options on their grounds for accessing Springbrook. On the opposite end of the playground (the side away from the Springbrook boundary), there is a very nice play structure for younger toddlers.

Swingsets at Uplands Elementary PlaygroundFamily Tips: There are some other very nice natural areas in the Lake Oswego area. Iron Mountain Park features “…49 acres of natural area and wetlands located on Iron Mountain Boulevard adjacent to the Lake Oswego Hunt Club. Provides a system of soft surface trails and wildlife viewing (source).”

So, you could combine Springbrook/Uplands Elementary with other parks or natural areas in this area.

Technorati Tags: Springbrook Park, Uplands Elementary school, schools with play structures, natural areas near Portland, toddler playground

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