Residents of Burlington's New North End were pleased to say farewell this summer to the pressure-treated splinter factory that was Starr Farm Playground. After a series of neighborhood meetings, the city replaced the squeaky old swings with a futuristic, alien landscape that's as fun as it looks. My wife, Maggie, and I bring our daughter, Sailor, there a few times a week.
The colorful new playground is divided into two distinct areas. A toddler play structure offers a variety of old standbys such as baby swings and a small slide, along with a board showing shapes and colors, as well as a plastic hand drum.
But where this new playground really shines is in the big-kid area. At 4, Sailor's technically not old enough to play there — it's meant for ages 5 to 12 — but that's where we spend most of our time. The centerpiece is a jaw-droppingly tall 16-foot, 7-inch PlayWeb structure, a geodesic sphere that contains its own ropes course and is connected to the main structure by a cargo net bridge suspended several feet in the air. It's without a doubt the most challenging and fun element of the park. Even I want to get in there.
Not feeling so adventurous? Kids can play plenty of great games closer to the ground with an underground "telephone" system, a fire bell and a sling-swing.
Every year, hundreds of orphaned and injured wild birds and mammals need help. Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators are trained to aid our feathered and furred friends, and properly release them back into the wild. Campers learn what’s involved, focusing on Vermont species, how we can help them thrive in nature, and…(more)