I’ve never had occasion to check out the large Wegmans Playground at Onondaga Lake Park before because I don’t have any children. I have walked around it but had never paid much attention to it.

Wegmans Playground entrance

Wegmans Playground entrance

That is until recently, when my wife and I got to spend a few hours with my great niece Shaniece. I thought it would be a great place to take a 3-year old and let her burn off some energy; man, I was right on that one!

It seems a bit cliched to resort to using the word “cornucopia”, but this area seems to fit the bill for all the little kids. There are a host of things I never saw when I was a kid, lots of things for them to climb on and under, as well as the usual number of slides (now plastic) and swings.

Frankly, it was astounding how much of everything there was, and how big a couple of the structures were. It had to be that big because of the high number of kids who were there with their families; I’m certainly not used to being around that many kids.

There were a few things I had to learn about kids that my wife had warned me about; after all, I’m an only child who’s not really used to kids and she was one of seven but babysat a lot as a teenager.

One is that children are, for a lack of a better term, “germy”. I couldn’t believe how many kids were licking poles; yuck! They would pick stuff up and put it in their mouths, rub their faces on all sorts of things… yuck! They also had no clue about all the goose poo, and if their parents weren’t quick enough (luckily I was), they’d be stomping it it and making it squish all over the place.

Two, the slightly bigger kids don’t really care that the smaller kids might be in their way, and sometimes their parents either don’t care or aren’t paying attention. There were many times when they’d just knock those smaller than them out of their way… that is, unless they noticed an adult looking at them, and trust me I was looking at them hard. After all, my niece was with me; nothing was going to happen to her on my watch because I wasn’t the one who was going to have to tell her I failed in my duty to protect her.

Puzzle game

Puzzle game

Three, there were actually some pretty polite children. One little girl asked me if I could please help her get down from something that was scaring her, and once she was down she thanked me; that was cute. Another was confused while playing this large puzzle grid game that I had as a kid (much smaller of course) and took my suggestions in a positive way (he solved it lol).

The funny thing is that it seems the park isn’t only a gathering for children. I noticed a lot of parents or guardians enjoying each other’s company, which reminded me of park scenes I’ve seen on TV and in movies (that wasn’t a part of my childhood, so I never knew it was a real thing). I found that intriguing, and realized that, some of those parents probably found the chance to be around other adults while not really needing to worry about their kids a bit relaxing.

Of course, if you’re watching someone 4 years or younger, or a bit smaller than the other kids, some of what awaits them is a bit dangerous. Shaniece wanted to try a few things that her little legs couldn’t quite reach, and though I applauded her bravery I also applauded her common sense. There were a few things I didn’t think she could (or should) do but she figured them out and turned out to be quite adept. It was fascinating to watch and I have to admit that I had a lot of fun.

sitting by the lakeWe were there a couple of hours, which included a walk over by the lake to get close to the water and the geese, and her enjoying some of those Dippin’ Dots (ice cream of the future) you always see at the Fair. It did end up wearing her down; too bad the nap only lasted 15 minutes. lol

I don’t know if they have anything like that anywhere else within the central New York area but if you have young kids and want to check it out, go into the Onondaga Lake Parkway entrance and follow the road to the large parking lot. Once there, you can’t miss it.

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