Sunday, May 31, 2015


Willowglen is a quiet neighborhood park with lots of green open space and a surprising amount of play equipment. There is a play structure that is probably a 2-5 year old structure (although there are a few parts that are too high to be truly safe for the littlest ones) over rubber mat and wood chips. There are toddler swings, regular swings and a tire swing. There are some other unique set and spin toys as well. It is located between Hope Ave and La Cumbre near Foothill Rd:

A nice variety of play equipment
The play equipment is set back from the road and enclosed by a fence
There is lots of open space for bikes and running

No bathroom
The bigger kids might get bored after awhile here.

Sit and Spin, Spring Toys

Jacaranda Trees

Green Space and Trails

Play Structure

Play Structure

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Anisq'Oyo' (Dinosaur) Park

This park is our favorite park to go to after enjoying some Mexican food at Supercucas. There is a play structure for 5-12 year olds, two swings (one toddler) and a large purple dinosaur to ride all over wood chips. There is a stream with ducks nearby, so bring your leftover bread. There are concerts and other events on the other side of the stream. It is located in the center of Isla Vista on the Embarcadero del Mar/Norte loop:

The kids love the purple dinosaur.
It is never packed.
I can eat at Supercucas.

Parking is very limited.
The bathrooms are on the other side of the park and are portapottys in a building.
My husband tells me that his coworkers refer to this as dog poop park for obvious reasons.
This park does generally have some homeless people resting in it if that is something that would concern you.

Peaceful stream

Play structure for 5-12 year olds

The Purple Dinosaur

Ducks to feed

Ortega Park

This park was a blast to the past for me as I remember playing here as a kid! The park was large with a baseball diamond, basketball courts and soccer fields, an amphitheater, swings and an older kid play structure over rubber mat. It has a great Santa Barbara flavor with murals. It is located on the Eastside near the Girls Inc building:

There is an awesome structure for the bigger kids (there is no sign, but I would guess the older 5-12 age range).
There are bathrooms in the center.
It was not busy in the morning hours.

There was really nothing for the littlest kids.
There were some homeless people in the park (though not close to the play area) if this would concern you.
Parking was not easy to find during the day.

Overall play area

SO many climbing sections.

Amphitheater area

Basketball courts


Art is everywhere!

Dwight Murphy Fields

Every time I leave the zoo, I wonder about the playground across the street and remind myself to go there. this week we finally did. Dwight Murphy Fields have a park alongside the baseball and soccer fields. It has 2 structures: one for 2-5 year olds and one for 5-12 year olds plus a climbing structure and 4 swings (2 toddler). In the mid-morning, there were some shady spots. This park is located on Niños Dr across from the zoo:

The structures provide play areas for a wide range of kids.
There are bathrooms close by.
It is located close to the beach & zoo.
There is a fence between the road and the play structure.

Parking is limited (especially if there were games or a busy zoo day).

Play structure for 2-5 year olds

Play structure for 5-12 year olds

Climbing Wall

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

University Circle Park

University Circle Park is also a shady park that includes a dog park as well as 2 play structures. The 2-5 year old structure has 1 climbing area and one slide as well as a spring riding toy. The 5-12 year old structure has 2 climbing areas, 2 slides (1 twisty), lily pads, a bridge, monkey bars, straight bar and sliding bar. There are also regular and toddler swings. This park is located in the county near North Patterson.
Directions: Take 101N to Patterson Ave. Turn right onto Patterson and left onto Agana Dr. Turn left at the end of Agana onto Merida and the park will be on your right after the open field.

Great structure for the littest kids with no high places to fall off
Structures for both big and little kids
Lots of shade
Set back from the road to keep the littles from escaping!

No bathroom
The woods and creek nearby have lots of places for littles to hide
The littlest kids always want to go on the big kids play structure right?

Play Structure for the big kids (5-12)

Play Structure for the little kids (2-5)

Bella Vista Open Space

Bella Vista Open Space is a shady park with trails for walking the dog and 2 play structures over a rubber mat. The 2-5 year old play structure has 3 slides, 4 climbing spots, a bridge and a tunnel. The 5-12 year old play structure has 2 double slides, 1 climbing spot, monkey bars and a single bar. This park is located in Goleta near Dos Pueblos High School.

Directions: Take the 101 N to Glen Annie and turn right onto Glen Annie Rd. Turn left onto Cathedral Oaks Rd. After you pass Dos Pueblos High School, turn left onto Placer Dr and right onto Mirano Dr.

TThere's lots of shade.
Not too busy at a busy time
There are picnic tables and nice walking paths.

There are no bathrooms.
There are no swings.
The woods nearby have lots of places for littles to hide
Older kids might get bored with the play structures.

2-5 Play Structure (Front)

2-5 Play Structure (Back)

Spring riding toy

5-12 Play Structure (Front)

5-12 Play Structure (Back)

Bridge and Walking Paths

Walking Pathsand Picnic Tables

Walking Paths

Shady, Wooded Area

Summer of the Parks

Our family is embarking on the Summer of the Parks. With 2 littles (4 and 1), we want to find things to do this summer and exploring our city seems like a great plan. I was inspired recently by an infographic on a local Facebook page about our local parks (Thanks to Summers Case!). Why not share the wealth? I will post comments as I can here about what we find! Here is a link to a list for the Santa Barbara county parks,  county open spaces, Goleta Parks, and Isla Vista parks.

Created by Summers Case, Santa Barbara Parks and Rec
Goleta Parks and Open Spaces
Updated Resources:
Santa Barbara City Parks and Rec
Santa Barbara County Parks
Santa Barbara County Land Trust
Goleta Parks (Chamber of Commerce List) 
Goleta Parks (City of Goleta map above)
Goleta Parks Report (far more helpful than the map or website)!
Isla Vista Parks and Rec