Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Orchard Park - Durham

On a wonderful, sunny Friday afternoon a few days back, Sarah C., Stacey and I took our kids (and our brood is growing!) over to Orchard Park in downtown Durham. This park doesn't have a lot in terms of playground equipment: 1 lonely slide and a few swings (including bucket swings). But where it really shines is at the sandbox. This big old box kept our kids, as well as some others, happily occupied for quite awhile. There is a lot of space in this box, but bring your own sand toys.

For the playground, there is very little shade in this area; the ground cover is synthetic material.

This park also packs a few other surprises. Originally owned by the Hill family (and the Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties, located in the Hill House itself, is right across the street), Orchard Park has the remains of an old greenhouse which formerly served the Hill House. These remains have been converted into a play area. The old walls have been expanded on to create a perfect toddler- and kid-sized maze. Our boys had so much fun running through here. And this part is shaded! There are a few picnic benches in this "maze" as well.

Also, Orchard Park houses a community garden, well-tended and well-weeded right next to a large pavilion with picnic tables.

According to aerial maps we found online after our park visit (we are thorough in our research for you!) there is a big open play space if you pass the gardens, down the path.

Full list of amenities:
  • Grills(3)
  • Picnic Tables(5)
  • Playground
  • Picnic Shelter(SMALL)
  • Water Fountain
If you would like to read more about the history of this park, we recommend this site:

After fully enjoying this historic park (well, except for the open play space), we jotted over to Ninth Street to get some lunch. And while we loved the taste and pricetag of Chubby's Tacos, the Ninth Street location wasn't very kid-friendly (no high chairs, little dining area in general) so we're saving a Chubby's post for when we can scope out some of their other locations. We did, however, enjoy yet another visit to Ox & Rabbit.

Orchard Park
1000 South Duke Street


At May 11, 2011 at 9:46 AM , Blogger rhiannon said...

I work right next to that park and used to visit it on lunch breaks regularly (before I had to use my lunches for pumping). I never knew that that "maze" was there! I always just sat on one of the benches near the swing sets and didn't know the park went further except for the walking trail. Thanks!


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