Monday, April 27, 2015

Heritage Park: A Revolutionary Playground

I must often remind to myself that wacky tacky is not some abstract concept, some mysterious, intangible quality floating in the ether, only to be applied arbitrarily by a capricious overlord.  Often times wacky tacky is determined by the irrefutable proof of simple arithmetic.  Get out your number-two pencils.  What do you get when you take a Southern California city of early-Mexican lineage and a Spanish name, add a community whose population is 62-percent Asian, plus the tax-payer funding to build a thematic playground?  The answer is obviously, Colonial Boston.  Duh.

Now I am no historian, but I can say with some degree of certainty that the bulk of the action during the American Revolution did not take place in - or even around - Cerritos, CA.  Why then would the city fathers hearken back as far as our nation's forefathers for inspiration in constructing the city's flagship playground?  Clearly imbued with the "Spirit of '76," that for all practical purposes had the entire nation possessed during the bicentennial celebrations, Heritage Park was born.

Heritage Park - Cerritos, CA

Floating on its own little man-made island (just like Boston), Heritage Park is wonderland of trails, tunnels, waterfalls, and sunbathing turtles.  With my nephew in tow, I navigated the wacky tacky time machine to the American Revolution!!!

He's still embarrassed that he left his tricorn hat in the future...

At Heritage Park, the playground equipment is cleverly integrated into the colonial village scene, where each building (saddlery/tannery/blacksmith shop) houses slides, jungle gyms, and ropes courses.  I'm not so sure that this translates to a highly effective lesson in American history, but it pays to start early, right?

Can you see the slide coming out of the second story of that building (top left)?
I mean, who doesn't want to slide his way out of the Old North Church?!!

Okay, so maybe the American Revolution is a tad advanced for a four-year-old.  Maybe I had to tell him we were going to a "pirate ship park" to elicit any kind of enthusiasm.  wacky tacky wisdom dictates that we teach history in baby steps.

heritage park cerritos
"The Boston Tea Party is that-a-way, boys!" what I would have liked him to say.
"Avast, me hearties," instead was his cry.

The thing I really love about Heritage Park is that it is so atmospheric.  It might not recreate an accurate picture of 18th-Century Boston, but the meandering trails, the countless bridges, and the water features turn taking the kids to the park from a chore to a midday "vacay."

And that blue, blue water is spec-tacky-ular!!!
There is something about water that is dyed blue (an algaecide) that
makes it all the more magical as it trips and falls over stones on its way. 

Be ye history buff, pirate enthusiast, or lover of man-made nature, Heritage Park offers something for everyone!  In a time when when "you get what you pay for" rings more and more true, I am so glad that some intelligent city planners and parks departments are putting our money to work in ways wacky tacky!  Forty years old or two-hundred-forty years old, we love a playground that excites our imaginations...while doing some of the work for us!

Blast you, you dirty red coats pirates!!!

heritage park cerritos
Paul Revere says, "Be 'Just Like Me;' one, if by land, and two, if by sea."

"Just Like Me" - Paul Revere & The Raiders

Heritage Park
18600 Bloomfield Ave
Cerritos, CA


Mr. Tiny

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