"All good things are wild and free." --Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


The whirly thing-a-ma-bob
Stoneham Recreation Ground is a sweet neighborhood playground in the seaside town of Hove in southern England. Particularly cool features include a tunnel burrowed into a hill, a graffitied mural of a train under a starry night sky, and some permaculture aspects to the grounds, including a "bug motel" to encourage insect life.  Amenities include a community-run cafe, bathrooms, and a couple stores around the corner. When the kids tire of the swings, the beach is just a few blocks away

The tunnel in the hill
One section of the playground
The mural
Beware the stumpy-footed seagull
Contemplating the greatness of it all

Climbing the barrow mound
Three feet off the ground
Flirtatious fun
Stoneham Recreation Ground is bordered by Stoneham, Tamworth, Mainstone, and Marmion Roads; it's a few blocks from the Aldrington rail station.

Kids in Brighton (parks and playgrounds list, plus more)
Brighton and Hove City Council (playground info)
Poets Corner Community Society (the history of Stoneham Park)

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On a less-than twenty-four hour layover in Toronto, on a rainy day with our small child in hand, my husband, daughter, and I made our way to the Toronto Zoo. At first glance you might sniff, but there are seven miles of trails.  Five thousand animals are spread out in the 700 acres, arranged in geographically themed regions. Purportedly it's the second largest zoo in North America---so along with the high kid-enjoyment factor, there's the chance for a long walk.

The most remote part of the Toronto Zoo is, ironically, the Canadian portion---up and over a steep, long hill, nooked into a corner with some awesome, playful grizzly bears.

Toronto Zoo is one of the better zoos I've seen, despite it's high entrance fee and garbage food. My knee-jerk reaction to a zoo is usually a big NO, but this is about kids, and they love animals. In the spirit of conservation, preservation, and education, more power to healthy zoos with plenty of space for the animals. (By the way, my favorite zoo is the unpretentious Belize Zoo)

If and when you come to Toronto Zoo, bring walking shoes, an umbrella, and a sack lunch. 

Among the better ways to get around
Should I stay or should I go?
The Incredible Mr. Fox
Heartening to see a big space for the giraffe
The old white lioness
Babies LOVE bears

Toronto Zoo
361A Old Finch Ave Scarborough, ON M1B 5K7
(416) 392-5900

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