: Between Martin Luther King Jr. High and the Marathon Motor WorksSize of Park
: Medium largeCrowds
: Me and a kid on a bike, later that kid and his friend on a bikeApproximate Age of Patrons
: My age and ... maybe 12?Topics of Conversation
: "Is that a pit?" "Yes"Stray Dogs Seen
: NoneTypes of Vehicles in Parking Lots
: MinePerceived Safety
: Fine, except for all the vansNumber of Gunshots Heard
: NoneDog Friendliness
: FineNumber of pitbulls sighted
: Just mineAccessibility
: FineIncorporation of Local History
: FineRecommended Patrons
: Kids, people who like trees
Watkins Park is, hands down, one of the best parks I've been to. It's obviously a neighborhood park and it's easy to walk to and fun to be at. There's a ton of playground equipment, a ball field, tennis courts, and some kind of water element. I was completely bummed to be reviewing the park on a day in October when I could not test out the area where you can play in the water. But it looks fun.
There are some of the most beautiful magnolia trees I've seen in a city park. And not just one, but 10 or so. They've done a great job of putting benches right where you'd want benches (especially right outside the water part, so that you can sit and watch your kids play). The old stone wall still surrounds the park and the whole thing feels somehow historical and very fresh.
The community center is a little drab, but it's not ugly or anything. They've also got that new, attractive public housing across from the park and it looks great. It really looks like a neighborhood and not warehouses for poor people. You can even see the Capitol building from the park. Just being in the park, you really feel like you are in Nashville.
Now, there is some strangeness. There's a weird berm that encases the backside of the building by the water feature. They put huge rose bushes in the fenced-in area with the water play, which seems like you're just inviting older siblings to push their younger siblings into the thorns. And there's a "Pen Pal Nature Garden" which seems to consist of a bush. I don't know if that's a commentary on the lack of pen pals these days or if that's as much nature as people could stand — or if there used to be something there and the sign is all that's left or what.
But those don't really detract from the park.
I felt a little unsafe because there were so many big white vans driving by. I counted seven before I realized that it was not a fleet of kidnappers, but church vans driving around picking up people in time for 11 o'clock services. So, yeah, that was a little embarrassing.
I thought the playground equipment was really cool. I also noticed that they had red plastic on one of the jungle gyms and it was not yet faded. I don't know if that's because it has a little shade or maybe they just lucked out. But it stood out in comparison to other parks.
If you're not from the neighborhood, I don't know why you'd go this time of year, but in the summer? When the water's on? This seems like a great place to bring kids.