West Broadway at Ed Roberts Drive, Granville

Wildwood Park is one of those hidden-gem playgrounds you stumble upon in small towns. At least that's what happened to us one day after we visited the village of Granville, about a half-mile east of the park. Faced with the prospect of backed-up traffic on Rt. 661 that would get us back to Rt. 16 and Columbus, I decided to tempt fate and followed the thoroughfare of Broadway west out of town, figuring it would get us back to somewhere.

Sure enough it did, but it also led us past Wildwood Park, the sight of which caused my son to holler from the backseat, "Stop! There's a playground!"

So in we drove, past the community garden (complete with well-dressed scarecrows), over the very chalk-dusty parking-lot gravel, past the long, narrow expanse of soccer fields and up to a sprawling playground.

I immediately recognized the playground type: We've seen it in places as far flung as Portland, Maine, and Toronto, Canada's High Park. It's a playground architecture that runs heavy on the wood and also has wide, metal slides and recycled giant-truck tires. There were octagon-shaped picnic tables (also a hallmark of this playground type) and ample benches to sit on. Oh, and a cool wooden speed-boat to "ride" on.

The little-kid section has a mulch surface (the rest of it has small-pebble gravel) and a universally-accessible swing. And there's a bike rack (something I realized I don't see often enough at playgrounds), which only makes sense because the T.J. Evans Bike Trail runs along the southern edge of Wildwood Park. The park also has a dog area now, but it's way over on the southwest end (the playground is at the southeast end).

There are bathrooms about 200 yards away from the playground at a shelter house with ample picnic benches, and a water fountain along the way. Recommendation: As the spring warm-up continues, pounce on a warmish day, pack a picnic lunch, and make an outdoorsy day of it in the area!