- Author: Susan Croissant
In August we visited Greater Vallejo Recreation District's (GVRD) Children's Wonderland for their Annual Summer Concert Series: Art & Concerts in the Park June - Sept (one each month). Raymond Victor was a guest artist (he plays around Vallejo in many a charitable event). We were amazed at how few people attended to hear some FREE blues on a beautiful day in a lovely park. Usually there's a $2 entry fee per person. Not everyone can or wants to pay for that privilege, but the grounds are very pleasant. http://www.gvrd.org
Just outside the park entrance, the front of the Vallejo Parent Nursery School building has a Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) and Lily-of-the-Nile (Agapanthus orientalis). A small playground with slides and swings is surrounded by a fence covered in Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor 'Heavenly Blue').
Enter the park through a castle guarded by crocodiles, with stained glass windows (Jack & the Beanstalk, Alice, Pinocchio, dinosaur) and with small dragon heads on the backside. Several playground areas, with many slides: giant teapot house/slide with teacup chairs, sandlot with in-ground dinosaur and stone picnic table/benches, train with station house and hotel, swings (for varied ages), Vallejo fire truck, and a large playground with slides and stationary, bouncing rides. Picnic areas: tipi/teepee open area, Humpty Dumpty open area, large pergola, covered band shell, Alice in Wonderland gazebo (with painted murals inside & out with quotes from Maurice Sendak and other children's books). A giant, working chessboard where you move the pieces as you walk the board. The bathroom has giant King and Queen playing cards at the entrance to identify gender.
Many, many trees (both young and old) provide pleasant surroundings and shaded areas. Tulip, Yucca, Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis), Fir (Abies spp.), Cedar (Cedrus spp.), young Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), young Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.) , and many large and impressive specimens that I could not identify. The main ground cover is Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) with Clover (Trifolium repens) mixed in. Bermuda is strong and sturdy for foot traffic and activities. Wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca) appear on various ground areas. A brick flower bed filled with aster (Aster amellus cordifolius) . Red Geranium in various spaces. A somewhat narrow, long strip where water could flow, surrounded by various grasses, Mexican sage (Salvia mexicana), flax (Phormium), Lily-of-the-Nile 'Blue Yonder.' Similar plants are gathered against the fence. Small shrubs appear in various spots throughout the park. Near the train station English ivy (Hedera helix) covers the wall, with several Yucca trees on the outside of the fence setting a nice background to the ivy.