Noe Valley Voice July-August 2005

Noe Valley Kids Voice:
Name That Noe Park!

By Laura McCloskey

Let's see if you can name these Noe Valley parks. Read the clues and take a guess. The answers are given at the bottom of this page.

1. This park is named after former San Francisco Mayor George Christopher.

2. This park used to be a rock quarry. It is over 10 acres. The park opened in 1928.

3. This park gets part of its name from a now underground river.

4. At one time, this park was used as a mini-amusement park, where you could see bears and elephants as well as take a hot-air balloon ride.

5. This park has an indoor gym with bleachers.

6. This park used to be the site of the Noe Valley School, opened in 1900.

Games to "Noe" About

Each of the Noe Valley parks has large expanses of grass, where if you can play one of these games.

Alphabet Letters: You'll need at leave seven players to play. Get in teams of three and have one person remain out to be "the caller." The caller yells out letters from the alphabet, and each team attempts to form those letters using their bodies while lying on the ground. The team that forms the best letter wins.

Three-Legged "Bug" Races: You will need at least two bandanas per team. Groups of three people stand in a line and tie their inner legs together. When someone yells go, the teams race from one end of the field to the other. The fastest "bug" wins.


Douglass Park and Playground
Location: Douglass Street between 26th and 27th streets
Summer Activities: Junior Giants baseball. Summer latchkey program, ages 6 to 11. Outings on Thursdays to Raging Waters and Great America, ages 8 to 18. For more information, contact Khaldun Rucker at 415-695-5017.
Special Features: Upper tier of park has a baseball diamond. Hiking trail. Dogs allowed off-leash. Lower playground has a large sandbox and play structures; picnic area; tennis and basketball courts; no dogs allowed. Surrounding hillside has interesting rock formations.
Plants to Look for: Check out the milkweed in the planters alongside the clubhouse. It has a red trumpet flower.

Noe Courts
Location: 24th and Douglass streets
Summer Activities: The Friends of Noe Courts Playground will host a neighborhood Clean Sweep at Noe Courts July 9. Friends of Noe Valley will host a "Music in Parks" party and picnic, in Noe Courts on Sept. 10. There will be a battle of the bands, barbecue, doggie beauty parade, a three-legged race, and possibly a basketball shootout and tennis tournament. To help support the park, contact Friends of Noe Courts at
Special Features: Basketball and tennis courts. Sandpit with toddler play structures; green lawn. Dogs okay on leash.
Plants to Look for: Check out the Monterey pines towering over the lawn.

Upper Noe Recreation Center
Location: Day and Sanchez streets
Summer Activities: Outings on Thursdays to Raging Waters, Great America, and more, ages 8 to 18. Sea Camp. Junior Giants. Tennis and Basketball Classes, ages 8 to 13, contact Lou Maunupau. For more information, call 415-695-5011.
Special Features: Softball field, basketball hoops, tennis court, indoor gym and stage. Sand pit with swings, slide, and other play equipment. Enclosed dog play area currently under renovation.
Plants to Look for: Look for borage, with its purple-blue flowers, growing along the southwest corner of the gym.

George Christopher Playground
Location: 5210 Diamond Heights Boulevard
Summer Activities: Half-day summer camp, ages 4 to 9. Softball for girls. Baseball for boys. Swimming and golf classes. For more information, contact Margot Reed at 415-695-5000.
Special Features: Easy access to Glen Canyon. Free parking in the Safeway parking lot. Tennis courts, baseball diamond, swingsets, and large climbing structure. Butterfly garden.
Plants to Look for: Check out the pale pink and white yarrow on the border of the butterfly garden.

Glen Canyon Park and Recreation Center
Location: O'Shaughnessy Boulevard and Bosworth Street
Summer Activities: Silver Tree Day Camp, ages 6 to 12, through Aug. 19. Summer latchkey program, ages 6 to 11. Basketball and baseball. For more information, contact Karen McCoy at 415-337-4705.
Special Features: New steps and trails in Glen Canyon. Owls and red-tailed hawks nesting in eucalyptus trees. Rock-climbing. Indoor gym, play structures, ball field, and game courts.
Plants to Look for: Look for blackberries growing throughout the park.

Mission Dolores Park
Location: Dolores Street between 18th and 20th streets
Activities: Arts program run by Children's Art Center in the Dolores Park Clubhouse, ages 7 to 10. For more information call 415-771-0292.
Special Features: Tennis and basketball, soccer fields, large children's playground, clubhouse with public restrooms. Dogs allowed.
Plants to Look for: You can't miss the palm trees lining Dolores Street.

Walter Haas Playground
Location: Diamond Heights Boulevard and Addison Street
Status: Closed for renovations. Scheduled to reopen November 2005, with new landscaping, basketball court, off-leash dog area, and two children's play areas with sandbox, log climber, and tire and bucket swings.

What Do You Like to Do in the Parks During the Summer?

Sam Mitrani, 5, and Sarah Mitrani, 3: "Our favorite thing to do is to swing and turn at the same time because it is very fun and we can go, 'Whoa!'"

Jesse Crampton, 3: "My favorite thing to do is bring all my tools in and make an airplane because I like making stuff."

Meredith Lee, 5 1/2: "My favorite thing to do is play on the swings because I like to go high in the air."

Daniel Berkowitz, 7: "My favorite thing to do is play baseball because it's my favorite."

Ryan Tuozzolo, 6: "My favorite thing to do is climb on the plastic play structure because I like to pretend I'm a lion."

Isaiah Areas, 5: "My favorite thing to do is swing because I like it when it goes so high."

Yuri Glauthier, 6: "My favorite thing to do is sit around because I like to watch people do stuff."

* * *

Special Thanks to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, including Gilberto Rocha, Karen McCoy, Khaldun Rucker, Margot Reed, Lou Maunupau, Elizabeth Gee, and Helena Calvin. We also would like to thank Father Ulysses D'Aquila of Mission Dolores, Noe Valley historian Bill Yenne, Richard Craib of Friends of Glen Canyon, Laura Norman of Friends of Noe Courts, and Richard May of Friends of Noe Valley.

Answers to "Name That Noe Park":
1. George Christopher Playground. 2. Douglass Park. 3. Dolores Park. 4. Glen Park and Recreation Center. 5. Upper Noe Recreation Center. 6. Noe Courts.