Guest Post by Sara Rall- (love the pictures, Sara!)
Califon Island Park, on Bank Rd. just north of Mill St. in Califon (Hunterdon Co.) is one of the few remaining wooden castle playgrounds in the state.
The playground has a large, interconnected wooden structure, with a section for little ones including a small slide and low rings, plus lots of rubber climbing equipment for older kids, a tunnel, swings (including an interesting one cut from an old tire) and more.
It is set in a beautiful park with a picnic pavilion and lovely little memorial garden nearby, a large playing field, a small pond with a fireplace and benches for ice skating. It is indeed set on an island in the South Branch Raritan River, though it is a bit of a walk from the playground to
any kind of deep water. There is a porta-potty available in the parking lot, if needed.
Do you see those green leetching spots on the wood? That is arsenic!! There is a reason we don’t see wooden sets any longer – the old ones (like this one) are toxic.
I hear there’s great Italian food at Tony’s Bistro just southwest of Califon on Route 513. Also a grocery store and drug store on 513 (very useful as we had a diaper emergency at the park).
The slide with the steps next to it is a safety hazard. See ASTM Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use, Section 220.127.116.11. “A clear area, free of equipment, shall surround the slide chute”. It’s rare that these old wooden playgrounds have only 1 safety hazard/non-compliance issue. I agree with Jaymonster, there’s a reason there aren’t many of these type playgrounds around anymore. They were built before we knew what we know now about how kids get hurt on playgrounds. NJ has a very strict playground safety law- NJ Playground Subcode 5:23-11.1.
There’s more in aresenic in a glass of wine than you could get from touching this playground 1,000,000 times. Get off the band wagon sir.
I grew up at this playground. My mom and dad took my brother and sisters and I there almost every weekend as kids and let me assure you, there is nothing wrong with any of us. We never got hurt or had any other health concerns due to “safety hazards” or “arsenic” or any other ridiculous unnecessary concerns you are voicing about this amazing playground. In fact, I plan to take my own children here because it is the only playground that I can honestly say made an impact on my childhood. I will never forget the days I came here and pretended to be in a magical castle and explored the many tunnels and pathways inside this jungle gym and had the time of my life. There is no other place like this park and all of you stuck up ignorant people need to calm down. I’m sure you survived much worse things in your generation, such as riding around with no car seat, standing up in pick up trucks with no seat belt, riding bikes with no helmet, and countless other safety hazards that weren’t concerns back then. This is a great place for any child to visit. There’s even a pond there where you can catch frogs and see turtles (unless you’re afraid of mythical warts and bacteria..I lived through that too by the way).
Just went there today and discovered that the old wooden playground is gone and a new structure is in its place. It’s nice but loved the old one. Glad we got enjoy it while it was there.
Does anyone know how the Califon Island Park got started and around what time? Here’s a picture of the first sign of the park and their rules….
Do they charge you to have a very small under 10 people with guests wedding here? It would be for the exchanging of the vows and some pictures!!
Does anyone know when the wooden playground was torn down? Also wondering if by chance they saved the pieces of wood with names carved in them? My dad had my name carved into it when the playground was first being built, drove by today and realized the new playground was there instead.