by Marissa Marangoni
It feels like it is my duty as a parent to take my child to every park and outside summer activity in existence before it starts raining again. As part of fulfilling that duty, I recently corralled my mother, son and a bike into my car and drove us to Fort Island/Griffiths Park in Fairlawn. This is a really great park, with cushioned surfaces to fall on in a stellar playground and greenery to explore. And, of course, bathrooms.
The bathrooms at the park are at the Griffiths entrance in the Learning Resource Center. When you walk into the Learning Resource Center, there is an information desk at 8 o’clock, a classroom at 10 o’clock, and a hall at 12 o’clock. Down that hall are the bathrooms. I would guess that these bathrooms are a seasonal feature, and they are only open on a set schedule, according to a paper on the office door.
I didn’t get to the bathroom right away, because the classroom was open, and to my delight and surprise, it had animals! There were fancy-looking birds, snakes, rabbits, turtles, ferrets and a chipmunk that my son thought he should be allowed to hold. What I really liked about the ferrets was that there was a sign on their cage showing you what areas of their bodies they liked to be pet. Every area was highlighted, so I got to relax a little as my three-year-old shoved his fingers into their cage. This resource center is pretty cool.
Anyway, the ferrets lost their appeal for me after a few minutes, as ferrets always do, because, man, they just stink. Don’t tell my child, but we will never have ferrets. And if I’m going to stand around in a pee-smelling place due to animals that I can only interact with through a cage, well, I might as well go to another pee-smelling place to get to the resources I probably need more than said smelly animals. Sorry, ferrets, you cute, but you gross.
It felt a little weird walking down the hallway to the bathroom, like I wasn’t supposed to be there, but the sign that marked the room for girls and women assured me I was. I was a little apprehensive about this bathroom — you know how park bathrooms are — but was happy to find the small space clean.
The LRC bathroom is tiny. It was challenging to take photos because everywhere I stood, I was in the way and too close. These bathroom designers somehow fit two toilet stalls in this bathroom, and really, truly, made great use of the little space they had. Everything worked and everything necessary, including a changing table crammed into the second stall, was present. You can’t do much here but get in and get out, but what else would you want to do when there are fluffy rabbits and big slides waiting for you?
The bathroom at the Learning Resource Center of Fort Island/Griffiths Park in Fairlawn gets ⅘ toilets for not smelling like ferrets, and for existing so small kids don’t have to go poop in the bushes, risking their parents’ imprisonment.