Whether they call it the "castle park" or "that place off Highland," Rogue Valley residents consistently name Bear Creek Park's playground as their favorite place to play.

With its series of towers, tunnels, slides and swings, Bear Creek Park playground is the stuff of childhood imagination.

Built in 1988 with community input, fundraising and elbow grease, the playground was facilitated by New York playground designer Bob Leathers.

Tucked between Bear Creek and Siskiyou Boulevard, the fortress-like play structure is one of few in the valley not crafted primarily of plastics and metal, said Bev Powers, a parks and recreation specialist for the city of Medford.

"It's certainly an older playground and requires some expensive maintenance every year because it's made of wood," Powers said, "but I think people kind of like that old-fashioned simple playground.

Other favorites: Lithia Park, Ashland; Fichtner-Mainwaring, Medford