July 17, 2011

So much more than a playground

I know, I know, last year at this time I said this was it:  the best playground ever.  Now we have found another gem.  On occasion, we still visit the awesome play space 30 minutes west of our home but we also find ourselves traveling north to a newly renovated park about twenty minutes away.  And this is really it
It's a typical space with two climbers, multiple slides, two kinds of swings and oh, yeah, climbing rocks shaped like woodland animals.  But the best playground feature is the free splash pad.  Judging from the noontime crowds this is the place to picnic and cool off for families and day camp groups.  The bathrooms and plentiful parking a plus, too.
But what really makes this place special is the acres and acres of green space.  Just a short walk from the playground there are hills, a huge pond and trees for as far as the eye can see.  Within a minute or two of leaving the activity at the playground, you are surrounded by nothing except the sounds and sights of nature.    Fish, turtles, frogs, ducks, dragonflies--it's all here!
I absolutely love seeing my boys experience this.  So often raising them in the suburbs has more in common with city life than wide, open spaces.  I confess to not having read Last Child Woods (I'm still on the library's waiting list) but I do agree with the author's premise.  Being a small child amidst all this grandeur cannot be duplicated on a flat screen.  I let the boys run ahead on the trail, roll down the hills and splash in the puddles.  They can touch anything they want, unless it has 3 pointy leaves.  I think I'll order the book,  I Love Dirt! and while we're waiting for it to arrive we'll play a game of nature I Spy.  Even Liam will enjoy matching his pictures to real objects on the trail.  He can figure out anything if he watches Henry long enough.

True teacher's kids--studying the trail markers

Liam finds the shortcut to the pond
So.... I know I've said it about other places, but I believe this park truly has it all.  The boys can swing, climb, splash, enjoy lunch at a shady table, use the restroom at a moment's notice and experience a beautiful, Midwestern ecosystem.  When Henry is a little older he can even go fishing off the small pier like the big kids.  He was thrilled to pieces when a boy showed him how to catch and release Blue Gill using hot dogs, some fishing line and a stick.  We have a lot to look forward to but in the meantime we'll enjoy the slides and sprinklers!


  1. I totally wish I was 6 years old again and could head out there for a day!

  2. That park looks incredible! And thanks for the book recommendations - I'm adding them to my wish list. I've never heard of Last Child in the Woods, but I think it's going to be a great read.

  3. Wow. This sounds (and looks) fantastic. Sammy would LOVE it.

  4. Wow! That sounds like a REALLY great place! *I* want to go there, too!

  5. Wow, what an amazing place!! How amazingly wonderful to go and play and be in all that nature!
    And I Love Dirt - oh, just by the name I can tell it's a book for me, lol. Put it down as a book I'd like to get..