April 17, 2012

How to Find a Park Near You: Shaffer Park

ride on animals
Our Sunday morning plans went bust (our dog picked a fight at the dog park, so we promptly left, tails between our legs), but we wanted to find someplace to get our energy out between rounds of unpacking boxes. We didn't have a lot of time, because, those boxes were still a' callin' and we certainly hadn't researched a backup plan with all the craziness going on lately.

The Tot Lot
So I opened up the maps app on my smartphone (which I have lived by since moving here, learning my way around and getting directions from here to there), found our current location, zoomed out a little and looked for a patch of green. There were two rectangles relatively close by, and one was named Shaffer Park. We weren't sure what we were going to get, but we have had pretty good luck with this method before, so we steered the car a few blocks away and found this little gem of a park.

There were two play structures, one for big kids and one for littler ones, each with their own swing set, and plenty of mulch padding. There were picnic tables and a covered shelter, lots of grass and shady trees, and a baseball field that was not being used at all. And the best part was that it was less than 1.5 miles from our house - so in the future we could walk, or better yet RUN, there, get a break while M played and then walk/run home.

baby swings
There are an abundance of parks in our area (to make up for the fact that no one seems to have much yard), but I can't help but wonder if this method would work in other areas too? Granted, sometimes, you really just end up in a big green field, which isn't bad if you happen to have a ball in the car (and we always seem to have a couple different sizes). But sometimes you get a real gem that you would have never found otherwise! I do a lot of asking around for suggestions, and following of a few local outdoorsy-parent blogs and Facebook pages for activity ideas, but have still found a good percentage of parks with this simple method of living in the moment (and capitalizing on technology). What can we do from where we are right now?!

What's the best park or activity you've stumbled upon? And how did you end up there?

Tot Lot structure
lots of green space, and a baseball field
the bigger kids' play area

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