Friday, December 2, 2011

Last One: Town One

That's right, folks. I intentionally left the park called Town One to be the Last One. Bill kind of rolled his eyes when he figured that out, but whatev. I wanted it to have a little bit of a clever twist to the title, but I couldn't think of anything else with the parks I had left. To say it's a clever ending might be a bit of an overstatement, but it's certainly better than "Naked David" as the title of the final post on this blog. Wouldn't you agree?

Unfortunately, there isn't a ton to say about this park. Most people probably don't even know it exists. It's only a few blocks from our house, actually. I've driven past it before and I still didn't even have a mental picture when I looked at the address on the list. The address says, "26th and Cleveland," but you really can't see it from that intersection. You know those grey townhouses that are right there, though? They are part of a complex called "Town Park" apartments and townhouses. I'm assuming that's how the park got its name. The park is tucked back in between several sets of the townhouses. If you look very carefully as you drive down 26th Street, you can see the basketball hoops behind the Reformed Church there. Otherwise, you have to drive down Cleveland and then turn onto Bragstad (I think) to really get to the park.

Somebody left their Mario doll in the swing. Fletcher took a little ride with him and then we left him where we found him so his owner would know where to find him.

The Reformed Church and 26th Street are just to the right (north) of this picture. And those are the apartments or townhouses I was talking about too.

So that's it. Honestly, I feel a little stunned. The whole ending here feels a little anti-climactic. It seems like I should have some really clever and interesting way to wrap things up, but I still just can't believe we actually did it. In exactly 6 months (maybe a smidgen longer than I first hoped it would take), we visited the 77 city parks that were listed on the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation website (plus one that I thought was on the list, but it wasn't). I'm so excited to be done and yet I'm a little bit sad that it's over. I'll probably need to organize my thoughts a little bit and write one last post after I talk to the kids to find out what their favorite parts of our Parks and Rec Adventure were. The fun isn't over yet, my friends, check back later to see what the kids have to say!

Frank Olson and Fawick (aka Naked David) Park

I was a woman on a mission this afternoon. I hadn't been home from school five minutes when I told the kids to get their socks and shoes on; we would be finishing our park visits today. And being the good sports that they are, they bundled up and out the door we went! Okay, Bill had to man-handle Fletcher into his socks and shoes, but once we were in the car, he was as good a sport as the rest of them.

There are actually two playgrounds at Frank Olson Park. One of them is right along Sycamore Avenue, but we headed for the playground over by the pool and the ice skating rink.

This is the playground I remember playing at when I was little. Well, it might not be the same equipment, but I'm talking about the location of the playground. See the pool house and the warming house in the background? My cousins didn't live far from this park, so there were plenty of summer days spent at Frank Olson Pool. And there's another whole section of this park, to the south of where we played today, that's all ball diamonds. Or at least it used to be. I guess I was talking to Bill or something when we drove past. I didn't even look to see if those ball diamonds are still there. Yikes! I guess I'll be making another drive by Frank Olson.

They were pretending to be fish inside this bubble.

This bouncy chicken has lost its bounce. I don't know if it was the cold weather or what, but that thing didn't move no matter how hard Fletcher rocked.

I laughed so hard at this. She was like doing laps around the perimeter of the playground. She couldn't see a thing with that hat on and she just kept following the edge of the sand, even though we were all at the other end of the playground calling to her. I couldn't stop giggling. Eventually, she made it around to the rest of us.

The wind was wicked this afternoon, so the kids didn't mind that we didn't spend hours and hours at each stop. We just got out of the car long enough for a little fresh air and some Vitamin D. Well, maybe not. We may have been too bundled up for the the sun's rays to have any effect.

When we'd had enough Frank Olson fun, we loaded back up for a trip downtown. Back in July, when we visited Falls Park and rode the trolley downtown to visit all of those plazas on the parks list, we were mere feet from Fawick Park. It's just down the street from Fort Sod Plaza. But Fawick wasn't on the agenda that day and we'd already ventured a couple of blocks from Phillips Avenue in order to get to Fort Sod, so we did not cross over to this park.

I couldn't find one of the usual wooden signs, so this picture with a naked man behind my children will have serve as proof that we visited the park. I bet if I'd walked farther along the bike trail, I would have found one of those small metal signs with the name of the park. Oh well. Naked David, it is.

If you asked the kids about Fawick Park, you'd get blank stares. If you asked them about Naked David Park, the light would flick on, as is probably the case with any child growing up in Sioux Falls and even some adults. I had hoped to give my children some other mental "hook" for this park by attending a moonlight movie during the summer. But for some reason, it felt like Bill worked an inordinate number of Saturdays this summer. Or maybe it was just that he worked on all of the Saturdays when they were showing movies I actually wanted to go to, but either way, the idea of taking all four kids, by myself, to watch a movie in the park at 9:30pm was a little more "adventure" than I was looking for. And so, Mr. Fawick, I am sorry. Your park is still Naked David Park.

I wish I knew how to highlight just a portion of a picture. I took this picture because I enjoyed the word choice in the description of the Statue of David. "The masterpiece has charmed viewers for centuries." When I giggled about it, Bill thought I was laughing about it saying "centuries" and he explained to me that they were talking about the real statue, not the replica in Sioux Falls. I explained to him that it was the word "charmed" that I found amusing. I know I am not exactly The English Master or anything, but when I think of something that is "charming," I think of something magically sweet, quaint, enchanting. And that just makes me giggle thinking about a bunch of ladies gawking at the statue and trying to pass it off as being "charmed."

"The Poop Zone" as it was deemed by my children. Apparently there are a few geese that call this park "home."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

'Tis the Season...

for visiting parks! While other families probably spent this day picking out the perfect Christmas tree and decking the halls, we visited two of our final five parks. We had plans to visit three, but I'll share a little later how Grier had other ideas.

We started out with a little walk/run around Legacy Park. It was fun to have some room to roam and I can see how this would be a perfect picnic spot in the summer. There was a picnic shelter and tons of walking/biking paths. And most importantly, there was easy access down to the water, so there could be lots of fun exploring when there isn't ice lacing the shore.

That white stuff along the banks of the stream is ICE!

Stealth mode.

I imagine this is really pretty when it's green, or even if we would have made it here earlier in the fall when the leaves were changing.

Next Stop: Thelin Park

Now, the address from the city's website says North Career and Benson. And while you can definitely see this park from that intersection, it is not at that intersection. The address is actually 700 North Galaxy Lane, or something like that. Bo's head is covering up the number.


Not sure what the point of these hand pedals is.

Just gettin' a little rock climbin' in before we head to Fawick.

Well, we were headed to Fawick Park after Thelin. But everyone was getting a little hungry and needed a chance to warm up a little. So, we made a quick stop at the Diner, which is totally on the way, for a little snack and some hot chocolate.

Snack. Check. Hot chocolate. Check. New diaper for Grier? Nope. I cleaned out the car right before we took off for the parks and forgot to put the diapers back in. Darn. I guess Fawick will have to wait another day, along with Frank Olson and Town One. That's right, folks. That's the entire "left to visit" list! Three more to go!

Beadle Greenway

The exciting thing about Beadle Greenway Park was that Auntie Lindsey was along for the fun! If there was a sign, we didn't find it, so we just took a picture where you can see the name of the park on the playground equipment.

It was a bit chilly on this morning, but it felt good to get outside and get some activity after we'd stuffed ourselves silly the day before and were headed shortly to Grandma Rita and Grandpa Jim's house to do it all over again.

Fletcher is not feeling so patient about waiting his turn to ride the "t-recky."

His t-recky!


I can't believe he's almost 6 YEARS OLD!

I love the sound of her squeals when she's being chased (by that crazy Auntie Lindsey on the left side of the picture)!

Freezing Rain is NOT Snow!

I think we can. I think we can. We just keep chuggin' along and I think we're going to make it! And anyway, freezing rain isn't snow, right? All they're calling for in the forecast for this weekend is freezing rain and for our revised goal I simple said we'd visit all of the parks before the snow flies.

For Lion's Centennial, we just stopped for a picture. We've played at this park plenty of times before and time is of the essence. It was already 4:30, which meant we didn't have much daylight left and what if it really does snow soon?!

Spencer Park is a park that actually has a lot of memories for me. If you said "Spencer Park" to most of the people I went to high school with, they wouldn't know which park you were talking about until you described it as "the park behind 7-11." Never mind that the 7-11 has been Get 'n' Go for quite a few years now. Most of us who played soccer when we were small remember this place as our soccer fields. The last PE class that I took in high school included a sand volleyball unit where we would run to this park as our warm-up and then play sand volleyball for the rest of the period. Since I had it at the end of the day, we weren't even in that big of a rush to get back. Super fun! Sometime since my sophomore year of high school, though, the city has actually converted part of this park into an off-leash dog park. Not being a dog-lover myself, I don't have any particular affection for the dog park. But I know that people who have dogs that need room to run, love this place.

Lots of room to roam.

And if you're looking for a park where your child can improve their upper body strength, look no further than Spencer Park. Seriously. The equipment here has more climbing and hanging equipment than any other playground I can think of (that we've visited so far anyway).

Grandpa Ronnie and Grandma Lou Lou came to see us since this park isn't far from their house. In typical Leah fashion, their oldest granddaughter invited them to our house for supper. Not being particularly excited for fish nuggets and macaroni, Grandpa and Grandma suggested going out for pizza instead. : )

When I said, "Let's go take a picture by the sign," I meant by the one you see at the top of the post. Fletcher looked around and this was the first sign he saw. He was dead set on having his picture taken there before he'd move on to the other sign.


That's how many degrees we've come from the day in July when we visited Kuehn Park and pool. Really, I should probably say 360. It's more like we've come full circle. We are now wearing full winter gear and rushing to get to the parks before 5pm, when the sun sets!

We sort of the took the scenic route to this park. The address listed for the park is the intersection of E. Madison and N. Omaha. I thought I kind of knew where it should be, but then I went and listened to Bill. I ended up on the wrong side of the Interstate for a while. When we finally got to the park, daylight was fading fast. We only stayed for about 20 minutes. Really, though, that was plenty of time for this little neighborhood park.

"What is all this stuff?"

"It's our lucky day!" Leah found a penny and a matchbox car.

Seriously. That giant puffball of a coat and those teeny little legs in the jeggings are just too funny!

Never too cold for the swings!

There were trails back there that Leah desperately wanted to explore. I'm assuming, based on the location of this park, that they're the same trails that we explored from Leaders Park, the ones for mountain biking. It was getting dark, though, and I'd seen some boys from the apartment complex right next to the park head back into the woods, so there would be no exploring for Leah on this day. We went home for some hot chocolate instead.