Monday, June 20, 2011

Cherry Rock Park and River Boulevard Greenway

I know I've been a bad little blogger. We actually visited Cherry Rock Park and Greenway Boulevard Park on Saturday (6.18). But somehow, I just haven't gotten around to writing them up.

The kids, of course, loved the playgrounds. The first one we tried was a little space-agey, but fun. It had that squishy surface under it again.

I just had to throw this one in because it was so funny. Bo just about jumped out of his skin when he put his hands under the dryer in the bathroom. It was powerful, that's for sure!

Before walking over to the other, more "traditional" looking playground, we decided to cross the old bridge and see the park on the other side of the river. This is where my favorite part of the visit came in. I love learning about history and I got two lessons in one that day. First, as we were crossing the bridge, I saw a friend of mine that I know from subbing. She was telling me about how she remembers when she was in college and the bridge used to be open to motor traffic. She told me about how the family that built the Cliff Avenue Greenhouse used to own the land that Cherry Rock Park is on now. She pointed out where their house used to be and how the entire river valley there, where the space-age playground is now, used to be full of crops and down the bike trail a little ways, there are still a few old apple trees left. That totally would have been enough fun facts for me, for the day.

But then we crossed over the bridge, to River Boulevard Greenway, where there is an historical marker. It told about how early settlers used to spend hot days near that spot and there was a rock outcropping that was called Cherry Rock. According to the marker, nobody is sure anymore if it was called that because the rock was cherry colored or because it had markings that looked like cherries, because there is now a quartzite retaining wall covering the outcropping. But people used to jump from it, into the swimming hole below. The bridge was originally built for horse-drawn wagon traffic more than 100 years ago. I've been trying to read the historical markers at any parks that have them, but you can imagine that it's not always easy to stop and read when there are playgrounds to get to and picnics to eat! And of course, the markers never seem to be located near the picnic shelters or playgrounds. They are always in the remotest corner of the park. Maybe next year, I will visit each park alone and just mosey around, reading historical markers. That would be my idea of fun!

For some reason, Fletcher has decided he doesn't want to be in the sign pictures anymore. He almost got away in this one. Check out the bottom left-hand corner.

There isn't a lot to do at River Boulevard Greenway Park, besides enjoy a little green scenery. If you had a frisbee and a picnic blanket, you could settle in for a pleasant game and conversation with a friend, but it's not the kind of place to stick around with children. We had another playground to get to! Back to Cherry Rock!

Grandpa Ronnie and Grandma Loulou stopped by, about the time we got to the second playground at Cherry Rock. Grandma brought some blueberries and Grier LOVED them! Although the one she was eating in the picture must have been a little sour.

Grandpa got roped into pushing kids on the swings. I seriously might just have to hire a middle schooler to come along and push kids on the swings. They're Fletcher's favorite thing, but once he's in one, it's hard to talk him into getting out and trying anything else. I'm sick of pushing kids on the swings! "Mom, can you give me an underdog? Mom, can you give me one little push? Mom, if you give me one more push, I'll pump for the rest of the time. Mom. Mom. Mom!"

I know there will be many times when my kids are grown up that I will think back wistfully about times when they were small. But I can honestly say that I do not envision myself ever walking through a park in 20 or 30 years and thinking, "Oh. If only there were a bunch of little kids trying to get me to push them on those swings." I don't know. I guess it's never a good idea to say "never," but it's a bet I'd be willing to take.

As far as our rating for the park goes...The playgrounds and the history lessons get thumbs up. The construction gets thumbs down. I know it will improve Sioux Falls in the long run, but for the time being, it sure makes the parks along the river pretty crummy looking.

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