Friday, August 5, 2016

Chamberlain Park

Chamberlain Park is located on Woodland Avenue, across from the old Woodland Cemetery.

It's a quiet park, beautifully shaded with many climbing structures. We first discovered it last year, during a free summer flicks event in the park.

The shaded picnic tables are shown below. There's also a small pavilion with a few picnic tables as well.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Columbus Park

Columbus Park is one of our regular parks. It's a bit of a drive for us, but my kids really love the sprayground here. It's always jumping when we go. The picnic tables under the pavilion are usually filled up, and there are frequently people there for the day with packed lunches. It's clear we're not the only ones who love it!

Notice the splash pad area is in the shape of a ship. Let me build the suspense here by saying that's not the only ship at this park. Parents of kids who love playing pirates, keep reading...

Thursday, July 28, 2016

McHenry Park

McHenry Park is a wonderful park on the north side of Des Moines. I'd never been there before and didn't know what to expect. As it turns out, it has a splash pad, a playground, and a natural playscape. There are three different outdoor shelters, one of which has stunning views! Really, it's an all-around great park. 

We parked on Oak Street, which seemed to be a quiet road. We passed by one of the shelters and the bathroom to get to this really cool splash pad:

There was a frog and a turtle to climb. The turtle got a little slippery, but the ground was padded (like you find at mall playgrounds).

They used the turtle as a miniature water slide.

The water drains down a little man-made "creek."

Looking beyond the creek, I could see a swing set and another shelter in the distance. The distant shelter is the one that's not available for reservations currently. The other two are!

This is the overlook shelter. It has views of the river down below, and of the city. It's on the southern end of the park, away from the road, but also a bit far visually from the splash pad.

This is the playground. Small, but the kids liked it. It has tall monkey bars that gave them a good challenge!

And here's the natural playscape. Both the kids and I were impressed!

The animal splash pad and the natural playscape really made the park stand out as unique and fun!

On the map below, you'll also see a trail marked. It was actually a real nice looking trail, wide with lane lines painted for cyclists.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Stone Park

Stone Park is home to the Pioneer Columbus Community Center. They host a few events and activities there, but this was actually our first visit. We stopped by on our way home from the kids' swimming lessons, and I thought it was just a playground. Not so! They also have a wading pool. It's a good thing they had their suits!

As you'll see in a few of these pictures, there's a lot of construction being done at the park. I'll have to

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Gray's Lake Beach & Park

Gray's Lake is an immensely popular park, just south of downtown. People of all ages come here to play, jog, cycle, boat, and swim. Des Moines Parks & Rec frequently hosts Saturday morning yoga at this park (although it rotates some weeks).

The northern most entrance to the park leads to a parking lot by the old silos, which is a good spot to park for the playground and beach access.

From the playground, we strolled along the Kruidenier Trail, which makes roughly a 2 mile loop

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sargent Park

Have you ever seen such a stunning park? I was floored when we arrived at Sargent Park. We came here to play in the creek, and we found this beautiful playground, designed as a natural playscape.

Before the kids got too settled into the playground, we went down to the creek to explore. There is access to Fourmile Creek just a short trot down the path from the playground.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Good Park

We finally took the time to check out Good Park. I've been meaning to get there because it's located not too far from us in central Des Moines, and it's easy to get to (on the corner of University & Keo Way). 

The kids get so excited when we go to a splash park. This one had no other people playing when we arrived. When they were little, I loved quiet parks where I didn't have to worry about them getting knocked down. Now that they're bigger, I like busier parks so they can socialize and play. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Brody School Park

Today, we went to check out Brody School Park, which is located on the north side of Brody Middle School (south of Water Works Park). It has a large tennis court, a basketball court, a playground, and a long-distance view of downtown!

The playground is a fun one for bigger kids and has a climbing wall, but really doesn't have much shade to speak of.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Coloring Contest at the Iowa State Fair

It's time for submissions to the annual coloring contest at the Iowa State Fair! Entries are due August 1. You can print off the coloring pages and entry form from the website:

My kids are busy working hard on theirs!

Evergreen Park

Through all of our recent playground adventures, I learned a new term: pocket park. Apparently, a small and easily accessible park is called a pocket park, and that's how I'd describe Evergreen Park in Des Moines. It's in the middle of a residential area, but easy to see and get to from the main road (Evergreen Avenue).