Mini Family Adventures at Your Local ParkBy: Jacqueline Thompson Graves
Fowler Park's skate park
Shady Grove Campground playground
Central Park Recreation Center Expansion
Central Park swings
Are you enjoying the kids home from school or are you crossing off days on your calendar until classes resume? Part of summer fun is unstructured play time, but that very thing can drag into an eternity of sameness. Schedule some structure into your days to control the chaos of "what are we going to do now?"
Your kids are probably calling it "the skate park", but its name is Fowler Park. Jody Gardner, Communications Director for the Parks and Recreation Department, told me, "Fowler Park has something for everyone, for every member of the family." If all you heard about was the skate park's ramps and bowls, you might fail to take your kids on the Children's Activity Trail winding around the playground area or overlook the 1.5 mile walking trail bordering the park. Six multipurpose fields offer soccer, lacrosse or even just tossing a football back and forth. Fowler has baseball and football fields, pavilions, outside basketball courts, a dozen tennis courts and the trail head for the Big Creek Greenway. But I suppose someone should just put up a second sign that says "Skate Park".
Perhaps you are saying, "But Jacqueline, it's raining and besides, my kid isn't athletic." How would you like a new chip and dip bowl or a cute vase? The pottery workshops at Central Park bring out the artist in all of us, from 8 years old to senior adults. Wheel or hand building classes include instruction, clay, glazing and kiln-firing of the finished pieces. My favorite thing outside is the 27-hole disc golf course even though it takes me 10 shots to finally hit the basket. Others love the Mountain Bike Trail featuring three levels of courses and a freeride park. Baseball, softball and soccer fields, tennis courts, playgrounds and picnicking plus plenty of walking trails have made Central Park a popular family destination year round. Inside the Recreation Center, basketball, the fitness center and dance classes lure residents. A recent addition is a banquet facility and catering kitchen available to rent for private functions.
At some point this summer, you are going to get the camping itch. You don't have to go all the way to Yosemite to experience great nature. Shady Grove Campground offers plenty of leisure opportunities or you can just hang up your hammock and nod off. Water lovers appreciate the white sandy swimming beach and boat launch. Both group camping and individual sites are available with water and 30 or 50 amp hook-ups. Dogs are welcome; alcohol is not. Reserve your spot up to 30 days in advance. Picnicking, volleyball and playgrounds make it a family-friendly place to visit whether you camp or not.
GET OUT & PLAY:
4110 Carolene Way | Cumming, GA 30040
Skate park hours:
Monday - Sunday: 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 to 6:00 pm and Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 am are set aside for skaters 12 years old and under.
2300 Keith Bridge Road | Cumming, GA 30040
Shady Grove Campground
7800 Shadburn Ferry Road | Cumming, GA
(770) 205-6849 (call this number for reservations)
Click here for our Online Exclusive photo essay of the parks (provided by the Parks & Rec Department) plus hours, fees and links to info you need.
Got a favorite park in Forsyth or a tip to share with our readers? Drop me a line at email@example.com
© 2011 Jacqueline Thompson Graves