Summer is in full swing! That is quite evident as the roadways are full despite $5+ per gallon of gas. Americans have tired of staying at home. This summer we are ready to break out and go.
Some people want to go far. Others want destinations closer to home. It is like the box has been ripped open and people are spilling out everywhere. It is great to see life more normal and even better to be a part of it.
A park, though, can be one of the best places to go. Privately-owned amusement parks often are a big budget item which you dream of doing with the kids at some time. But overall, visiting parks can be very affordable.
Going to the park is always fun as there is something for everyone to do, regardless of age. Americans love their parks! Some of our earliest citizens recognized the importance of protecting large areas of land for public use. Many of these are part of our national park system; national treasures that are protected from development, but available for everyone to enjoy. They are as beautiful and as diverse as our people. It is especially gratifying to see families with children visiting. Afterall, it will be the citizens of future generations that will need to see the value in protecting our open spaces of our parklands.
Whether you find yourself going to a national, state, local, or other type of park, there are opportunities to get out and go for everyone. I have always loved parks. Next to libraries, they are one of my favorite places. Some early memories involve being excited about going to the baby pool, or playing on the slides, flying a kite, sledding, or having a picnic. When I was older, the park became my refuge to take my own children to. It was always somewhere close by we could go that was special and fit our budget. It was bigger than our yard. They could explore, play ball, and run into some friends there.
My mother once accused me of “hiding out in the park.” This was really another way to say, “You were away from your phone, and I couldn’t get ahold of you.”
Exactly, Mom … and where did I learn this? Well as you guessed, that was before cell phones. Can you imagine that? You would have to come up with a different plan now if you wanted to hide out.
Supporting our parks at all levels, but especially our local parks only make sense. They can add so much to our quality of life as individuals and a community.
Do you have a favorite park? What special memories do you have from being there? Maybe topping off a day with a picnic or ice cream cone there sounds good. Parks not only provide green spaces large enough to fly a kite without losing it to the power lines, but they offer many free or low-cost activities. So, whether you want to walk to get in more steps, play ball, walk the dog, or let the kids cool off in the splash pad, there is bound to be a park right for you. Below are just a few links if you want to check out some of what is going on close by or further away. Enjoy!
n in.gov (Indiana State Parks)
n nps.gov (National Park Service: Find a Park)
n garfieldgardensconservatory.org (Garfield Park Conservatory)
n playfishers.com (Roy G. Holland Memorial Park)
Teresa Holland is a guest columnist, writer, and retired advanced-practice registered nurse. Send comments to [email protected]