Spring has arrived in Happy Valley, at least for the time being. With the first golden rays of springtime sunshine peaking through the windows, my entire household bolts out to the nearest park to soak up the sun. We are lucky that Centre County has so many great local parks, some of which are more suited to spring, summer, or fall. Here’s a run-down of some of my favorite springtime parks around the State College, PA area.
- Bernel Road Park - http://www.crpr.org/Parks/BernelRd/Intro_BRP.html)
Without the benefit of mature trees, Airport Park can heat up really fast in the summer sun, making the equipment and the ground too hot for little hands and legs. But the kids love this park in the spring, when that extra bit of sunshine is totally welcome and nothing in Happy Valley is ever too hot. Airport Park is great for bikes and scooters, with the mostly flat, extra wide trail and beautiful scenery. The equipment is fresh and airport themed, quite different from other parks, which the kids love. The air traffic control tower is a big hit with my boys. Add the actual planes flying by to land at the University Park Airport and this park is a springtime homerun!
- Circleville Park - http://www.crpr.org/Parks/CirclevillePk/Circleville_Park_InfoSheet.pdf)
Circleville Park is another great example of a Centre County spring park. The park can get a bit windy, especially in the fall, but there are some great new facilities in the lower section near the soccer and tennis courts. This smaller, lower part of Circleville Park is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who might be flight risks. There isn’t far to go, so mom and dad won’t get worn out from chasing. The upper section has a big sand zone, which can get cruddy as the summer approaches. Take advantage of dry days by hitting the sand box with some toys you bring from home.
- Tallyrand Park - http://www.bellefontearts.org/Talleyrand.htm)
Talleyrand Park is always springtime hit for one reason: DUCKS! The kids will get a kick out of feeding, chasing, or watching the ducks. Sure, there’s a park at Talleyrand, too. But DUCKS! This park is a great spot for a picnic lunch, either under the gazebo or in the grass. But bring a blanket, because DUCKS! There’s also a great Edible Garden, if you’re looking for nature lessons, or ideas for your own home garden.
- Penn State University Alumni Center - http://alumni.psu.edu/about_us/alumni-center/hintz)
The Alumni Center is a hidden gem on campus, that’s perfect for warm spring excursions. Play tag in the big, sun-filled grassy area, stroll around the multiple ponds, watching the ducks, turtles, and wildlife majors. Bonus: walk up to the Creamery before or after the park for an ice cream or milkshake. Maybe even pick one up for the kids!
These are just a few of my favorite parks. Where do you and the kids go once spring has sprung?
Sara Spock is a Mom, Wife, Penn State Graduate, Freelance Writer, and Coffee Addict. When she's not basking in the springtime sunshine, Sara can be found watching Frozen with her boys, over and over and over and over again.