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Spring is coming and the parks are waiting. Here’s my list of kid-friendly favorites

That groundhog lied, right? He said six more weeks of winter, but I count five.

Either way, it doesn’t matter to my family. We are outside in wind, water, sleet, snow, sweltering jungle heat, frigid chill. Whatever it looks like, we shove ourselves outside.

Even still, I am really, really, really looking forward to reasonable temperatures where I can look like a regular person again rather than the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Plus size mom. Extra puffy coat. I am super fluffy in the winter months.

Plus, let’s not even talk about the COVID weight.

With the ushering in of the warmer temperatures comes the joy of springtime activities, the frantic sorting of kid’s clothes, and the removal of my Christmas tree. (Here comes a squirrel.) Yes, my Christmas tree is still up. No, I do not change its name as the months pass by. My Christmas tree stays up until March or April every year.

Maybe you’re one of those lucky people who doesn’t ever feel sad or lethargic in the winter. I envy you. I used to have seasonal affective disorder something bad right after the Christmas season ended.

Goodbye to the joy and the cheer, and welcome to the darkness. I would have lots of trouble concentrating on work, being productive around the house, and going out with friends. I just wanted to eat a dozen frozen pizzas and lounge on my couch for a solid Netflix binge.

But about seven or eight years ago, I thought, “Why am I taking my Christmas tree down? No one else will know, so why not leave it up?” It brings me so much happiness that I decided that I wouldn’t take it down.

Keeping that tree up changed my life. That was the first winter I wasn’t filled with doom and gloom. It was the first winter I actually felt like a normal human again. So, ever since then, the tree stays up until it’s beautiful outside and the weather breaks into spring.

Checkmark another box on the “Weird Parent List.” My poor kid.

That tangent aside, and in honor of the changing seasons, let’s talk about our favorite parks to visit!

THE McCANN’S LIST OF PARKS (in no particular order)

Fort Hunter

This is a McCann almost daily trip. The kid needs to get out of the house? (Or we need to get out of the house?) We get over to Fort Hunter. We are probably there 4-5 times a week. We love it for several reasons:
1. It’s right by the river.

2. It has three sets of swings. (Toddler/baby only on the river side. Toddler/baby and big kid/adult on the other side.)

3. The jungle gyms are smaller, so it’s easier to keep track of an almost-2-year-old.

4. There is a lot of room to roam.

5. There is a semi-busy street that separates the park. (Not my favorite, but my daughter certainly loves crossing it at a snail’s pace multiple times every trip.)

6. There is history. (For nerds like Kevin.)

7. Perfect for puddle jumping after it rains.

8. Tiny, steep hills next to the road (non-river side) that are amazing for instant gratification sledding.

George Park

This is probably one of our favorite jungle gym-type parks. Don’t misunderstand, we adore Adams-Ricci (more on that park below), but George Park is large enough to feel like you’re conquering a castle and small enough so you don’t get lost. It’s got a tire swing that causes Coraline to holler at us until we push her as hard and fast as possible, a giant wooden jungle gym, musical features, puzzle games and a little tots play place. Not that our kid has any interest in that.

Add in a few slides, benches for exhausted adults, and only one way in/out, you’ve got an amazing afternoon where your kid can have a blast and you can take a break.

Brightbill Park

Rock climbing wall. Do I need to say anything else? Probably not, but I will. There are 41 acres of land to roam leading right up to the Friendship Center. They have two little jungle gyms, one of which has a steering wheel, and did I mention that rock climbing wall yet? They have a little tiny wooded path you can wander, which is fun for a few minutes or a half an hour if your kid is determined to collect every stick in the park.

Adams-Ricci

This is the crème de la crème on the West Store. If you disagree with me, shove it in the comments. It has small play areas, giant play areas, all the swings, tons of land, gardens, hills, flat areas and magic. Adams-Ricci pretty much offers it all. However, because of this, it is always, always crowded. Always. We went there in the dead of winter. It was busy. In the summer? Even more packed. So, if you are steering clear of other humans who don’t wear masks, this is not the spot for you.

I hope this little list of our favorites introduced you to maybe a new park in the area. That being said, I don’t know them all, and we love to explore. Let me know your favorite! Put it in the comments or find me on the internet.

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