Saturday, August 19, 2017

Urban Excursion: Latta Park

I sometimes find that very rewarding adventures can take place close to home and without covering a lot of ground. Today’s “urban excursion” is anchored at Latta Park in the Dilworth neighborhood, close to uptown.

We loaded our bikes and drove over, parking in the spaces across from the picnic pavilion at the west end of the park. We hopped on our bikes and bypassed the playground to follow the paved trail through the natural area that hugs the creek.

This easy stretch is about a quarter-mile long and includes some clearings with easy access to the creek bank, where we stopped to rock-hop and search for critters.

We continued toward Dilworth Rd. and the big, yellow trolley track sculpture. You have to weave around the intersection, but there are ramps and a designated crossing area that take you to a continuation of the trail on the other side of Dilworth Rd. Follow the trail up behind St. Patrick Cathedral where there’s a gaga ball pit and more playground equipment.

After a round of gaga ball, we cruised up to Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt for a quick treat just a few blocks away on a fairly protected route. To get there, take Pierce Street, the road that dead-ends at the start of the paved trail behind St. Patrick’s, to Kenilworth, where you take a right and go two blocks to the Kenilworth Commons shopping center. Pull in the driveway and Menchie’s is at the back of the parking lot to your left. We’ve also done this route with a donut stop at Duck Donuts, also in the same shopping center.

Refreshed, we headed back to Latta Park the same way we came, stopping this time to play on the playground equipment and in the sprayground, which runs from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The park also has restroom facilities.

All in all, a fun way to spend the morning!

How to get there: Latta Park is located at 601 East Park Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28203 in the Dilworth neighborhood just a couple miles outside of uptown.

Don’t forget to take:
  • Water and snacks: You’re not going far, but keep the essentials handy.
  • Bikes and helmets: It’s an easy, pleasant ride, but also doable by foot if you’d prefer to stroll.
  • Ball: Bring your own bouncy ball if you want to play a game in the gaga ball pit.
  • Shoes: If you plan to do a little rock-hopping, consider Keen sandals water shoes you can hike in. Otherwise, comfy sneakers will suffice.
  • Ice cream money: A little sweet treat can be very refreshing!
  • Swim suits and towels: In case you want to take advantage of the sprayground.
  • Bug spray, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses: I pack ‘em everywhere we go.

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