Thursday, November 2, 2017

(Re)discover First Ward Park

This. I thought First Ward Park was cool before. But last weekend we discovered this. A new giant, spherical jungle gym.

If it's been a while since you've visited First Ward Park in the heart of uptown Charlotte -- or if you've never been before -- this novel climbing equipment is one more reason to make it a destination. And there are plenty of other reasons as well.

First Ward Park, a beautiful urban green space, is located directly across the street from Imaginon, a destination in and of itself, and adjacent to 7th Street Public Market, where you can grab tasty dishes and treats. It's also next to a stop on the LYNX Blue Line, so you can ride the light rail train as part of your excursion.

The park sports a number of cool features, including a stretch of stacked concrete blocks that border the spray ground fountains. The kids love to traverse the steps along the wall, playing chase and hide-and-seek. And in warm weather, a splash in the water is irresistible.

Beyond the fountains is an expansive field, perfect for tossing a Frisbee, playing games or running out some energy. The paved paths circling the field are great for skates, bikes and scooters.

If your kids are old enough to entertain themselves without hovering supervision, you can get in your own workout on a comprehensive set of adult exercise equipment.

If you bring snacks or a picnic, there are benches and tables aplenty for taking a break. And, bathroom facilities are available on site.
Throughout the year, especially during the summer, the park hosts music, festivals and events.

And, again, the recent addition of the big, round spider web of a jungle gym. Great for the kids. (And, bonus: It's grown-up size, too!)

How to get there:
First Ward Park is located at 301 E. 7th Street, Charlotte, NC, 28202. On-street parking is available around the park ($0.25/15 minutes; 2 hour limit during business hours on weekdays. Free after 6:00 p.m. and on weekends). If you plan to visit the library, you can park at Imaginon and get your ticket validated. Or, you can park in the Seventh Street Station parking deck (they'll validate your parking ticket if you purchase something in the 7th Street Public Market). Or ride the LYNX blue line light rail!

Don't forget to pack:

  • Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses: It's a wonderful park, but not a lick of shade.
  • Change: You'll need coins for the parking meter during business hours.
  • Picnic blanket, balls, skates, etc.: You can have plenty of fun sans equipment, but a few extras might enhance your visit.
  • Bathing suits and towels: If it's warm enough for a splash in the fountains. They run year-round.  

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