Friday, March 7, 2014

My First Guest Blog: Staycatian Ideas: Having Fun at the Park

I am guest blogging over at Mom it Forward today.  This is my first ever guest blog!!!  Thank you to Jill and Mom it Forward blog for featuring me!
Staycatian Ideas: Having Fun at the Park
Staycation Ideas: Common Ground Park
How many of you think you know everything there is to do around your community?  My sister moved to Lakeland, Florida last month and was telling me about an awesome park she found.  Common Ground Park in Lakeland, Florida is about an hour from where I live and on the way to Disney World. I was surprised I hadn't heard about it before. 
Common Ground Park has a Disney ambiance when you enter it. There is joyful children's music playing like "If You're Happy and You Know It," "Yankee Doodle," and I think we heard the "Chicken Song."  The music just makes you want to rush into the park faster, which is exactly what we did! The park is a public park so it is absolutely free to enter. They take donations if you want to give back.

Having Fun at the Park

Here are some highlights of the Commnon Ground Park in Lakeland Florida:
  • Butterfly Gardens - There are several butterfly gardens in the park. You can play among them as your kids swing.  There is an in formation board that gives you butterfly facts, so not only are you having fun, but you are learning too. This is a home school Mom's dream (aka "me!").
  • Large Play Area - The playground is 25,000 square feet!
  • Separated Play Areas - There is a sign that is color and number correlated to show parents and children which of the areas is safe and age appropriate.  This offers another learning experience with review of colors and numbers.
  • Spider Web - This has to be one of the funnest ways to enter a jungle gym I have ever seen. The kids have to climb up the web to get to the jungle gym above.  There are several other entrances to get on as well so there are never too many children trying to get on at once.
  • Conveyor Belt - The conveyor belt is another part of this massive jungle gym and the slide is like a conveyor belt so you bump, bump, bump all the way down it. My sons loved it, especially my oldest.
  • Gopher Mountain - This is actually not grass, but synthetic turf so most of the children are running around in their socks without their shoes and it's a lot safer for them in case they fall.  Kids can literally roll or slide down the hill. Adults can also participate if they want to. Underneath the mountain is a tunnel that kids can crawl through. They can climb back up on a rope ladder or exit through three other outlets in the mountain.
  • Fossil Beach - Fossil Beach is where kids can dig in the sand for fossils. The area is underneath a tent. Parents can sit in the shade and watch or they can go exploring on the rocks and slide down either of the two slides. My youngest is almost three years old and this was his favorite part!  He loved being a dinosaur and climbing the rocks to get to his slide.  Great imagination at work!
  • Picnic Tables - There are plenty of picnic tables in the shade and more space for running around.  This was the best slide according to my son!
  • Veranda - In the middle of the park there is a veranda where you can sit and watch your children have fun.  The park is entirely enclosed with a fence which can make parents feel safe. I ended up playing alongside my sons and of course snapping pictures.
They really did a great job of thinking of everything and everyone at this park and there is such a joy and calmness in the park.  And did I mention how clean this park is?  They do amazing because I didn't see a single piece of trash or gum anywhere and this park is almost five years old and it looks brand new.
We spent almost two hours here and I don't think we saw every inch of this park because there is just so much to do.  If you are ever near the Lakeland, Florida area this is a must stop!
Where are some of your favorite staycation ideas?  Do you have a fun park in your community?

This post originally appeared as guest post on Mom It Forward on March 7, 2014.




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