kids at skatepark
“We go to the parks for picnics and play dates,” says Liz Mcrea, a Naples mother of three. “We also go just to get out of the house. Parks are good, free fun that my whole family enjoys.”
While Mcrea’s favorite is North Collier Regional Park so her children can enjoy the play equipment at Can U Dig It?, she also enjoys walking on the nature boardwalk with her husband.
She’s not alone. Park outings are fun for the whole family. A trip to the park offers everyone a chance to get out of the house, soak up some sunshine and enjoy a little recreation. From birthday parties to play dates, Naples area parks are the place where many family memories have been made. Now it’s just a matter of finding the perfect park for your family to start creating its memories.
Keeping Cool by Splashing Around
Parks with water features are an instant hit for all. Sun-n-Fun Lagoon, located at North Collier Regional Park, is a state-of-the-art water park that uses over one million gallons of water. It has interactive water features, including dumping buckets, pistols and five slides. There are four pools, including those designed for specific age groups and families. There is also a lazy river attraction for those who prefer a little more relaxation.
Also located in North Collier Regional Park is the futuristic Can U Dig It? playground. While it includes the usual playground equipment, it takes fun to a whole new level with additional interactive features that are inviting for visitors of all ages. Kids can spin on squiggly poles until they are dizzy, get tossed and turned in a bucket seat, or become junior archaeologists in the covered fossil-dig area. Can U Dig It?
While Sun-n-Fun can easily turn a day at the park into a day-trip mini-vacation, there are other area parks that offer local families a chance to cool down, as well. The Golden Gate Aquatics Facility at Golden Gate Community Park has lifeguards and offers swimming classes, in addition to its leisure activities. They have a large heated pool, children’s activity pool, water slides, and springboards.
Vineyards Community Park and Eagle Lakes Community Park both have interactive water-play areas adjacent to the playground; kids can work up a sweat on the playground and then cool off before eating a picnic lunch or heading home. Kids love the excitement of running through the water jets that squirt up from the ground randomly.
Getting Some Rest & Relaxation
For parents who prefer a more relaxed setting, where they can lay their towel on the shoreline and watch as the kids build sand castles, Sugden Regional Park is the place to go. With a refreshing view of 60-acre Lake Avalon and a play area close to the water, both parents and kids will appreciate a chance to visit this relaxing spot.
For kids who prefer spending some time on wheels rather than the playground, Collier County Parks and Recreation has two specialty BMX skate parks located within a community park. Golden Gate Community Center and Wheels is one of the busiest parks in Naples because of its location in Golden Gate City. It has a BMX track that offers Bicycle MotoCross enthusiasts a chance to practice and improve their sport skills. The park features Friday Night BMX races and also showcases dozens of competitions throughout the year for both kids and adults. In addition to the BMX track, there is also a small skateboard area. Collier County Parks and Recreation’s other skate park, Velocity Skate Park, located at East Naples Community Park, is the largest and is also one of the top-rated skate parks in the state.
Get Out and Play
Collier County’s Parks and Recreation department has a lot to offer growing families. With so many wonderful resources within our reach, we can tap into the best the county has to offer. No matter what the occasion, the Department of Parks and Recreation wants to be involved in creating childhood memories that will last for years to come.
Jennifer Morgan is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her four kids at Naples area parks.
Log on to www.collierparks.com to find a park guide, special event listings, and additional information about parks near you.
Collier County Parks:
Collier Regional Park Sun-N-Fun Lagoon, 15000 Livingston Road
Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Drive
Eagle Lakes Community Park, 11565 Tamiami Trail East
Velocity Skate Park, 3500 Thomasson Drive
Golden Gate Community Park, 3300 Santa Barbara Blvd.
Max A Hasse, Jr. Community Park, 3390 Golden Gate Blvd. W.
Pelican Bay Community Park, 764 Vanderbilt Beach Road
Golden Gate Community Center Wheels, 4701 Golden Gate Parkway
Veterans Community Park, 1895 Veterans Park Drive
Vineyards Community Park, 6231 Arbor Blvd.