Allow me to introduce you to my favorite park: US Grant Park in Portland, Oregon.
When my kids were younger, our beautiful neighborhood park was the default destination for effortless fun. Long before running and climbing got confined to “recess,” there were the afternoons spent flying in the swings, spinning on the merry-go-round till woozy, scaling the tall slide and screeching in triumph on the way down.
Gradually, naturally, the playground faded to the background of our days. It’s fine. I loved those times with my kids, but I love even more watching them grow into independent people with their own paths to follow.
These days, I spend more time at the park with my dog (believe me, it NEVER gets old for him). But I love passing the playground and seeing a new generation of toddlers and preschoolers with their parents. Some are cheering their kids on, clapping after each trip down the slide or across the monkey bars. Others are slumped on the bench looking tired, grateful for a breather while their little ones run off some energy.
There’s still plenty of fun to be had for my kids at our local park — they ride their bikes through to the ice cream shop or the library on the other side. During the summer, they flock to the pool situated on the park grounds and then beg for snow cones on the way home. They cool their feet in the Beverly Cleary Fountain, erected in honor of our neighborhood’s most famous citizen (my son attends the same middle school Ms. Cleary attended as a girl).
As my oldest approaches his teen years, Grant Park still has an important role to play. It’s connected to the grounds of Grant Hight School, which means it will eventually become the backdrop of my son’s walks to and from school. He used to stare in wonder at the “big kids.” In three years, he’ll be one of them.
What’s your favorite park? Visit Coca-Cola’s Live Positively America Is Your Park site to nominate and vote for yours! I’ll be voting for Grant Park. Coke will award recreation grants to the top three parks with the most votes – $100,000 for first place, $50,000 for second and $25,000 for third. Also, a $15,000 grant will be awarded, at random, to a lucky park that comes in 4th to 25th on the leader board by the end of the contest.
What does your favorite park mean to your family?
This is sponsored content from Babble and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of Coca-Cola. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Only legal residents of the 50 U.S. (and D.C.) who are at least 13 years old and reside within the U.S. at the time of participation are eligible to vote for a Park. Participate on behalf of a Park by: July 15, 2012. The 3 most popular Parks will be offered a grant and there will be 1 Wild Card drawing at the end of the Contest to award an additional grant. To participate, for Official Rules, and complete details including grant descriptions, visit www.LivePositively.com/parks. Void where prohibited. Click here to see more of the discussion.
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