Wednesday , July 13, 2016 - 5:30 PM
Two local high adventure parks have families of all ages singing their praises and two cities feeling a happy return on a big investment.
Boyd Davis, assistant city manager in West Point, said the city’s “active play park” was completed last year and it’s been a huge draw not just for West Point residents, but for many from other communities as well.
Anna Rook lives in Roy and said she doesn’t mind driving a few miles southwest to Loy Blake Park. Her children, ages 7, 5 and 4, love coming.
“I think this is the tenth time we have come this summer,” Rook said as she pushed her 4-year-old in circles on a plastic round structure over and over again. “There is something for all ages,” she said.
Shannon Taylor of Clinton agrees. The mother of five said she enjoys the variety of things for her wide age range of children. Her boys especially like the park because they get all their energy out on all the climbing structures and the zip line.
“Everyone loves the zip line,” Taylor said with a smile as she continued to help a long line of kids climb up on the structure.
GO! With Kids
WHERE: High adventure parks
• Loy Blake Park, 3500 W. 550 North, West Point: Open daily from sunup to sundown (approximately 10 p.m.). Playground plus pavilion, four boweries, volleyball pits, horseshoe pits and fire pits. For information or reservations, call 801-776-0970.
• Ogden High Adventure Park, 251 18th St., Ogden: Open daily sunup to sundown (approximately 10 p.m.). Playground plus a few picnic tables, wading and fishing; no bathroom facilities. For information, call 801-629-8271.
Davis said the zip line has been golden for the park. “We’ve already had to repair it, it’s so popular,” he quipped.
But that’s another thing about the park Taylor said she likes — when things break, they are repaired quickly. Davis said keeping things in good condition at the $250,000 park is very important to the city.
“The city council really wanted to make that investment for families,” he said.
Taylor also loves the Ogden High Adventure Park and visits there often with her kids. The city started the park project in 2010, said Perry Huffaker, public ways and parks manager for Ogden City.
“We wanted something that was a destination,” Huffaker said.
The city built the park in two phases and completed phase two in 2014. With all the action at The Junction in downtown Ogden, the city wanted to provide a great park option in the area, Huffaker said, adding, “I think we met our goals.”
He said day or night, rain or shine, the park is always occupied.
“We noticed that so many park options were boring and we wanted to offer something the opposite of that,” he said.
The Loy Blake Park features a large spider-web climbing area, spinning seats for young children and two swing sets, one with luxury, lean-back seats. There is also a child-size digital game with different light-up parts that kids try to run and touch.
The Ogden High Adventure Park has two major climbing areas, high enough so at the top, climbers can see far distances. The park has an area for older youth with high climbing areas and tall slides, and an area for the younger set with plenty of swing sets, spinning toys and a more moderate climbing structure that multiple kids can play on at once.
Both Huffaker and Davis said their cities did a lot of research on the high-adventure options because they knew it would be something that would be long lasting for residents and their families. Before the Ogden park opened, the only other adventure-type park in the state was in St. George. Huffaker said he feels like they got a head start on something big and now residents are enjoying it.
Stacee Hunsaker of Ogden said the High Adventure Park is one of their family favorites.
“The playground equipment is so engaging for all ages. I have brought all of my boys, ranging from the oldest, 34 years old, to my 12-year-old, and they had a blast playing together,” Hunsaker said on Facebook in response to a query about the park.
Tera Robinson is an occupational therapist in the Ogden area and said the High Adventure Park meets the sensory needs of kids of all ages, and especially those kids who have special needs and need help with sensory processing.
Robinson dedicated a blog post on her Yums Play Therapy site to the park, listing all the parts of the venue that are great for kids. Swinging, climbing, spinning plus other sensory options are big in her mind.
She said she also likes the fact that kids can wade in the river, taking off their socks and shoes.
“It would be a good tactile experience for our child,” she said.
Hunsaker said an added boost to the park is the Ogden River Parkway trail close by, and just west of the park is a large spot for fishing.
“We didn’t really think much about the river experience when putting in the park, but I hear it’s been a good thing,” he said.
The park cost just under $400,000 between the two phases, Huffaker said.
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