Park It! Part 2: Our Favorite Parks in Cedar Rapids

Park ItOh my gosh.  Not only has this summer flown by, but I have discovered parts of the corridor that I, in my 16 years here, didn’t know existed!  For those just joining us, we have spent our summer on a tour de park. Each week we visit one park we’ve never been to before and evaluate it on criteria developed by a very scientific and fancy method: My kids.  To catch up on our first jaunt click here. Essentially, if it has awesome slides, swings, stuff to climb and lots of dirt it got two thumbs up from the girls. Let’s dive in:

Mercer Park-Iowa City

This is a big, red park!  There are tons of climbing apparatuses for both big and little kids.  You can even hang from a merry-go-round and enjoy the double teeter-totter.  The day we went we got to enjoy the Iowa City Public Library’s mobile reading program and were treated to baby goats in a pack and play.  The swingset sits on the sand, which was a big hit for our littles.Park It Clearly, this is a more modern playground with adaptive equipment but supervision is still needed (I saw several kids taking a header off some of the taller pieces!)  

Ellis Park

You guys.  I’ve lived on the west side of town my entire adult life.  I had no idea Ellis had a playground. We were there for the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band concert and Little got restless.  Park It The play area has great equipment, swings, opportunities for pretend play and both big and small play structures.  So, we found this by accident and I feel a little dumb, but it’s a new west-side spot for us.

Daniels Park

Technically this is not “new” to the Cedar Rapids area, but the new ADA friendly playground is!  It’s located right next to the splash pad and shares a lot of features similar to Noelridge’s playground (drums, shakers, adaptive swing, and ramps).  There are great opportunities for climbers both big and small. The variety of slides is great and has a rather tall slide for your little daredevil Park It

Gill Park-Marion

To be honest, this park was a little deceptive.  From the city’s website, I expected it to be bigger with more play structures.  However, you walk through a path of daylilies (which were in full bloom when we went and was absolutely gorgeous) to get to the playground.  There is a big “whirly slide” as my toddler would call it–an older slide with stairs to the top. Neither kid was brave enough for it! The splash pad was my favorite.  Why? Because it had lots of fountains for the adventurous in our group, but also had a smaller, less threatening fountain for toddlers who might get scared of the bigger fountains.  The gazebo nearby offers parents shade and a good view of the splash pad while you bask in adult conversation.Park It

Lake MacBride State Park

Ok, this is a slight bonus.  I am not a camper, but we went camping. We are tent people so we loaded up and headed to their modern campground (because my people are weird and will camp in a tent but need to charge the iPad.  Whatever). We spent the evening down at the beach building sandcastles, floating and splashing. We went on a hike and were stalked by a raccoon before jetting off to beat the oncoming storm. It was short, it was sweet, but it was a great discovery in our own backyard.  Park ItSo, there was our summer. It was filled with lots of climbing, slides, dirt, and swings and we loved every minute of it. We enjoyed the time with our friends and the opportunity to get out of our little introverted comfort zones to discover little gems in the corridor. 

Go exploring, friends!


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Missy Drzycimski
Missy is an Arizona native who migrated to Iowa on a whim and fell in love. She is a social worker by profession but stepped away from her career to be a pseudo-SAHM to her two girls: 8 year-old Selah and 2 year-old Mercy. She has been married for 10 wonderful years to her TV man husband, Andy, and Bo, the black lab pound puppy completes their family. Most days you’ll find Missy working part-time at a local non-profit, leading worship, and chasing after her children. In her spare time, she enjoys writing/composing music, connecting with other women who are also in the trenches of life, and finding time to get to the giant pile of laundry in the basement. Missy loves a good laugh, crime documentaries, coffee, and naps. She also writes about overcoming strongholds on her blog: Inching Toward Freedom

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