Park Perks

It never occurred to me, but the vast majority of my “free” time is spent in a park.

According to my calendar, my family visited nine parks a total of 12 times in three different cities last week. The week before, we visited 11 parks in two different states.

In fact, as far as I can tell, the last time somebody in our family didn’t set foot in a park was February 28. Today is May 14.

This either makes me a “power” user or certifiably insane.

It does underscore my passion for all the little things parks can do to make visiting them better for an overwhelmed Dad. My short list includes:

Clean, permanent restrooms. I do not like having to pack a portable toilet so my three-year-old twin girls can have a sanitary place to go potty, which they do a million times each weekend.

Shade, shade, shade. Please provide shade for the fans of ball games, playground fanatics, etc. It doesn’t have to be a lot. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be a blue tarp strung between two posts (I’ve actually seen this done). Anything is preferable to nothing.

Safety netting at baseball fields. I love the efficiency of placing four ball fields around a concession stand, but I hate trying to keep my twins alive through the weekend--as in not be-headed by foul balls raining from the sky. Any netting or overhang is greatly appreciated.

Play structures near sports fields. When we see a playground near the field we’re going to be using, we are in heaven. Let me repeat HEAVEN! This can be anything to play on--a big rock, a swing set, a playground, an old tree, dirty tires on the ground, etc.

Publish park addresses on your Web site. To get to your park, I’m going to go to your Web site and plug the address into my GPS and mindlessly follow it to wherever it leads, so please make it easy for me to find your address. If the park doesn’t have a recognizable address, then give me the address of whatever is right across the street, next door or nearby. Get me close and I’ll figure it out.

These experiences also have sparked some work-related activity--our new Find-A-Park online directory. With the click of a mouse, power park users like me as well as more casual users can now find parks, recreation facilities and special events in any area.

All that’s missing is you! Simply visit and create a listing ($150/year--unlimited number of listings) or use the form inside.

If you want personal service or have any questions, please give me a call at (866) 444-4216 x 226.


Rodney J. Auth


P.S. Download the Find-A-Park logo and post to your Web site or e-mail signature. After all, the more folks who use this search engine, the more who visit (and spend money in) your community.