Parks Promenade

6/4/2018 - Denise Bernacki

Sports & Outdoors
Parks promenade, Kenosha County
Parks promenade, Kenosha County
Parks promenade, Kenosha County
Parks promenade, Kenosha County
Parks promenade, Kenosha County
Parks promenade, Kenosha County

Like most stay-at-home parents, I am always looking for something fun and cheap (Or better yet, FREE!) to do with my three-year-old son, Dominic - “Dom” for short.  Luckily, Kenosha offers so many things that fit those requirements so we are in good shape. He loves to play at the playground in our subdivision, but it was definitely time to experience some new scenery. Being brand new to Kenosha, we needed to put on our exploring hats and discover our new city for the first time together. We decided to pack up the car with extra shoes, snacks, drinks, wipes and sandbox toys and ended up experiencing ten playgrounds in seven days. Kenosha has DOZENS and DOZENS of parks. That is why we are a Park City! Here is an outline of what we found at each playground so that you do not have to do the legwork yourself.  Just leave it to Dom and I, we’re here to help you figure out which ones you want to check out on your next playground promenade.

Charles Nash Park - Nash Playground is part of a sports complex that offers baseball and soccer fields. My GPS brought us to the side of the park where the fields were so I had to drive around a little bit to figure out where the playground was. It is a small, wood-chip covered park and a good place to go if you are looking to change up your normal playground scene and spend about an hour or so. There are three sections to this playground: an obstacle course for older kids, another section for older kids with a tall twisty slide and jungle gyms, and finally the section for little guys, complete with a sandbox!  We immediately grabbed the sand toys out of the car and Dom went to town. It was the first day of really warm weather so this was a treat! Besides the sand, he really loved the stand-alone slide they have there.  It is not part of a jungle gym which makes it unique… and easy for parents to keep an eye on their kids. It is nice because instead of climbing through a jungle gym, he can cut-to-the-chase, so to speak, and keep going down the slide and not mess with anything else. A time saver, really, if you ask me! He also did his favorite thing - pick flowers (dandelions) for mommy! It is important to note that there are restrooms on the premises but they were locked when we were there, so please plan accordingly!

Petrifying Springs Park – So, to the locals, this place is referred to as “Pets Park” but to me I just refer to it as BEAUTIFUL! Honestly, my breath was taken away as we arrived and I thought to myself “how lucky are we that we get to live this close to something so beautiful?” As we drove in there were two play areas (or picnic areas as they are called) to the right and we decided to go to the second one because it looked like there were more activities there. This playground is sand-based so I do recommend wearing sandals or water shoes so you do not bring home too much sand with you! There is an abundance of trees, a stream where people were fishing, trails for hiking, biking, walking and exploring, and the cutest playground structures for Dom to play on. There is a “house” with a telescope and a mailbox, where we had to periodically check to see if there was mail, and of course another stand-alone slide, only higher… couldn’t keep Dom off this thing. This playground also has a big play-set with regular slides, twisty slides, ladders, steps, and swings, too. After he was done with the playground, we decided to cross the bridge over the stream and walk the trails. I cannot wait to come back to this playground because there are so many things to do that we did not even have a chance to see. This is truly such a serene place amidst all the kids laughing, playing and having a great time. I would highly recommend this playground due to its variety and beauty. I’m excited to see what colors the trees bring later in the season, and to have Dominic come back and play there in the midst of such a gorgeous atmosphere. There is even a dog park on site, if your kids are of the fur variety. Oh, and you’ll be happy to know that the restrooms were open when we were there!

Petzke Park - Kenosha Dream Playground - And what a dream it is, indeed!  Even the flooring is cool - no sand or wood chips here! The ground is covered with a bouncy, rubbery material. How can you not have fun here? This place has it all - and for everyone, literally. It is fully accessible to children and adults of all abilities. You’ll find a merry-go-round, swings, bridges, games, rope ladders, balance beams, stepping stones, rock walls and slides. It is split into two sections, one for big kids and one for littler kids.  Dom is in between as he is tall for a three-year-old, so he favored the little kids side but challenged himself on the more mature side, too. One thing that is perfect about this park is that the structures are wide enough so parents can comfortably go up with their kids for support, especially on the taller parts of the structures. It is also unique in the way that each side is almost a replica of each other. For example, he really wanted to go on the really tall slide on big kids side but was too scared at first. The little kid side has a comparable setup, so he was able to practice over there and eventually work up to the taller slide. The playground is large so it was tough keeping an eye in my little guy the whole time, but on the other hand it was good to because it gave him a chance to go off and adventure by himself too. He is pretty shy so this was a good way to get him to branch out of his mommy-comfort zone. This is a great playground for anyone looking to spend several hours or just a short trip to the playground – you can pack in a lot of fun in a short time, but your kids won’t want to leave.  Pro Tip: visit on a cooler day because even though the bouncy flooring is cool, the reflection from it can get rather warm!  And in case you were wondering, the restrooms were open.

Kennedy Park - Wow. Right off the water, there are two playgrounds: one with slides, a chain ladder, bridge and tunnel and the other with swings and a stand-alone slide, which comes highly Dom-recommended!  While the playgrounds were fun, we especially enjoyed the waterfront view. We are from Northwest Indiana and nothing there compares to this. When he saw the big rock lining the shore, we jumped right up and had a seat while staring out into the water watching boats pass by. I could literally sit there all day; so relaxing. The park itself is large, but the playground area is rather small. It would be a good stop to have the kids run around for a bit, or to kick a ball around thanks to the open spaces. There are washrooms at the park, but they are a little way away from the play areas. The view of Lake Michigan is a huge perk and I think it would be amazing to take pictures there for a photoshoot.  Again, what a beautiful place to call home. Kenosha playgrounds really do offer more than just a place to play!

Union Park - This wood-chip floored playground is located in a residential area, which I am learning is also an emerging arts district. It is very spacious and spread out well. There is a jungle gym with slides that are straight, twisty and bumpy, steps, and monkey bars. This playground also has swings and a stand-alone slide. The best part of the set-up is the tunnel which Dom had a ball with. He loved sticking his arms and feet out and making funny faces.  What a character!  You can find another character here too - a metal, pieced-together sculpture with a shield almost like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, or Iron Man. I like to think that he is watching over the kids as they play. Also on the grounds is a Little Free Library, should any parents want to grab something to read while the kiddos play. If you are planning on coming to this playground, I would recommend going to Kennedy Park as well because they are right around the corner from each other.  That way you can be like us and knock out two playgrounds in one day. Take note, though, this park does not have a restroom.

Bristol Woods Park and Pringle Nature Center - While we did not visit the nature center on this visit, we did find the playground – that’s what this trip was all about after all. This sand-floored playground has a small jungle gym with a wide slide, swings, a stand-alone slide, and a merry-go-round. It is surrounded by beautiful woods and popsof color provided by the flowers that peek out to say hello as you play. We did not stay very long at the playground, but we did have a fun adventure walking on a trail adjacent to the play area. He loved picking up sticks as we walked along and throwing them back toward the trees. Iwas, of course, cautious that we were going to rustle up some critters – we were truly in the center of nature.  We walked along and smelled the flowers and then we were on our way.This would be a great stop for families with other kids interested in hiking and exploring. Next time we visit, we will make a point to go to the nature center -  it would be fun for Dom to learn about what we were actually looking at on the trail!

Poerio Park & Nature Center - This playground is located in a residential area and has a wood-chip floor. Dom really liked this park and did not want to leave, as there was a twisty slide, a large sandbox, a merry-go-round, swings and a see-saw. A HUGE variety of things to do.  It is the perfect example of what a playground should be. We played hide and seek around the jungle gym and he swung all the way up to the sky on the swings. I did not mention this before, but there are two types of swings according to Dominic; baby swings and big-boy swings.  He does not like to be referred to as a baby, but when it comes to swings, he typically prefers the baby ones. But not here! He was daring enough to try the big-boy swings and really enjoyed them. The see-saw was new for him too, so we gave that a go. I recommend this playground, no question. While it is not as new as the Dream Playground, it truly has everything a kid wants in a playground.  We will definitely be back because of what this park offers but also for the memories we made there. There are restrooms on site, but they were not open while we were there.

Brighton Dale Park – Located about 20 minutes outside of the City of Kenosha, in Kenosha County, the scenic drive is as enjoyable as the park itself. Along the way it is like you are driving through a history book. You will see old farms, buildings, and lots of open land. There is a small, sandy-gravel playground which is spread out and surrounded by nature. You will find two stand-alone slides, with one much higher than the other. Dom was not in the mood for that much adventure on that particular day! There are both baby swings and big-boy swings, and even a small jungle gym.  Oh, and tons of trees! Dom loved to compare how tall I was in reference to the trees - I will let you figure out which was taller. We saw a pond with a bridge across the park so we ventured over to check it out. There is so much to do and see here and we will definitely go back. We noted that there are shelters there but the restrooms were not open. Scenery is what made this park fun!

Fox River Park – Situated in Western Kenosha County, about 25 minutes outside the city, this park is well worth the drive. It is a small, sandy-gravel floored park with stand-alone slides, see-saws, and swings. This place reminds me of when I was little – there was this big park behind by friends’ house that we called “The Green Grass”.  The whole background of this playground is painted in green, grass that is. The park overall is quite large, but the playground area is rather small. A new, larger play area is being added to the park - it looks amazing.  It was killing Dominic that he could not go and play on the new construction, so we will definitely be back soon. This park also has a large hill much like Nash, but Dom refers to it as “the big mountain”.  In the winter you can sled down it – but in current season, Dom opted to run down in instead due to the lack of snow. He loved it! We cannot wait to come back this winter! There is a nearby building that did have restrooms open. Lots of people come to this park to walk and ride a bikes. For other kids and adults, there are disk golf, a baseball field, and access to the Fox River for paddle boating and canoeing. I would recommend this playground especially when that new section is ready!

HarborPark - I almost did not come to this one because I had been to the downtown area a handful of times and did not remember seeing a playground anywhere. One evening when my husband came home, we were getting ready to head to our neighborhood park when I realized I had only been to nine parks. In order to make it an even ten for this blog, I convinced him to come along. We drove around searching for a playground and right when I was ready to give up, I saw it by the boats at Southport Marina!  (It’s always the last place you look.)  Wow is this park pretty! It is truly a lake-side park, if I have ever seen one. The nautical inspired structures and sandy-gravel flooring finishes the look perfectly. There are steps, a bridge, a tunnel, a twisty slide, a regular slide, and a separate section with a chain ladder that looks like the front of a ship. This is where my husband tried his hand at an impersonation of Jack from ‘Titanic.’  He truly felt like the “king of the world” if only for a few short moments before the reality set in that he had to figure out how to get down! This was the last playground on my list to go to and it could not have been more      perfect. One of Dominic’s favorite things to do is throw rocks in the water with his Dad.  Since Dad was with us, he insisted on throwing rocks into the lake. As it got darker out, we walked along the water and looked at the night lights of Downtown Kenosha. What a way to end our playground promenade. So if you are asking if I recommend this playground…yes! In fact, I cannot wait to come back for a date night with my husband at the same spot, but sans playground. HarborPark offers a sculpture walk, fountains, flower gardens, and incredible views of the lake. Ge may want to be the king of the world again – HA!

Ten parks in seven days. Whew! That was a lot – but also a lot of fun. I encourage you to take your time, enjoy our Parks City and see where your playground promenades lead you.

Community Blog Team 2018

Denise Bernacki

Community Blogger

Brand new Kenosha resident – just relocated here Fall 2017 from NW Indiana. Touring Kenosha for the first time along with my husband and 3-year-old son.