Saturday, July 5, 2008

mini park independence day

Fourth of July on a Friday is like having two Saturdays. We rarely have a real Saturday like most people - you know, cut the grass, throw a barbecue, play a round of golf, or maybe even set up the canopy, put out the nylon lawn chairs, fill the one-use styrofoam cooler with your favorite beverage, set up the slip 'n slide in the backyard, and go topless for the afternoon like our neighbors - you know real Saturday kind of stuff. Since our neighbor ripped the slip 'n slide belly-flopping with his keys in his pocket, we decided to use the first Saturday of the weekend to get out and enjoy more of Champaign's mini parks. We had such a good time at McCollum Park and Mini Park II on Memorial Day, we couldn't pass up the opportunity for another holiday visit. 

The first stop of the day was Mini Park V at 909 W. Church Street. Obtained through a lease from the Carle Foundation in 1988, the luscious .01 acres located just west of The Pavilion - Champaign's premier mental health institute - provides park goers with ample space for playing frisbee, engaging in a fierce game of bocce ball, or even setting up the croquet wickets. Biff and Zoe managed to get a spot right in front of the sign! We were the only visitors.

Everyone must have been at a 4th of July barbecue or maybe staking out places for the fireworks at Dodds Park. It's possible, however, that most of the park regulars were visiting the cows at Prairie Farm. No matter, we had the place to ourselves! 

Because 98% of the park is asphalt, Mini Park V is the destination for Champaign's rollerbladers, rollerskaters, and street hockey enthusiasts. In our excitement to get out of the door, we forgot the rollerskates, but Biff said we could probably return next week. We did, however, make it over to the Pavilion for a look at their top-rate facilities. We might leave the rollerskates at home every time we visit Mini Park V.

Convenient parking is located in the park. Parking is free as is admission. Long-term parking is provided for friends and family of Pavilion patients. Validation can be obtained at the front desk. 

Some recent photos of friends enjoying the tropical paradise of Hawaii's pristine coastline have given us a hankerin' for our own island-hopping adventure. We packed up our things and headed to one of Champaign's Flower Islands. Located on the southeast corner of Prospect and Devonshire, this flower island can satisfy any floraphile's addiction.

Its beautiful arrangement of pansies and its exotic palm-like center piece attract heavy traffic during the summer months, so we advise an early morning or late evening visit. None of the cars stopped this Independence Day, though nearly everyone came to a complete stop at the intersection to gaze at all the flowers in all their summer loveliness. Again we suspect everyone was en route to some kind of patriotic party, too busy for what really makes this country great.
Convenient parking is located across the street at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Admission to the island is free. 

Stay tuned to Bunna and Biff for more about Champaign's mini parks and for your chance to vote for your favorite mini park and much, much more!


Brammer Family said...

You guys are so funny. :) Zoe is just gettin' cuter and cuter!

...can't wait to vote for my favorite mini park! :)

Jackie said...

Love her little hat!
Ok, can I put in a request? Every time I pass Helms Park I always think of Helms Deep, for no other reason than the name. And the mini "valley" underneath the towering sign... And could you dress as hobbits for the picture too? Thanks.