On the Road Again: The BEST playground pit stop
“On the Road Again” is an ongoing series where we share the best, unique and most interesting places to pull off the road when you’re on a road trip! Whether you’re moving from one city to another or on a family vacation, these locations will make the journey a bit more fun! If you have a road trip pit stop that we need to feature, send us an email at email@example.com.
A little more than a year ago, my immediate family moved to South Central Kentucky and we started making regular road trips to and from where our extended family lives in Missouri. About an hour from our home, we drive through the town of Owensboro, Kentucky and during one of our first family trips we spotted a giant playground right at the riverfront. We drove right by the spot every time we went back to Missouri, so one time we decided to go investigate and, WOW, we are so glad we did!
What we spotted from a distance was Smothers Park and the Lazy Dayz Playground. And my three-year-old son was blown away! It is a huge playground designed like a treehouse with large tree structures that connect vast, winding play areas. There’s a little something for all different ages of children and adults will even want to climb up and explore, as well! There are so many different types of slides, climbing areas, play walls, bridges and lookouts. It is truly EPIC!
We have lived in several different locations and we’ve had the opportunity to play in some great parks in places like Denver and Kansas City, but Smothers Park is so beyond anything I ever experienced before. Smothers even ranked among some of the top parks around the world, how cool is that?! Along with the actual humongous play structure, there are clean, modern bathrooms right next to the playground, a splash park that operates in the summer, a snack bar that offers up all kinds of goodies for reasonable prices, many awesome modern bench swings right next to the waterfront, and green space for bringing a ball or lounging with a book! It is like a little oasis.
We LOVE stopping at this park since it is on our way during our usual road trips. It is a great incentive for our son to be well-behaved before we get there, and it totally tires both of our kiddos out for the remainder of the trip. It is usually a pretty quiet and peaceful drive after we let the kiddos loose for a bit! But even if you don’t normally drive through Owensboro, if you are traveling anywhere near the area, it really is a great pit stop during a long car ride and it is so much more than just your regular park (although we’ve yet to meet a park we don’t like!)
A few things we’ve learned from our visits:
- It is a huge structure and you could easily lose track of your children as they run and play, especially on a nice day when it is busy. If you have little ones who tend to make a run for it or are not good at checking in with you, I would suggest at least making sure you can spot them.
- This park has signs that specifically dedicate the playground and park as smoke free! As a Mama, I love this and think these signs should be at every park!
- We always feel very safe while we are spending time at the park. We see lots of staff (yes, this park has it’s own staff) and police officers monitoring the area. This park is located very near a public street, and while it isn’t a very busy street, there are cars that go by fairly regularly.
- Definitely bring your little one’s swim suit if you will be visiting in the summer. I let my son play in the splash park last summer and it was the perfect activity after he had been cooped up in the car for several hours. He had a blast!
- If you are in the mood for some ice cream after all that play time, there is a Cold Stone Creamery (and a local cupcake shop) about a block away from the park! Perfect!
Have you found a great restaurant, fun store, scenic location or other road trip stop that you think is neat and you think others would love? We would love to feature it for “On the Road Again!” Let us know in the comments below or at firstname.lastname@example.org!