Monday, June 23, 2014

The Swing Park- New & Improved!

NOTE:  There is newer information and more photos available for this park.  Click here to see them.

With all the rain we've had lately, I decided to stop by and see how the maintenance was coming on the Swing Park.  This is under Holton Street, and at the intersection of Water and Pearson Streets near Trocadero.  Some call it the Marsupial Bridge. I'm excited to report that a lot will be happening this week.

The marsupial bridge runs between Lakefront Brewery and Water Street near Trocadero

This is the only true all weather park we have where you can swing, hold flea markets, watch movies, and just hang out.  I've been there many times since it opened in 2012, as a project by a group called beintween.  If you've loved this park as much as I do, you can give them a shout out at their website and say thanks for their creativity.  I would imagine the concept will be copied in other cities as soon as people know about it.  The group has been moving on to other projects, including the Artery, so if you have time, check out the photo section at their website for more information about what they're up to.  It's all unique and very exciting!

The problem with the original swing park was that the chains for the tire swings used were considered unsafe long term, so the city stepped in and did some major work.  This week, the gravel is replaced with shredded tire material which is strangely soft, but does tend to get stuck in your sandals, so you may have to shake out your shoes before leaving so you don't take it all away with you.  The benches are new and have lighting features.  The city electricians are ready to put in some additional lighting now.  There is one bench swing- large enough to swing the whole family.  By the end of the week, we may see the new swings as well!!!  A very welcome addition has also been a couple of portable toilets.  
shredded tire fills the park now

Bike-in Movie Nights are held here under the bridge.  The best way to keep up with news about that series is to like the Facebook page.  They already showed Jurassic Park, but you can look forward to The Great Outdoors on July 18.  Then there are still more in the season line-up: Inglorious Bastards August 15, A double header with Pippi Longstocking and A League of Their Own September 19, and Tremors October 10. 

Don't forget that this park is accessible to the Beerline so you can easily bike, hike or walk to it.  Also just across the bridge you see in the photo above is Lakefront Brewery, where you can also see the famous Three Stooges fermenting tanks, as listed at Roadside America.  If you're this close and haven't done the brewery tour or seen the Three Stooges, it's well worth a look.  Experience some of the coolest Milwaukee has to offer.

UPDATE- THE SWINGS ARE NOW HANGING.  COME HAVE SOME FUN!  The new swings have heavy duty seat and chains.  They are fun for adults as well as kids.  Make this your next date night destination, as it is lit!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Art in the Parks

If you like art or have a budding kid artist in the family, this is a great time to get them out in the parks to work with local artists.  The Artists Working in Education van is all set to go and they have a full schedule.  They visit parks during the day and at evening concerts.  This program is best for ages 4-14 and is not designed for large groups like daycares or summer camps.  This is a free drop in program where kids make paintings, masks, sculptures, and other fun projects to take home.  There will be multiple offerings every day from Monday through Friday, 1-4.  For a complete schedule of parks the vans visit, check this link. New this year, is an opportunity to do art during the concerts at various parks from 6-8, in conjunction with Milwaukee county parks free concerts and the Layton Boulevard West summer concert series.

For older kids, there's a satellite studio making collaborative public art.  This is also a drop in program from 1-4, Monday through Friday.  The skill level is greater as they tackle drumming, poetry, photography, screen printing, and many other art projects.  We're so lucky to have this program available for our older youth.

This weekend is the Lakefront Art Festival.  You can still buy advance tickets at $10 for adults, and kids 12 and under are free.  If you wait until the event, you can buy tickets at the gate for $17 adults or $25 for a 3 day pass.  This includes admission to the art museum where the current exhibit is all about Kandinsky.  There will be tents set up with face painting, a variety of art projects to take home, and jugglers.  This is always a great time!

Lynden Sculpture Garden offers Wednesdays in the Garden for parents/caregivers and children ages 4 & 5.  Cost is $10 for an adult and child.  These outings include a little nature, stories, and art.  This is a great place to inspire yourself or kids to appreciate art.  There are sculptures all over the grounds so you can seek them out while you get some exercise.

If you enjoy photography, Wehr Nature Center has a photography group, the Wehr Nature Center Camera Club.  They meet on the second Saturday of the month at the center from 9-11:30.  Follow their Facebook page for additional outings.

The Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park has an art show program that is ongoing which includes speakers and art displays.  This is geared more for adults and is sure to inspire you.

For adults who want to sketch or create art, Havenwoods State Forest has an adult workshop, called drawing in nature, on June 28, from 10-11:30.  You'll go out with a naturalist and draw something in nature.

Alice's Garden is another outdoor space that might inspire you.  They hold walks through the herb labyrinth, host drum circles, poetry readings, and are holding a photography exhibit July 25 from 5-9 as part of the Gallery Night.  The best place to learn about their events is to follow the Facebook page.

Surely something in this list of fun art has you motivated to go to a park and find the artist in you!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Foot Golf- a little bit of soccer on a golf course

We had a great time playing 9 holes of foot golf on Lincoln Park's golf course this weekend.  It costs $15 per person and you can bring your own soccer ball or rent one per person at $5 each.  Because there were 6 of us and we had younger kids, it took us about 2 hours.  We should really have done the entire 18 holes, because when you stop at 9, you're way on the other side of the course.  We rented a cart for about $10 and that kept the kids (ages 3 & 8) motivated to keep going.

Even if you've never played golf or soccer, you can learn to play foot golf.  Each player kicks the ball off a tee area that is marked with orange wedges.  You can normally see the orange flag that is your target, while you're standing at the tee.  It will have a number on it, and you go in numeric order.  There's a large hole/bucket where the flag is standing. A couple of holes were hidden in the trees so we had to scout it out with the golf cart first.  There's a par number for each of the holes just as in golf, but really only two of our players were even worried about keeping score, and both of them are soccer players.  The rest of us were just in it for the fun.  And the youngest two really just wanted to ride in the golf cart!

It can be a bit dangerous at times because you're sharing the golf course with golfers who are crossing paths with you.  It's easy for them to see a soccer ball coming at them, but it's more difficult for you to see a golf ball.  None of the golfers complained openly, but I can imagine a serious golfer would probably prefer to find another course on a Saturday afternoon, because I think it might get frustrating  with the mixed use of the course.

Omar teeing off while Landon tries to hijack the golf cart
There are 2 courses in Milwaukee county parks- Doyne and Lincoln Parks. In retrospect, we could have saved a lot of money and maybe had more fun if we had gone to Doyne.  It's supposed to be an easier course.  Lincoln Park was beautiful though.  The sun was shining.  Geese were coming from the river with their goslings.  Flowering trees were in full bloom.  I would imagine anyone could have some fun with the game.  Try it yourself soon!