Friday, July 2, 2010

Hidden Treasures (shamelessly pic heavy)

I have always lived in the Capital District of upstate New York.  You'd think in the 34 years that I've been here, I'd have seen everything there is to see.  Yep, I thought so too :) 

Last week, Jeff had an idea to visit Central Park in Schenectady.  He told me it had a disc golf course (his favorite sport), picnic areas, playgrounds.....and a botanical garden.  It sounded like the makings of a great day out with the family, so we made it happen.

Last Saturday, we packed a small picnic lunch (just some sandwiches, chips, drinks, and potato salad) and headed out.  Honestly, I wasn't really expecting anything worth writing about.  As I was growing up, Schenectady always had a reputation for being an undesirable place (I'm sure they probably feel the same way about their neighboring cities...) and the idea that there could be anything that cool out there just seemed ridiculous. 

Boy was I wrong.

The park is HUGE.  You can easily get lost in there and at first we had a bit of difficulty finding our way around.  But we did end up finding the playground and some picnic areas.  The park has a gorgeous, very modern playground.  It's fenced in and it even has a special area for kids 2-5 years old.  The best part was that it was smoke free.  I've never been to a park with a no-smoking area but I was glad to see it.

Now the park also has a downtrodden playground that's probably older than I am.  The new playground was meticulously maintained while the older play area was littered with papers and broken glass.  The equipment also looked especially tired and rickety.  The kids played there a short time but we kept a close eye on them.  This is the only thing about this park that I didn't like--I mean, why wouldn't you keep that area nice too???  Or better yet, remove the dangerous stuff and make that part as nice as the other playground?

Jeff didn't get to play the entire disc golf course but he told me that he enjoyed what he did play and he's eager to plan another trip out there to play the course in it's entirety.

While Jeff was golfing, Alex and I enjoyed watching the kids have a blast on the playground.  Even Nathan, who's usually in 'I'm too cool to interact with my siblings' mode had a great time chasing the younger kids around.

 But the best part of all was the Rose Garden.  Simply Beautiful!! I had no idea that something so lovely existed here practically in our own backyard. 

Check it out for yourselves:

(Addy took this one herself and I thought it was too cute.  The other kids weren't in the mood for posing at the garden)

How about you guys.....have you discovered any 'hidden treasures' where you live?

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