It was getting late on Christmas day and we had been inside all day playing with our new toys and eating food when we decided that it was time we got out of the house. So, we headed to Handley Park around 5pm just long enough to be there for a few hours and play in the last rays of the day. We have driven by the park a few times, as our nature-based preschool is located just around the corner and decided it was about time we have it a visit. As usual, the kids ran screaming to the playground and the 7-year-old jumped out and got his new remote controlled car situated and ready to take off around the park.
After being there for a few minutes, the 4-year-old came running up to me about getting trash, but I couldn't understand her as she was not speaking in complete sentences. She then kept stating that I said we would get trash and was pointing to the van, and it clicked that we almost forgot again to pick up trash at the park. But we did not forget to put the bucket and grabbers in the trunk. So she and I proceeded to the van to get the bucket and spent the majority of our time at the park walking around collecting trash. The 15-year-old and other 3 younger kids hung out with dad at the playground and taking turns on the merry-go-round. As we picked up trash, she was super proud of herself for finding all this trash to help the animals and nature. On our trash pick-up journey, we found a large puddle in a drainage creek, a magical field of dandelions gone to seed, and a lucky baseball in the baseball field. She ran all over the place darting from trash to trash like a ping pong ball to announce her find to me to make sure I got the latest trash piece. She kept asking me why people keep throwing trash on the ground in confusion. We later joined up with the others and the 7 and 9-year-old did a 5-minute trash challenge where they attempted to pick up as much trash as they could in 5 minutes.
The 9-year-old in her always-creative-manner, made up a game with the baseball and the merry go round as the 15-year-old took advantage of the days last rays and sat on a bench and read a book. After it was too dark to see, and the kids began to realize they were hungry, we said goodbye to the park and got loaded up in the van.
At the park, there were a few jungle gyms. One area of the park looked newer than the other. I liked the newer jungle gym but liked the sand and gravel ground around the old jungle gym as my kids love to dig around in the dirt. The older pavilion was also more charming than the one in the newer section. When we were there, they were working on some additions and improvements on the community center which was nice to see. I am glad that the city has allocated some resources to the improvements of its recreation centers and areas. Two neat features at the park were the 3-tiered water fountain for the taller and shorter humans and our four-legged friends. They also had a trash compacter in the older section of the park. Sprinkled throughout the park were a few isolated benches with grills. The park is divided by a road. The top half of the park is an open field, playgrounds, pavilions, community center, and a baseball field. The bottom half of the field is a football stadium. There is a right-of-way under power line on the western side of the park.
Nature: Most of the park is sterile grass field that is kept short. There are some older trees that are growing out in the grass for a Savannah type habitat. I was surprised to see some pine trees growing at the park. I was walking around with my head down looking for trash when I spotted a pine cone and I stared at it for a moment. Then I was like wow, there must be a pine tree nearby. I looked up and there it was. Being from South Carolina, I see them everywhere and have missed seeing them out here in northern Texas. Along with the pine trees you see growing, there are plenty of oaks and you can see throughout the park that they have planted several younger trees. It would be great if they could also avoid planting the invasive nandina plant that I found in one of their garden beds. On the eBird list it looks like over 25 different species of birds have been identified at the park and around 20 species of plants and animals have been identified on iNaturalist. While I was there, I was able to see two killdeers in the baseball field and a hawk flew over and out before I could ID it. One thing that my daughter and I did enjoy seeing was the field of dandelions that had all gone to seed. It looked very magical.
Address: 6201 Beaty Street, Fort Worth, TX 76112
Latitude: 32.740805 Longitude: -97.341536
Trails: There are no trails at the park, but if you walked around the perimeter of the top half of the park you could get in a little over .5 mile.
Acreage: 15 acres
Amenities: Covered pavilions with tables and grills. A few isolated tables with grills. 2 Playgrounds. Lake. Paths. Basketball goal. Community Center.
Parking: As the park is located next to a community center, there is plenty of parking for visitors. You can also park along side the road.
Playground Details: There is a large jungle gym and a smaller older one. There are slides, swings, and a merry go round.
Ideas of things to do: Wheel chair accessible parking, kick ball, BBQ, picnic, half-court basketball, flying a kite, explore, and attend community center programs.
History: The park was established in 1948.
Future: As of 2018, they were in the process of expanding the community center and improvements will be made to the parking lot and park roadway. Construction is expected to be complete at the end of January 2019.
Restrooms: There is no outdoor restroom facility. However, since it is adjacent to the community center, they do allow park visitors to use the restrooms inside when they are open.