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.
This park was the very first of this kind that we have been to. The neat thing that I have learned as I read up on this park was that it is the first inclusive park in the nation. How cool is it that it started right here in our own backyard? This playground was named as a National Demonstration Site for meeting best practices for inclusive playgrounds by Playcore. When we first got there the kids, as well as us adults, were amazed by the size and features of this park.
So many times we will pull up to a park and at first glance I think I have the place figured out and that it will be a quick in and out for us. But as it usually goes, I get surprised by my family and myself when we chose to purposefully explore, observe, and notice the small and boring looking aspects of a park. These usually turn into the most memorable moments at the parks. When we first arrived, the kids automatically headed to the jungle gym yipping and hollering, “wow” with my husband following behind to watch after them. As they headed to the jungle gym, I headed towards the lake and to explore the other features of the park.
The thing I love about Candleridge Park is that it is a linear park (longer than it is wide) and is not clumped together, but instead spreads out and winds itself into the neighborhood it belongs to, Wedgwood South. This 88-acre park has over six miles of tree lined paved trails that are mostly shaded. The trails are more or less in the shape of the letter “T” with a trail that is oriented east to west and one that splits off in the middle of that trail and heads south. The aspect I find charming is that adjacent to these trails you will find a creek that is riddled with ducks, geese, and mini waterfalls.
About ten years ago, I took a two-week trip to Denmark and was amazed by the amount of green and blue spaces the residents had access to within such proximity to their homes. I was even more amazed at how the families and their children were always outside playing or even napping no matter the weather. I remember when I went, it was around 50 degrees Fahrenheit outside and windy and I found it to be the most unbearable thing. That is when I was first introduced to the saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” And I must admit, the shoes and jacket I brought with me from the US were not proper attire as I did not know we would be walking and biking most of the trip, but I loved the saying and it stuck with me ever since. When I returned to the US, I remembered seeing articles about how Denmark had a great amount of green (nature) and blue (water) spaces for the people to enjoy and this was one of the reasons it was a great place to live. I really loved Denmark, but I could not live there, so I knew that when I finally settled in a city, I wanted to make sure that I lived in one with a wealth of green and blue spaces and that I took the time to visit these areas with my family, no matter the weather.
I'm Nicole and my goal is to help families and visitors of Fort Worth connect to nature and come to know and love Fort Worth's green and blue spaces. I invite you to join my family and I on this journey as we learn about the 270+ parks in and around our city.