I have been to plenty of parks in my day, but I have to say, this was one of the prettiest!
I recently took my girls to Wickham Park in Manchester. I've been looking for affordable, fun things for us to do outside and this seemed to fit the bill! Not only is it a short drive for us and easy to get to (right off I-84) , they have a playground, picnic areas and animals!
What I hadn't expected, was it to be quite so big and beautiful! The grounds were immaculate! Now, I know why so many people get married there. When we pulled in, we were greeted by a park ranger who handed us a map of the grounds. "Where do I start", I asked, "I've never been here." He suggested starting on the left, which featured the Aviary, Nature Center and one of their playgrounds.
I would guess the park isn't usually this busy during the school year, but we were there on the same day as a class field trip. (fine by me, kids for my daughters to play with!) We started with the Aviary and before we entered, we heard the chickens and sounds from another bird I couldn't yet identify. I think my face lit up just as much as my daughters did when we walked in! There was a huge turkey to the right! My girls just giggled looking at it. There were chickens and roosters, a red-tailed hawk, owls, ducks, but I have to say the highlight were the peacocks! My oldest and I have been reading about them, but to see just how big and beautiful and shiny their feathers were in person, was awesome! The males were very chatty with the lady peacocks, showcasing their gorgeous feather spread! I couldn't take my eyes off them!
Ahead, we spotted the swings and slide, so it was off to the playground. Bonus: if you go on a hot day, it's mostly shaded! The girls ran around for a bit before we had a snack on the grass. Then we explored the Nature Center. Inside, they had all kinds of information about wild animals along with the stuffed versions so kids could see a black bear, skunk and coyote up close. Also key for parents, they had a bathroom right next to all these attractions for those last minute potty runs! (it's the little things, right?!) We didn't even get to the sensory garden, so I can't wait to go back!
Wickham Park is open from April to October. It'll cost you $4 to get in on the weekdays, $5 on the weekend! Well worth it, in my opinion!