New parks and picnic foods– two of my favorite things!
Yesterday we spent almost four hours at LeBauer Park, a new playspace and community area in our town. I did not intend on spending a quarter of my kids’ waking hours there. In fact, my friend and I planned to meet in the morning in order to avoid the heat of the afternoon. But, I did pack a lunch, so maybe I knew a little that we would be hanging out a while.
We were so impressed with this park that I decided to switch up my posting schedule to share with my local readers just what you can find there, along with tips in making your trip a success.
If you’re not local to Greensboro, you may want to skip down to the bottom of the post. I don’t want to leave you out of all the fun, so I put together a list of picnic ideas. We almost always pack a picnic when we go to a park because it is so much easier to eat there, than it is to load everyone in the car, hot and tired, and put together a meal when we get home. I prefer loading everyone in the car, full and tired, and jumping right into quiet rest time at home.
The new park is in downtown Greensboro right next to the library, parking garage, Art Quest and cultural center. It’s also across the street from the Children’s Museum. Which basically means you could spend much longer than four hours there if you wanted and still not run out of things to do. Or you can keep visiting and trying new combinations of activities for a long time.
Even though there is soooo much to do around LeBauer Park, there is more than enough to do within the park without needing to venture out. Our four hours of play time were spent wholly in the park.
We met our friends in the parking garage and then went straight for the fenced in playspace. I was impressed with what the designers included– pieces and equipment you won’t find in most other public parks in GSO. There are several free standing hills and balls to climb on and a sensory wall when you first enter. The ground is a combination of squishy rubber and astro-turf. Clean and tumble-friendly, which isn’t always a priority (hello nature lovers here), but which is nice all the same for babies and toddlers.
Tip #1 :: Park in the parking garage for easy access to the park. Your first hour is free, after that it is $0.75/hour. Cash or debit is accepted.
Further in is a circular sandbox, a sloped rock-climbing wall, two slides, rope-pulls and more climbing equipment on the hill. In addition to these, there is a free-standing rock climbing structure, and a tilted spinning wheel that my kids loved.
Personally, I really appreciated the benches spaced out around the playspace. There are also trees which offer some shade now, but will be really nice in a few years.
Another important thing to mention are the family bathrooms (there are three) and water fountains inside the fenced in playspace. Really, as a mom of four small children, this park seems VERY accommodating!
Tip #2 :: Bring water bottles you can refill in the water fountains.
While my kids were playing in the sandbox (and I was resting on a shady hill nearby), I spotted a few older kids playing putt-putt just outside the playspace. As soon as they finished, I pitched the idea to my kids (because obviously leaving a sandbox has to be worth it) and we walked over there. They putted around a bit and then we snagged a table to have lunch.
Tip #3 :: Do not try to move the tables while your food is on them because they are not super sturdy. If you do, you may be the one eating the sandwich that fell on the ground, wincing a little every time you bite down on something gritty.
It was during lunch that my mind was blown by everything else this park has to offer. From where I sat, I could see ping-pong tables, a foosball table, corn hole games (there are 4), an Italian Ice stand, and (in a month’s time) a spray ground!
I hope you’re not bored yet. Because there’s more.
On the side of the park opposite from the ping-pong and putt-putt, is an outdoor eating area with two cafes, a large field which will double as a play area and an outdoor theater, a player piano, and a couple of comfy outdoor couches.
Tip #4 :: The couches are perfect for nursing moms. You can discreetly feed your babe while your kids play in the field or entertain you on the piano.
Hang with me a little longer.
There are also free concerts on Wednesday afternoons and outdoor movies on Friday nights.
Tip #5 :: Pin or save this picture to have easy access to the entertainment schedule at LeBauer Park.
My kids are already asking to go back, so I’m sure we will be there again soon. You’ll know it’s us because I’ll be wearing a baby, keeping track of the whereabouts of three other kids, and will look like I either need a shower or a nap. (Who am I kidding? I’ll probably need both).
So if you see us there, be sure to come say hi. We can chat while our kids climb the wall or play in the sandbox. We are almost sure to have a picnic lunch and you’re always welcome to join in.
If you want a few fresh ideas for what to pack, check out this list of 25 of our favorite picnic-able foods.
Tip #6 :: Pack a picnic (or at least a few filling snacks) and plan to stay a while!
25 Picnic-able Foods
These are some of our favorite picnic food ideas, but I would love to know yours too! Some of these are exclusive to picnics– “special occasion” foods we save for easy, fun, convenient meals we eat out of the house.
Of course, most of these things would be paired with other items on the lunch. Though, I am not sure my kids would object to a lunch of only cheese.
- Sandwiches made with homemade whole wheat bread. (I love Leigh Ann from Intentional By Grace’s idea to make PB&J’s ahead of time and freeze them for whenever they want them).
- Muffins. Carrot raisin and chocolate zucchini are some of our favorites.
- Babybel cheese. I buy these at Costco to have on hand only for picnics.
- Carrot & bell pepper sticks with homemade ranch.
- Chips and salsa.
- Pretzels and hummus or peanut butter.
- Fresh fruit. Apples, plums, clementines, and grapes are wonderful since they require no prep to eat them.
- Pudding cups. Making your own is easy and is a good way to reduce sugar.
- Yogurt parfaits. I have several little glass jars on hand because they are perfect for individual yogurt or pudding servings, as well as for dips.
- Popcorn. Plain or peanut butter popcorn for a more filling alternative.
- Quesadillas. The variations are limitless. Here are five fresh ideas.
- Tortilla roll-up with jam and cream cheese.
- Tuna pouch & crackers.
- Freezer burritos.
- Salads. Aimee from Simple Bites has a great post on make-ahead salads in a jar.
- Pasta salad. This Mediterrranean one looks delicious and we love this simple pasta salad with ham, feta, peas, cherry tomatoes and a sweet vinaigrette.
- Sweet broccoli salad.
- Hard boiled eggs.
- Soups kept warm in a thermos. Pack your favorite soup and a few reusable bowls. Need an idea for what to take? Here are seven easy soups perfect for lunches.
- Fresh bread & spreadable cheese. I love pimento and sometimes splurge on Wisconsin cheese. What’s your favorite?
- Salami & crackers.
- Chicken salad & croissants.
- Peanut butter & apple slice sandwiches.
- Ice cream! (Ice cream is totally a legit meal idea every once and a while).
Have you checked out LeBauer Park? What was your favorite part?
What did you eat at your last picnic?