Megali - adjective, noun - adjective 1. great or big in Greek -noun 1.. A nickname derived from my first and middle names

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Playground Series: Black Hoof Park, Lenexa, KS

You know a park is doing it right when you say, "wow!" outloud and not just in your head. 

As we approached the park, Lake Lenxa came into view to the right and I definitely exclaimed, "wow!"  Since his seat is on the passenger side, Slim got the best vantage point and he was fascinated by the trees growing out of the water.  It reminded me of  where R proposed, both being less gloomy versions of Dagobah.

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Yeah, maybe it's a stretch. 

It's a lovely sight though, aside from the electrical towers and power lines.  Forgive these blurry, not so hot pictures because I took them as we were driving away out my window.  Don't worry - it was an empty road and I was going very, very slooooowly.  The picture above is the boat launch entrance.

Speaking of hot - our visit was at the end of April on a toasty afternoon.  Expect to see some sweaty, red-faced children!

Black Hoof Park is chock-full of experiences and things to do.  There are:
  • two separate playgrounds, one near the boat ramp (that we did not get to) and a second, larger play area away from the water
  • the larger play area has traditional playground structures, swings, a unique sandbox, and a nature play area and play stream similar to the one at Franklin Park.
  • a two mile trail around the lake, with offshoots that bring the system up to five miles.  Some of the trail is hard surface, some soft, and there is even a boardwalk.
  • fishing and non-motorized boating
  • wetlands, prairie, streamway, and forest preserve with outlooks to enjoy nature
  • a dam, that is described in the brochure as "uniting form and function, Lake Lenexa's dam and spillway merge engineering with art.  Using innovative and cutting-edge concrete and earthwork practices, the design is an artistic representation of water cycle that features fountains, sculptures, and cascading pools.  The pedestrian bridge above the spillway offers an exclusive view of the lake and its imaginative dam and spillway design."

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    Thanks again to Harrington Home Pro for their park ratings.  I don't think Black Hoof Park had completed the larger play area at the time of their review though, because it deserves so much more than a 7!

This play structure was a little lower than the second traditional structure, but I wouldn't call either of them super toddler oriented.  Curly has been an intrepid climber since long before two, so that is no longer a concern of mine.  But I wanted to point that out.

The only reason I would attribute this as the playground for the younger set is because of the two traditionals, it's the only equipped with baby swings.

Although you can't really see it here, but Curly's hair is growing in and you can start to see curls again!  Those are some Old Navy lady large sunglasses.  Actually, they're mine.  He's swift to remove socks and shoes so he can play in the sandbox.

Only, it's not a sandbox, so much as it it's a big sandfreeformshape.

Part of the path and a glimpse of the lake through the trees.

Friends joined us at the park and we even ran into other friends there unexpectedly.

Lots on which to climb, jump on and off, and swing.

This was the higher play structure, seemingly intended for older kids.

The swings declare it so.

Be still, my once upon a time lived in the Mushroom Capital of the World heart but these toadstools are adorable!

The nature play area had rock climbing.

And logs to balance on and climb over.

The play stream, which was not on, despite the temperature, was fun to trek.


There was what I think was a homeschool event going on at the shelter, otherwise I would have taken closer pictures.  I like how you can see the lake from on high. 

We have been warned by friends, who in turn were advised by the park ranger that rattlesnakes have been found nestled on the bottom of slides.  They move them when found, but as the brochure states, "if you encounter a Timber Rattlesnake or Copperhead, carefully move away" and contact animal control with any questions.

While we didn't make down to the water or to the see the dam, I want to share Virtual Tourist user basstbn's pictures:

You can also see his blog, Frank Thompson's Kansas Journeys for a post in which he agrees on the awesomeness of Black Hoof Park, as well as picture tours of many of the amazing things and places Kansas has to offer.

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