Can we go out and play?
By Lynn Zahorik; photos courtesy of Brooke Skaley
With two little children to entertain, Brooke Skaley is always eager to get them outside to play. The Skaley family moved from Oklahoma to Castle Pines in July of last year. Since then, the lively family of four embark on outdoor adventures every chance they get.
They have spent many hours enjoying the four parks within the City of Castle Pines: Coyote Ridge Park, Elk Ridge Park, The Retreat Park, and Daniels Gate Park. Each park has lots of room to run and offers their own unique features. With 15 acres, Coyote Ridge is the largest park featuring baseball fields, a skate park and two basketball courts. Elk Ridge is a 12-acre park that has a turf field, fitness court and splash pad to enjoy. Retreat Park’s 5 acres include a walking trail and a large playground and picnic area with a barbecue grill. At 2 acres, Daniels Gate Park is the smallest of the community parks, featuring a shaded gazebo and a playground with infant and toddler swings.
With the arrival of spring, Brooke and her husband, Matt, are anxious to discover playgrounds, trails and parks in the surrounding communities. “I’m really looking forward to this spring and summer and seeing what the area has to offer,” said Brooke. “We have found Garden of the Gods, Eldorado Canyon State Park and Gross Reservoir to be great outings for families of all ages. My children love to look for rocks and are fascinated by rocks of all sizes, something we had very little of in Oklahoma!”
Exploring the nature of Colorado through local parks is an adventure. There is no shortage of fantastic outdoor opportunities to enjoy. Many are tucked within local neighborhoods and discovered through word-of-mouth. Two dynamic parks which are well worth experiencing are less than a half an hour from Castle Pines.
Westlands Park is located 15 minutes north on Interstate 25 in Greenwood Village. Tucked within a business district, this playground includes small and large climbing structures, sandboxes, swings, musical instruments and a treehouse. It is set amongst playing fields and alongside a trail for hiking and biking. To enter the park, adventurers can choose to walk down the cement steps or the more daring can choose to slide down the long sweeping slide. For hot summer days there’s a splash pad and plenty of shaded areas for a picnic lunch.
Belleview Park in Englewood is a favorite destination for families as it offers many different things to explore. The beautiful lush park is the setting for a small petting zoo and a miniature train which takes passengers around the park. The train and zoo are open from the end of May to the beginning of September. Many visitors enjoy wading and floating toy boats in the shallow creek which runs alongside the Big Dry Creek trail.
There are a myriad of recreation opportunities to investigate and explore within Colorado’s public parks. To learn more about Castle Pines parks, visit www.castlepinesco.gov; Douglas County parks, visit www.douglas.co.us/dcoutdoors/parks; and Castle Rock parks, visit crgov.com.