Parks & Recreation
Atlanta’s Most Peaceful Neighborhood Parks
By Alexa Martin
The metro area is filled with beautiful, expansive parks, fromCentennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta to sprawling Piedmont Park in Midtown. But it also has plenty of smaller spots for when you just want to spend an intimate afternoon playing catch with the kids or strolling through nature. With that in mind, we’ve spotlighted five neighborhood parks where you can enjoy great recreational amenities while taking a break from the everyday world.
Cobb Park And Kidscape Village
Smyrna’s 5.8-acre Cobb Park, located just west of the city’s downtown area, is one of the most popular spots in metro Atlanta among parents of small children, perfect for a morning or afternoon of fun-filled activity. The recently renovated Kidscape Village boasts swing sets, slides and a small train for the younger tykes, and a large playground with climbing structures and other diversions for slightly older kids. There’s also a baseball field that can be used for a variety of sports.
The park itself radiates a rustic, wooded feel, full of benches and shaded areas ideal for relaxing on a summer afternoon. This place can fill up fast, especially on weekends, so be prepared to share the space with other families.
This 4-acre park is the heart of Sandy Springs, a bustling city of more than 93,000 residents just north of Atlanta. Heritage Green serves as the city’s official gathering place, and is the home of the natural spring for which the town is named.
Heritage Green is also home to the Heritage Sandy Springs Museum, dedicated to preserving the area’s history. In addition to the permanent Sandy Springs: Land and People exhibit, the museum currently hosts The Civil War in Sandy Springs, which explores the Union occupation of the small farming community in 1864. The exhibit runs through April 1, 2015.
The Sandy Springs Society Entertainment Lawn is a terraced, 14,000-square-foot expanse of lush greenspace located within the park.
The Heritage Green serves as Sandy Springs’ official gathering place.lawn hosts as many as 1,000 people for concerts that take place on a semicircular stage. The annual “Concerts By the Springs” live music series stretches through September, with performances by Yacht Rock Revue on June 8, the Grains of Sand Band on July 13, the Highballs on Aug. 10, and Bogey and the Viceroy on Sept. 14. The lawn is also available for theatrical performances, weddings and other special events.
Town Center Park
Located at the intersection of Buford Highway and Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, this 10-acre park is known as “Suwanee’s front yard.” Visitors walk, jog and bicycle along a mile of paved surfaces dotted with interlinking pathways and sidewalks. They also enjoy sitting back on park benches to chat with friends or simply take in the beautiful scenery, which includes four garden areas and more than 200 maple, sycamore, oak and other trees.
Of particular interest to families is Big Splash, the largest interactive fountain in Gwinnett County. Adults and children splash and frolic among 43 jets that shoot up to 1,400 gallons of water per minute. The fountain is generally open seven days a week between April and October.
Town Center Park is Suwanee’s premier spot for special events, including Food Truck Fridays, Movies Under the Stars, the Arts in the Park festival and the annual Suwanee Day celebration. Among its amenities is a terraced amphitheater that can host up to 1,000 for outdoor concerts and other events. Upcoming events include the 2014 Dare to Dash 5K and Family Fun Day on June 14; Broadway in the Park, featuring performances of Cinderella and Spellbound, July 25-26; and an August Concert and Wing Festival, Aug. 16.
Historic Fourth Ward Park
Opened in 2011 in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, Historic Fourth Ward Park stands as a vibrant symbol of the area’s revitalization over the last decade. Designed as a focal point for the rapidly evolving community, this 17-acre park located near the Atlanta BeltLine—a multi-use trail designed to form a ring of parks and green spaces around the city—features a picturesque lake, rolling lawns and plenty of paved pathways for walking and biking.
Smaller visitors will enjoy the children’s playgrounds, with slides, swings, rock walls, climbing areas and other features. There’s also the Splash Pad, with jets of water streaming from the ground and overhead; this fountain area is open May 1 through Oct. 1. Additional features include an athletic field, an outdoor theater and a 15,000-square-foot public skate park.
Sims Lake Park
Since its opening in 2008, this moderately sized (62 acres) general-use park has become a major draw for nature lovers throughout Gwinnett County and beyond. Located just a few miles from downtown Suwanee, Sims Lake Park feels like a gorgeous preserve worlds away from city life. Dog owners walk with their furry friends while hikers and bikers enjoy the looping, 1.2-mile trail. And people from all walks of life, from families with children to seniors and young professionals, take in the beautiful view of the sparkling, 7-acre lake that gives the park its name.
A playground and picnic pavilion situated near the entrance offer kids a perfect spot to blow off some steam while the parents relax, and a pair of 2-acre meadows provide great opportunities for tossing a Frisbee or laying out in the sun. And an abundance of scenic backdrops attracts those who simply enjoy being surrounded by natural beauty.
For More Information
Cobb Park and Kidscape Village
Town Center Park
Historic Fourth Ward Park
Sims Lake Park