I am a fan of creative urban outdoor play areas. I found the mecca of one such structure in a city near and dear to my heart and my front door, Chattanooga. My husband and I took the kids to the zoo yesterday for some sad yet enjoyable animals-in-captivity fun. We both needed some recovery time after an unfortunate and very disturbing encounter at the Chimpanzee exhibit. I'll spare you the details but it involved poop, lots and lots of poop. We brought the kid's kites and decided to drive to a nearby park on the Tennessee River. We hadn't been in a while and the construction on the Tennessee Riverwalk, a 22-mile paved trail that runs along the river, had come a long way since our last visit. After some failed attempts at kite flying due to lack of wind, we decided to take a stroll. Just about a quarter mile from the park we saw a large grassy hill with lots of activity. We decided to take a closer look. The activity, as it turns out, was a bunch of kids with sleds hauling them up and then riding them down the hill. Some sleds were plastic, meant-for-that-purpose kind of sleds. Others were panels from large cardboard boxes that seemed to work just as well. My son was intrigued and desperate to give it a go.
We grabbed some cardboard from the communal pile and hit the top of the hill. My husband rode with my son the first time and then he wanted me to come. On that run a kindly stranger taking a break from sledding offered us the use of his fancy plastic sled. My son was thrilled. We tore down the hill with equal parts screams of fright (from me) and laughter (from my son). It was fun and I ended up going down a few more times. My son went down upwards of 25 times and made friends with several other sledders, including some tweens who will most likely star in their own Jackass-esque reality show in a few years. They were nice, though, and very entertaining to watch so I decided to withhold judgment on their death-defying antics and enjoy myself. My daughter was content to watch and have one close encounter with a mini-Johnny Knoxville. No harm was done so it was all good. Here's some pictures of the aptly named, Adventure Hill. That's me in the fourth picture waving like a fool: