Monday, June 22, 2015

Cooling down at Tyger River

The summer solstice was yesterday at 12:39pm, which means the days will start getting shorter. (It also means this week we’ll be celebrating Jāņi, the Latvian midsummer holiday, but more on that later – if you would like to catch up on the various aspects of this iconic Latvian holiday you can read my post Preparing for Jāņi.) Despite the solstice, we still have quite a bit of summer left here in the Upstate, and the high temperatures mean we are looking for cool activities to pass the time until our next big adventure. Usually this means we head indoors to the Children’s Museum of the Upstate or Upcountry History Museum, to a park with good shade and/or splash pad, or to a waterpark. A few weeks ago we ventured out to a park in Reidville, Tyger River Park, which fits the bill with its fantastic splash pad.

Part of the Spartanburg County Parks Department, this park is a little further from Greenville than we usually venture, a little over 30 minutes. However, it is easy to make it into a day trip as there are plenty of things to do! With 12 baseball fields and a championship stadium the park hosts state level baseball and softball tournaments, so you’ll often find teams practicing or games being played on your visit.

The nine acre play area is at the very center of the complex. We started out in the big kids playgrounds (for ages 5-12), but rotated through the giant sandbox, swings, spider web climber and little kids playground (ages 2-5). At one point the kids started up a game of football with a bunch of other kids in a grassy area, and in doing so discovered the tunnels. Through these giant tunnels visitors are led to a solar panel & interactive sundial area, and a turbine & wind chime play area. With educational signage, benches and landscaping these feel like separate parks, but you’re only a tunnel away from more places to explore!

In the center of the playground is a 60ft tower that is open when parks personnel are supervising, presumably on weekends? We didn’t get a chance to climb that, however we took advantage of the concessions stand being open to grab lunch. I had brought with food but as is often the case with three growing boys they ate everything on the car ride over.

Thankfully there were clouds in the sky most of the morning, and it wasn’t until after noon that the sun came out and started roasting us. What choice did we have but to head to the splash zone! Conveniently fenced with a non-slip surface, four different play zones aimed at different ages and benches for moms, this was a great spot to cool down and get that last energy out before heading home.

Tyger River also has shelters for rent, however picnic tables and restroom facilities are available for day use. For the concessions menu click here. My previous post on this park can be seen here.

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