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Fun Town for kids plus zoo, Japanese garden & more

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Deepak Kumar and his daughter Seren clutch the restraints of Fun Town’s small rollercoaster.


POSTED June 2, 2012 2:08 a.m.

Deepak Kumar is happy with the park that he has in his backyard.

While the mercury was soaring past 90 degrees for the first time in weeks, the Lodi father was happily leading his daughter Seren by the hand around Micke Grove Regional Park’s Fun Town – taking in the handful of rides that the exuberant young soul wanted to tackle.

It’s a great place, he says, to come and unwind. And it’s a great place to come spend time with those he cares about.

“It’s nice and quiet and it’s very family oriented,” said Kumar – who makes trips out to Micke Grove every month or so. “You don’t find a lot of the problems that you do at some other parks. It’s peaceful and it’s a good place to enjoy with family.

“It’s one of the places that we really like to come and hang out.”

And he’s not alone.

In the park’s newer section, Christiano Seliz watched a handful of kids from his neighborhood splash around inside of the interactive water feature while he grabbed some rays in a nearby lawn chair.

The $5 entry fee makes the trip surprisingly affordable and provides hours of entertainment, he says, that you just can’t find in the front yard.

“When I was a kid we used to run through the sprinklers and that was a treat,” Seliz said. “We didn’t have anything like this and now that we do this is all that the kids want to play with. It’s nice to come out here though – it’s quiet. It’s a nice place to have here right in our backyard.”

Other attractions that routinely draw visitors from throughout the area include:

• The Micke Grove Zoo – For the last 55 years residents have flocked to the affordable and awe-inspiring local gem that boasts habitat for spider monkeys, snow leopards, a mountain lion and a bald eagle. More than 150 species are on display – making the zoo a destination for schoolchildren from throughout San Joaquin County – and rotating exhibits change annually.

• The Japanese Garden – This three-acre site – a popular wedding destination – boasts a tea house, an angled bridge and a koi pond. Three separate religions are expressed in the makeup of the unique attraction – Shintoism, Buddhism and Taoism – and a handful of traditional Japanese plants like cherry blossoms and lotus flowers are included in the makeup.

• Fun Town – No longer do you have to wait for the carnival to come around to enjoy the rides with your family. A handful of popular attractions – a carousel, a small roller coaster, a train – are available throughout the year in a family-oriented setting. Tucked off by the side of the zoo and back in the corner of the original park, large oak trees grow over the area and provide a natural canopy.  Tickets are needed for the rides and help pay for the ride upkeep.

• Covered Picnic Grounds – A handful of spots throughout the park are perfect for big family gatherings, barbecues or parties – whether it’s taking in a holiday weekend with the family or celebrating the birthday of a youngster. Spaces exist in the older section of the park – beneath the canopy of old oak trees – and in the newly expanded section near the interactive water feature and the three-acre Wortley Lake.



209 staff reporter

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