MODESTO – “Dad – what are we going to do today?”
If you’re a parent you’ve heard it a thousand times. And odds are anything that you can think of has already sufficed to stave off this boredom at least a thousand times.
“Let’s go bowling!”
“Let’s go play laser tag!”
Eventually what is fun isn’t quite so much fun anymore, and something new will have to take the place of what all of the cool kids were at one time doing.
Fortunately, if you live or spend any amount of time in Modesto, there are plenty of refreshers that don’t necessarily have to break your bank roll just to entertain your children for a few hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Here are a few places worth checking out for what they have to offer:
• Dry Creek Regional Park – Traditionally, regional parks have something for everybody. If you’re a cyclist there are trails and if you’re a runner there are paths and if you like finding places to take the dogs that are different – they might not care but you could probably use a change of scenery – then you’re probably going to add this to your quiver of places to go when you feel like exploring.
It’s not quite of the size of other regional parks where you can get lost in it, but it does give plenty of options depending on what your mood happens to be. Taking the kids? There’s an area for that. Meeting the guys outside while the weather is still cooperative. Why not try a little bit of Frisbee golf while the kids enjoy themselves on the playground? It’s beautiful, well kept and will be somewhat rugged for the young adventurers. Bring your inner child and you’ll fit right in. Scenic Drive between Rose and El Vista.
• Graceada Park – San Francisco has Golden Gate Park. This is that for Modesto. No, really. And that’s not a low-rent joke – this is the preeminent park in Modesto for just about every major event thanks to the Mancini Bowl. During the summer months you have concerts in the park. But on just about any day of the week this Needham Ave. haunt is packed with families that are coming to take in the best of what Modesto has to offer. Want a playground. You’ll find that here. Want a cool atmosphere that can’t be matched with longtime Modesto residents coming out in droves to hear band music from an authentic, old-school bandstand? You’ve got that here too. Not enough good things can be said about this place. Why aren’t you there already? 401 Needham Ave.
• Freedom Park – Noticing a theme here? Modesto likes its parks. And this is a good example of what happens when the city turns a big slab of open space set aside in a new residential development into the kind of place that every kid in a 10-mile radius is going to want to ride their bike to during the summer. They don’t do that, fortunately – a leisurely stroll by here at night shows that its mostly families enjoying the playground equipment and covered patio. Birthday parties are quite popular. And with a playground that has the shock-absorbing rubber matting instead of messy sand or splinter-inducing bark, parents won’t have to worry about pouring a beach worth of sand out into the backyard when they get home because junior didn’t know how to pick up his feet. 3500 Sharon Ave.
• Stonehenge – The only thing on this list that isn’t free, this indoor rock climbing wall and gym caters to people of all abilities. Used to climb in college? Good. Clip in and show your little ones that you’ve still got it – if you do, in fact, still got it. Never seem all that drawn to the idea of climbing up the face of a mountain when a road can get you to the same spot? Well, this place is for you too. It’s a good little change from the standard birthday party destinations – laser tag and go karts, while still popular, are almost always crowded – and it’s something that your kids and their friends will be talking about for weeks on end when they return to school. 500 9th Street Suite L2.