It’s early Thursday afternoon. Schools are still in session.
While many of Manteca’s neighborhood parks are quiet at this time with nary a hum or shout from a single soul, the Family City’s largest community park is a hubbub of kids’ voices in the playground equipment, of lazy conversations among adults keeping watch over babies in the covered picnic area, their controlled whispers punctuated by the rhythmic thumping of a basketball hitting the backboard of the hoop basket and the high-pitched squeals of pedal-pushing young children.
Welcome to Woodward Park, south of the Highway 120 Bypass.
But while it’s the biggest at 52 acres, and arguably the busiest if not the most popular recreation destination for both young ones and young once, Woodward Park can’t lay claim to being the “best with the mostest” play attractions. It does feature the largest playground area around. The other two of Manteca’s three community parks – i.e., Northgate and Lincoln – boast attractions that make each of them unique.
What Lincoln Park lacks in acreage, the Powers Avenue park south of East Yosemite Avenue can boast of something that neither of the other community parks can – a swimming pool. This water feature attracts more than its share of park visitors in the summer when the valley is sizzling in triple-degree heat. Besides the main pool, there is also a wading pool for young children.
If softball is your game, the community park to go to is Northgate, which features a softball complex. Like Woodward, it also features lighted soccer fields.
All three large community parks have group picnic areas complete with tables, benches and barbecue pits.
The jewel among parks in and around Manteca’s downtown district can be found in the Library Park. What sets it off among the rest are the following attractions: an interactive water play area that becomes a cooling-off Mecca for young ones during the hot summer months when the mercury goes past the century mark, state-of-the-art playground equipment, and a new gazebo stage that comes complete with 75-seat amphitheatre-style seating that has been the venue for rising local talents. The expanded park also has a special attraction that is unique from parks in the city. Here, you can enjoy a quiet time on one of the park benches while feasting your eyes on the murals that grace the walls that border this north side of the park.
Manteca has a park for BMX enthusiasts, too. This one is located in the Spreckels Recreation Park located just off the Tidewater Bikeway on the corner of Moffat Boulevard and Spreckels Avenue. Unless there is a sanctioned BMX race going on, this park is open to the public from sunrise to sundown. Check out the BMX races on tap by visiting www.facebook/pages/Andersons-209-BMX-Spreckels-Park.
Community park features are available to rent. For details, or to check out operation days at the Lincoln Park pool, or any information on the city’s recreation programs, visit www.ci.manteca.ca.us/parks/ or call (209) 456-8600.