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Rec havens abound in Manteca, Lathrop
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MANTECA – There’s Pixie Woods in Stockton and Micke Grove in Lodi – places that offer plenty of attractions and recreational facilities for the young.

But lacking any of that in Manteca and Lathrop, there are still more than a handful kid-friendly opportunities available in the Family City and its neighbor to the west that offer endless fun. Best of all, these places can be accessed free of charge, no admission fee at the gate required.

Here are some of the list of kids’ recreational havens found in both cities.

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Kids’ recreational havens in Manteca

•  Library Park in downtown Manteca between West Center Street and West Yosemite Avenue. With the expansion and beautification project that the city poured into this popular park located in the heart of Manteca’s business district, there are more attractions than ever which cater to children. There’s the interactive water play feature, for one thing, which is arguably the biggest draw at the park especially during the summer season when the valley sizzles in triple-digit temperatures. Tiring of the wet entertainment, children can wander on to the playground where they can spend hours of fun playing at the domed jungle gym and slides. One big bonus, once they get done playing, parents can bring their children to the library to take part in children’s activities and programs, plus check out the many children’s books, movies and CDs available. No fee, just a library card required.

• Woodward Park – There is no shortage of space to have plenty of fun at this 52-acre community park offering plenty of places to play ball on the lush grass or shoot the hoops at the baseball court located next to a shaded pavilion. Children can also ride their bike around the concrete walkways around the park, a favorite activity among grandparents and their grandchildren, or young families.

• Lincoln Park on South Powers Avenue, on the south side of East Yosemite Avenue offers plenty of youth baseball fields, a public swimming pool that includes a wading area and picnic areas where families can get together with their young ones and eat alfresco.

• All of the  Family City’s 54 public and neighborhood parks actually has something to offer for kids and kids-at-heart residents in the form of playground equipment, grassy areas to playfully gambol on, and picnic areas where children can spend quality time together with family members and friends.

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Lathrop’s kid-friendly public facilities

• Manuel Valverde Park on Fifth Street in historic Old Town Lathrop has, for decades, offered a host of kid-friendly features. Over the years, the city has invested money and manpower to expand these attractions to provide the best state-of-the-art playground equipment for its young visitors. Among these recent addition are a large circular interactive water feature, basketball courts, playground equipment for the very young ones, baseball fields, meandering walkways, plenty of grassy areas to soak up the sun during play, and a covered picnic area.

• Mossdale Community Park is west Lathrop’s answer to Valverde Park. It’s just as spacious, with the added bonus of being located next to the San Joaquin River with only a levee to separate them. In a few years, the park will be even more attractive when the young trees will reach their full maturity offering plenty of shady nooks for children to enjoy a picnic or barbecue event with their families, followed by some play time with friends. Arguably the biggest attraction for young visitors at this park is the interactive water feature located in the center of the park. The park is just a block to the west of City Hall on Towne Centre Drive west of Interstate 5.

• Generations Center, a facility located aptly just across from Lathrop High School, features attractions both inside and outside. Inside the nearly 10,000-square-foot building complex with a futuristic architectural design are areas where young visitors can take advantage of the Lathrop Branch Library. Outside, on the spacious grounds, are areas where the young can pursue a number of play activities. Arguably the biggest draw here is a skate park. Next to it is a climbing wall geared for energetic younger kids. Generations Center, located on Spartan Way, the link of Lathrop Rod west of Interstate 5, is the fulfillment of a dream that the city nurtured for years.