Local mom Andrea Beam reviews College Street Park in Simpsonville, SC. This small city park has a feature that you rarely see anymore — seesaws! For more park reviews see our Ultimate Guide to Parks in Greenville.
Until a few weeks ago, I had not heard of College Street Park. I had no idea what to expect. I googled the address and found that it was located in the middle of an older neighborhood in Simpsonville. “This won’t take long,” I thought to myself. How big could the park be?
The boys and I hopped in the van and headed down the road. I was impressed with Simpsonville’s Main Street, lined with small-town restaurants and shops. Our destination was only a few blocks off Main.
The park is pretty small, but there are several things I really liked about it.
What I loved about College Street Park
There is a basketball court. While this may not appeal to the younger crowd, it’s perfect if you have older kids who may have outgrown the monkey bars (or maybe you have a child like mine who just doesn’t like monkey bars). Obviously, you’d have to bring your own ball.
There are two blue see-saws. I was most excited about this! I can’t tell you the last time I saw one of these. In fact, I had to teach the kids how to use it because they had no idea what it was.
The grass is perfection. This may not be a big deal to anyone except me, but it was one of the first things I noticed when I got out of the car. The entire park is well manicured. It would be a beautiful spot for a picnic, but keep in mind there is very little shade.
In addition to the see-saws and basketball court, you’ll find swings, different types of monkey bars and a slide. College Street Park was a hit with the boys. The neighborhood was older and the playground isn’t fancy, but both had character and charm.
The equipment will get very hot on a sunny summer day, so we will make plans to return in the fall after the cooler weather rolls in.
Plan your own visit
321 West College Street, Simpsonville
Visit their website here.
Need a map? Here ya go!
Have you ever been to College Street Park?
College Stree Park is one of the parks in the 2017 Park Hop passport. To learn more about how you can earn prizes this summer by visiting local parks read our Ultimate Guide to Park Hop.
Meet Andrea Beam
Andrea Beam works for the Greenville County School System, but her passion is writing! Greenville has always been her home. Her family enjoys exploring everything the town has to offer. In addition to Kidding Around Greenville, she blogs at Sunshine & Rain.
Local mom Bethany Winston reviews the Reedy Creek Nature Center & Preserves as well as the surrounding Reedy Creek Park in Charlotte, NC. This free day-trip destination includes a treehouse-themed playground, hiking, and an indoor nature center.
Recently, my family discovered an amazing nature center and preserve about 6 miles northwest of downtown Charlotte: Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve located inside of the large Reedy Creek Park. This county owned park was completely free, including parking. While there might not be an admission fee, don’t make the mistake of thinking that means that this nature center is not worth the drive from Greenville.
Find a place to stay near Reedy Creek. This article contains Stay22 affiliate links.
Things to Do at Reedy Creek Nature Center & Preserves
Reedy Creek Park has three playgrounds that we discovered. The first playground was on our left almost immediately after entering the park. It’s a large playground with plenty of slides, ramps, and ladders. The play structures were not particularly high and I think even smaller children would enjoy it as long as they are comfortable climbing short ladders. There was little shade on this playground and it was hot on the day we visited so my kids chose not to play long, but it was a large, interesting playground and I’m sure would have been a completely different experience if we had visited earlier in the day or during a cooler season of the year.
Adjacent to the playground, we also found basketball courts and picnic shelters. There was also a rather large dog park on our right before we reached the playground.
Just a little bit farther up the road, we found the parking lot for the Reedy Creek Nature Center. This area of the park was wooded (quite a relief due to the heat).
Outside the Reedy Creek Nature Center, we found a second playground that felt like a hidden magical world tucked away in the forest. The playground included natural themed play structures such as artificial tree stumps and the main focal structure was a treehouse complete with a bridge. My kids played for a good hour on this playground and probably would have been content to spend the day on it.
Later in our day we drove up to the third playground which was beside a lake. This “playground” only had a couple swings and a volleyball court, but it was an easy walk down to a beautiful lake with a fishing pier. We saw several families picnicking and fishing in this area.
Reedy Creek Nature Center
The Nature Center was small but it was free and even better air conditioned. Inside the Nature Center, our children were able to look at animals and small science displays. We also found a quiet area for pretend play where our children could dress up as rangers and play in a pretend campsite. The room had a couple rocking chairs for adults too. It was very quiet on the day we visited and we had the spot to ourselves. Our kids had a lot of fun and didn’t want to leave even after a long play time.
After a long day of fun (we had already spent hours at Discovery Place in downtown Charlotte) our kids were too tired and hot for us to dare attempt sustained hiking, but the map showed several easy hikes on the preserve that we hope to try on another day. One hike lead to an historic site and was only an hour walk. The grounds also had butterfly gardens, bird feeders, streams, vast wooded areas, and lakes. We were able to obtain a free map from the Nature Center so that we could still take a short stroll. The trail system was clearly marked and it was possible to take both short walks along the trails and longer hikes.
Tips for Your Visit
If you visit on a hot day, be sure to pack sunscreen and bug spray. While the preserve does have a lot of shade, there are several open spaces with little shade.
Plan plenty of time if you want to get the full experience. The preserve alone is over 900 acres of woods. Fortunately, the park does have a decent road system and multiple parking lots, so you can drive to the parts of the park in this article if you are short on time or if your children are tired (like us).
Don’t forget your fishing supplies. The park has two fishing lakes. Visitors over 16 must have a fishing license.
The Nature Center has a gift shop for those who would like to purchase souvenirs.
Bikers will find plenty of bike-friendly areas but are limited to the gravel trails and paved roads.
Hummingbird Festival at Reedy Creek Nature Center
Each August, a hummingbird festival is held at the Reedy Creek Nature Center. It includes bird banding, science experiments, bird hikes, art vendors, and storytelling sessions. The front desk at the Nature Center recommended coming early to see the most hummingbirds.
About the Reedy Creek Nature Center & Preserve
2900 Rocky River Rd. Charlotte, NC 28215 980-314-1119
Let’s start with the playground. It has equipment well spread out. While the playground isn’t large, kids can swing, climb and slide without running into each other. Most of the play equipment seems to be geared toward preschool to early elementary-aged children. There is a large blue climbing area that my third-grader enjoyed climbing on. It will probably remind you of equipment you played on when you were little.
Right next to the playground is a small covered eating pavilion. It has a couple of picnic tables and loads of shade. It would be a great place to have lunch or enjoy a snack.
A large part of PD Terry City Park is made up of ball fields. There is a large baseball field just behind the playground. It would be a fun place to play baseball or kickball with your kids. I bet kids would love to run around the bases then sliding into home plate. Plus, that would be a great way for them to burn off energy.
There is also a group of tennis courts right next to the parking lot. If your children (or you!) enjoy playing tennis, you will want to bring some rackets and a few tennis balls with you. If they just like tossing tennis balls over nets and chasing them, you will just need to bring a few tennis balls.
There are few more things I love about this park. The first is that is it really clean and well kept! The second is that it is a few blocks from downtown Fountain Inn. It is so easy to explore the park and then walk down towards the main street to get an ice cream cone or visit the used book store.
Have you ever visited PD Terry City Park in Fountain Inn?
JDaniel4’s Mom is a former teacher who loves to explore Greenville with her preschool son J. Daniel, IV by learning, laughing, listening, and living. She writes about parenting, educational activities, and children’s books on her blog JDaniel4’s Mom. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter.
One of the very best things about Cleveland Park is that there is so much to do there. Kids of a variety of ages can visit the park and have wonderful experience. KAG Contributor, Deirdre, shares with you just a few of the fun ways to enjoy the park.
So much to do in Cleveland Park
The main playground area has three areas to play in. There is a covered climbing and area for young children. Connected ramps allow children to move from one section of the area to another. Some children will love just running from one end of the area to the other. Children can exit the ramps in various ways. My son loved slipping down one of the slides.
There is a second covered area much smaller than the one for young children that has a climbing structure for older children. My son like the seats hidden in the structure.
A set of swings, a climbing web, a modern merry go round, and a skateboard like structure are in between the two playgrounds .
For many of you this maybe all you have seen in Cleveland Park. There is still more to explore at Cleveland Park. Most of the other areas are a short walk away.
What you’ll find if you venture away from the main playgrounds
Just past the parking lot next to the younger children’s cover play area is a red caboose. The caboose is a great spot for pretend play or a snack break. It is also great place to sit and read a book about trains.
Maj. Anderson’s memorial F-86 Saber jet fighter plane is also in Cleveland Park. Kids of all ages will enjoy seeing the plane and hearing about the man who flew it.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a great place to stop and remember those who have served our country.
Yes, there is still more to explore. You will want to check out:
The Ramona Graham Fitness Trail is a great place to explore various exercises.
The Fernwood Nature Trail is a great place for kids to bird or animal watch.
Basketball, volleyball, tennis and softball enthusiast will want to check out the areas of the park dedicated to those sports. You may even want to introduce your children to a new sport!
Beyond the main playground area you will find other small play structure areas in the park. It is fun to drive or walk around the park to find them.
And, last but certainly not least, there is no better place than Cleveland Park to begin a bike ride. Or maybe even let you little one ride their bike while you go for a walk.
I hope you will take time to explore each of these fun and educational areas of Cleveland Park. Your children will truly enjoy getting to see more of this wonderful park.