A New Kind of Amusement Park

What’s making us happy this week?

Parks with the fancy toys (Ferris wheels, roller coasters, and skeet balls) and parks with the national stamp are fussed over. But within towns and cities are patches of green with their own amusements: city parks. When we visit a city, we head here to meet the locals.

Dive-in movies. You read that right. Take the “r” out of drive-in movies, and you have the main summer attraction at Grapeland Water Park. Float in the Captain’s Lagoon while watching G-rated flicks. On the flip side, old-timers sparring across chess and domino tables are the scene at Little Havana’s Maximo Gomez, with a mural painted by Dominican artist Oscar Thomas.

bg-grapeland_waterPhoto courtesy of Miami Parks and Rec

Bonsai bonanza. Within the expansive Lakeside Park (Lake Merritt is part of it) in Oakland is a tiny secret, as in miniature: a bonsai garden. Some rare specimens can be gaped at, like the historic Daimyo oak tree from 1863.

happy-parks-oakland-bonzai-1

Untouched by man (mostly). Within San Francisco are 1,100 areas of natural areas, much more rugged than your average park. But they do have trails, such as the one at Twin Peaks. Drive to the top for great views, and then walk less than a mile for even better ones of the entire Bay Area. Learn more here and here.

Twin PeaksPhoto by Dzhingarova via Flickr

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