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canoe2Last weekend, I had the pleasure of traveling down to the beautiful Riverview Park to capture some photos of Jefferson Memorial Forest’s Canoemobile Event, which offers free canoe rides for individuals and/or families. But before I could even get the camera out, I was once again enthralled by the beauty of this park. It’s a hidden oasis of 46+ acres running along the Ohio River in Southwest Jefferson County at the end of Greenwood Road. I must admit, Riverview Park is one of my favorite parks in the city. Why? This park is situated along the river bank, offering a quiet, picturesque view of the Ohio with a backdrop of lush landscape highlighted by crisp, green leaves with hints of blazing orange and red foliage amidst the rolling tree canopy.   It’s beautiful!

As I pulled out the camera, I rushed down to the water to capture a couple of families arriving back to the dock after their paddling experience; the grandparents and their grandchildren, along with a father of two boys, all smiling ear to ear! For the children, this was their first paddling experience. Moments later, another canoe arrived filled with young ladies participating in a YMCA mentoring program from Southern Indiana. While still a little nervous, two of the participants told me that they had a blast! All admitted this was their first time canoeing, but it wouldn’t be their last.

That’s exactly what organizers wanted to hear. The purpose of the Canoemobile program is to introduce youngsters and families to canoeing and other outdoor activities, all aimed at promoting environmental education and stewardship and physical activity in the outdoors. The program is also part of larger urban outdoor initiative with the United States National Park Service, which is focused on introducing urban residents to the beauty of the outdoors.   The canoe rides, in partnership with the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA), launched from Shawnee Park on Friday, October 3, and Saturday, October 4 from Riverview Park. Despite the rainy and cold weather, more than 350 participants took part in the activity.

What I enjoyed most about this event was the family-fun atmosphere.   It was interesting to watch many of the participants quietly (often a little reluctantly) meander down to the canoe in the beginning, yet confidently exiting the boat laughing and reminiscing about their journey up/down river at the conclusion.   Sometimes it was the child/teen holding the hand of the parent/grandparent who was obviously the one nervous, and at other times it was vice versa. While I personally was unable to overcome my fear of water and participate, I was impressed by the number of people who were. Some even acknowledging they now could mark this off their “bucket list”.

Thanks to the welcoming and energetic staff of Jefferson Memorial Forest and Wilderness Canoe Adventures. They helped to make the event GREAT! See some of my pictures below…

 

 

   canoe3 canoe4 canoe5 canoe6 canoe7 canoe8 canoe9

Registration for Men’s 18 & Over Basketball League is open now through January 2, 2014.  First week of league play basketballbegins January 7. Games will be played on Tuesday evenings (6:30, 7:30, 8:30 & 9:30 pm) at Cyril Allgeier Community Center. Questions? Call the Athletics Office at (502) 456-8117.

Click here to register online.

Important Note:  Payment must be made in full at the time of registration in order to reserve your place for the season.  Register at the Athletics desk inside the Louisville Tennis Center located at 3783 Illinois Ave.  Louisville, KY 40213.

Searching for that perfect holiday gift or stocking stuffer this season? Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation has something for everyone on your list!

For Wilderness Lovers

The Welcome Center at Jefferson Memorial Forest carries wildlife guides, nature-themed jewelry, sweatshirts and caps. Gift cards are available for purchase too!

For the Golfer in Your Life

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Golf Discount Books are $25 and can save avid golfers hundreds of dollars over the next year

For the Artist

Gift certificates for art classes may be purchased in any amount, and used for a variety of lessons for adults and children. Painting, pottery, screenprinting, silversmithing, guitar and flute (and much more) are offered at our two arts centers.

For the Fitness Fanatic

A gift card to the Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center can be applied toward memberships, swimming lessons and more.

For the History Buff

Not only do historic homes Locust Grove and Riverside, the Farnsley-Moreman Landing have traditional holiday programs to attend, they also carry unique and sure-to-please gifts in their gift shops.

Why not make a donation in a loved one’s name? Any amount helps, and Metro Parks has several options to choose from: adopting mature trees or planting new ones, memorializing a park bench with a plaque, personalizing a brick at Riverside, the Farnsley-Moreman Landing, and naming seats at the Iroquois Amphitheater, which come with a certificate, plaque or engraving.

For more information on any of these items, visit metro-parks.org or call 502/456-8100.

jols ky 2The definition of “Spectacular” as defined by Merriam-Webster is:

spec·tac·u·lar
adjective \spek-ˈta-kyə-lər, spək-\
Causing wonder and admiration : very impressive

So, it is not untrue to say that Louisville’s Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular (JOLS) event is, in fact, spectacular! We are receiving a lot of comments on how much visitors are enjoying the event and amazed by not only how many carved pumpkins there are, but the quality of artistry and the experience as a whole.  Here is what some of our online critics are saying:

jols ky“We were just all very impressed by the handicraft of the artists of Passion for Pumpkins, Inc. They have 25 years of experience designing these luminary art galleries along any landscape, and they did a magnificent job of it at Iroquois Park.” –Louisville.com

 “I mean, you just can’t imagine what it’s like to stroll through the dark woods surrounded by so many glowing, intricately carved pumpkins. “ –Louisvillefamilyfun.net

There are numerous photos and videos floating around the web taken by JOLS visitors (we love that by the way!), but nothing can quite capture the experience as actually being there. There are just a few weeks left to come out and enjoy a truly unique fall event!

Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular ends November 2nd.

Ticket Information: http://www.jackolanternlouisville.com/tickets
Discount:   Monday – Wednesday, tickets are $10 after 10 p.m. Learn more.

The Iroquois Amphitheater ended its 75th Anniversary season with a BANG! Wonderful performances by the University of Louisville Big Band Jazz Ensemble and Justin Paul Lewis.  Attendees  celebrated with a cocktail hour, tour of the facility and dancing onstage. In a special moment to commemorate this anniversary; past and present performers, musicians, crew members, ushers, and patrons were invited to join us for a photograph on stage.

75th group

Click to enlarge/save image.

If you were unable to attend the 75th Anniversary event, we also unveiled a short film (25 min.) depicting the history of the Amphitheater and its impact on the community. Check it out!

By WALTER MUNDAY
Community Outreach Supervisor
E-mail Walter

A few weeks ago, I overheard a conversation between my brother-in-law and son regarding the importance of reading.   One of the things I heard him tell my son was “that reading allows anyone, regardless of cultural, economic, and/or social barriers, the opportunity to explore the world through their imagination.  It allows anyone to explore places that they’ll never visit, meet people that they’ll never see in person, and consume knowledge and understanding about cultures and history which they’ll otherwise never know.”

The same could beblog1 said about the summer camps that took place at our 12 community centers this summer.    The theme this year was “A Fantastic Voyage”, and each center had the flexibility in guiding its campers through local and/or world educational voyage.

For instance, Beechmont Community Center’s voyage traveled to South America where campers learned about the language, culture, history, political structure and more of countries like Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and more.  At the conclusion of the camp, campers performed in “A Fantastic Voyage High School Musical,” a performance for friends which highlighted what they’d learned throughout their voyage.

On the other hand, Baxter Community Center’s Voyage was a little closer to home.   Their voyage traveled to islands of Hawaii, and provided campers intimate details about the culture, history and natural elements of the land.   Campers wrote essays about the different islands, learned about native dances as well as leaned about volcanos.  Campers also created maracas as part of their art classes.

Southwick Community Center’s Voyage took advantage of our local history and cultural amenities like for example a trip to the Kentucky Derby Museum.   This voyage, led by Ronnie Dreistadt, the Education Curator at the museum, took campers on a historical voyage back to Europe and West Africa focusing on the beginning of Thoroughbred Horse racing.   It focused on President’s Washington and Jackson’s role in horse racing as well as the contributions of African Americans to sport oblog2f horse racing.

These voyages, in addition to the other programs offered like fitness, arts, and environmental education, highlighted each of our summer campers’ experience.  It provided many of them, who unfortunately haven’t even traveled much further than their own neighborhoods, an opportunity to learn what exists outside of their immediate area; outside of our country.  It challenges their imagination, and encourages them to dream.

Some of the additional featured activities included: Belle of Louisville Cruise, Youth Health Initiative Program, Reds Rookie Success League, Bike Sense program, trips and so much more.

Phillis Wheatley Elementary Students

Students at Phillis Wheatley raised $300 for their “Change for a Change” campaign benefiting the West Louisville Playground Initiative.

The Louisville Metro Parks Foundation (LMPF) and the DREAM Foundation are teaming up with Phillis Wheatley Elementary School to renovate the California Park playground.  Wheatley has very little green space, and it utilizes the public park’s playground as the school play area.  The renovation of the playground is part of the West Louisville Playground Initiative which is a fundraising effort by LMPF.

Thanks to a partnership with the DREAM Foundation, the new playground will be designed as an “inclusive playground”, which allows children in wheelchairs an opportunity to play on the equipment.  Instead of the traditional mulch, the surfacing is made of rubber and the equipment is designed with larger openings for wheelchair access.  If funding permits, another amenity may include a new sprayground.

The Phillis Wheatley Elementary community participated directly in the effort to renovate California Park by asking folks to donate “change for a change”.  Students were given Ziploc bags to take home with a letter encouraging parents to ask family, friends and neighbors to donate their change to go toward the California Park renovations.  Through their efforts they were able to collect just over $300 just by asking for pennies, nickels and dimes. Phillis Wheatley Elementary Students

It goes without saying that playgrounds are important.  For some kids, the playground offers their only opportunity for exercise throughout the day.  In an article written by author Nikke Maidment, she clearly identifies the importance of playgrounds.  Maidment  said, “From the earliest age, it is essential for children to engage in child play and interact with others.  Psychologists have found it to be vital in child development as well as allowing them to interact and learn fundamental social skills.  Playgrounds provide a venue for children to explore their environment, test boundaries and develop an imagination.  It also provides them a chance to build self-esteem and confidence, which is key in order for them to reach their full potential later in life.”

How can you help?
Make a donation of any amount! Make checks payable to the “Louisville Metro Parks Foundation” and mail to:

Post Office Box 37280
Louisville, Kentucky 40233-7280

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