Metro Parks Holiday Gift Guide

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.

Louisville’s Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular is “Spectacular”

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.

Iroquois Amphitheater 75th Anniversary Celebration

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!

Exploring the World through Metro Parks & Recreation’s Summer Camps

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.

LMPF & the Dream Foundation team up with Phillis Wheatley Elementary

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

Wheelchair Basketball: The Game is the Same

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Each spring, millions of Americans across the country are inundated with media coverage and water-cooler conversations about their predictions for the crowning of the year’s NCAA Basketball Champion. Basketball enthusiasts, and even those who are oblivious to the game leading up to March, are consumed with filling out tournament brackets, entering office pools, and making travel arrangements to see their favorite team(s) play.

Last week, right here in the city, I had the opportunity to watch, for the first time, competitive basketball played by men and women both young and seasoned. It was a very thrilling experience! Oh… I almost forgot to mention, they were all playing in wheelchairs. Yes… it was the 64th Annual National Wheelchair Basketball Association Championships drawing 85 teams and more than 1,000 athletes from all across the country. I was on assignment from Louisville Metro Parks’ Community Relations Division to take photos, and while I did, the mental pictures I captured left me wheel3totally amazed, as did my 12 year-old daughter who traveled with me out to HOOPS to watch the Junior Division games.

“I can’t believe these guys and girls can do all of that while sitting down in wheel chairs. It’s amazing!” said Spencer, my daughter.

I started the day out in the South Wing of the Kentucky Expo Center taking photos at the ceremonial celebrity wheelchair basketball game in which several media personalities and members of the mayor’s executive staff took to the court to play in wheelchairs alongside some Olympic and veteran wheelchair basketball athletes. Following those festivities, I moved over to watch some of the Championship and Division III games. Wow! It was just like watching basketball at any given park, school gym or recreation center. Players were blocking out on the boards, shooting three-point shots, dribbling the basketball down court, and blocking shots. While most of the rules were the same, some of them were a little different. For example, players get two pushes for every dribble down court, the players’ wheelchairs are also considered an extension of each their bodies, so fouls can be called for wheelchair contact.

What made the ‘game even more the same’ were the strategies and emotional displays of competitiveness during the time-outs, the smack-talking during and following the games, the expressions of exhilaration following good plays and victory as well as expressions of exasperation following bad calls, and defeat.

Later in the afternoon / early evening, I ventured out to HOOPS to watch some of the Junior Prep Division and Junior 10’ Division games. While there seemed to be less “smack-talking”, the games remained very competitive. Both Spencer and I gasped rather loudly when one of the players’ chair tumbled over awkwardly on a fast-break down court. The young man was totally okay, and we later could see that the tumble wheelchair1was less dramatic to those in the crowd than it was for Spencer and I. It was basketball!

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the level of competition, and the athletic ability of so many who have not allowed their disabilities to hinder their athletic possibilities. I was reminded of a quote by famed Major League Baseball coach Tommy Lasorda who said, “The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in a person’s determination.” Congrats to all of the determined basketball players who came to Louisville this year to compete in the National Wheelchair Basketball Championships.

by Walter R. Munday, Outreach Manager
Louisville Metro Parks

Celebrating 75 Years With the Iroquois Amphitheater

IA_75

By Mike Slaton
Iroquois Amphitheater General Manager

We are excited to celebrate 75 years of magic at the Iroquois Amphitheater!

The popular Coors Light Iroquois Amphitheater Summer Concert Series returns this year, with even more excitement than before. The season kicks off with hometown favorites Houndmouth on April 26th.

We’re looking forward to great shows from Brandi Carlile, Gregg Allman, Local Natives, Michael Franti, and more!

Pirates

Our summer musical is Gilbert & Sullivan’s beloved “The Pirates of Penzance,” running August 8-17. This production features some of Louisville’s finest performers and promises to be a fun-filled time for the whole family!

The Iroquois Amphitheater Presents series returns featuring, FREE performances all summer long. Highlights include The Monarchs, The Louisville Winds, U of L Dance Theater, Appalatin, and The Louisville Vocal Project. All performances are free, but donations are welcome to help support programming.

Speaking of support, did you know that starting this year you can Sponsor A Seat? For just $100, you can inscribe your name, or the name of a loved one, on a seat of your choosing, It’s a great way to show your support of quality programming at your Iroquois Amphitheater!

We’re also excited that Garrison Keillor is bringing his Prairie Home Companion’s Radio Romance Tour to the amphitheater on July 20. Get your tickets early, this promises to be a night to remember, and is sure to sell out!

And of course, we’ll keep showing great films this summer, with Movies Under the Stars on the second weekend of May through September, and  in June and July.

We hope to see you a lot this summer! Walk, drive, bike, or take a bus. We’ve expanded our menu options and our picnic area, so grab a hot dog, popcorn, beer or soda when you get here, and sit back and enjoy our 75th year of making magic under the stars!

PS. You’re invited to the Iroquois Amphitheater 75th Anniversary Celebration on September 22. Stay tuned for details!