Piedmont Park and Hike
Piedmont Park will always be one of my favorite parks to visit. Besides the nostalgia of getting married there a couple of years ago, it makes me feel like I am tucked away in nature while still being in the city. Of course it pulls on my little heart strings to reminisce about our wedding day a few July's ago, but I also just love this park because of the sheer beauty of the grounds. Everything you would want for a family park trip is available here and is dog friendly as well so you can bring your furry family companion with you too.
The park is pretty close to the Grand Lake area and you can easily pick up some food to take for a picnic at the park. The park has green grassy rolling lawns that are perfect for plopping down and eating on, sun bathing, playing a game of tag, or playing fetch with your dog. What my oldest daughter likes to do best is to roll down the grassy hills, she doesn't go that fast but it is still thrilling for her.
The playground itself has all of the usual kid accommodations that are needed to engage your children. What I like to call the playground 4 S's: Structure, Slide, Sand, and Swings. If the park has those 4 S's your children are sure to have a good time at it. On top of that the playground is surrounded by trees, foliage, and the grand rushing fountain where your children can dip their toes or throw a penny in to make a wish. The trees provide shade for lounging parents and excitable kids on warm days. There is a semi-decent bathroom that is always open near the playground too. My pet peeve is going to playgrounds and your kid has to use the bathroom (I have to pee now!), and you get to it and the bathroom is locked. That has never been the case here.
Behind the playground there is a stairway down to the hiking forest. There are several different paths that wind through the tree laden trails, that all pretty much lead to the same place. There are waterfalls and beautiful sites to be hold along the way. This area is dog friendly and you can walk your furry friend off-leash as long as they are well behaved and under voice control. The trails vary in difficulty in terms of steepness but my one year old daughter navigated them all with ease so they are not really that hard! However I do not recommend bringing a stroller to aide you with your little one. We saw a couple with their baby, heaving their stroller up a flight of steep stairs. It reminded me that one time I did this because I knew the path was paved and highly regretted my decision as there are steep hills and random flights of stairs. It was much easier to just keep a watchful on on our little one as she climbed the steps and pick her up as needed.
The rest of the grounds of Piedmont Park are beautifully landscaped. There is a Japanese Tea house in the upper right wing of the park surrounded by fragrant flowers. You really feel like you are in nature while never leaving the city. Piedmont Park is a great place to have a fun family day out...or a wedding, lol.