Just Kidding: Plenty of parks on central peninsula

As daylight lengthens, so does the chance to spend more time outdoors. The lands developed around the Kenai Peninsula Borough provide space and services for family and community recreation. Parks provide excellent spaces to for meeting other community members, and simply having some fun.

Here is a look into some of what the area has to offer for parents who want to show their kids everything outdoors.

The North Peninsula Recreation Service Area has outdoor recreational activities suited for families whose members have a variety of personal interests. The Nikiski Community Recreation Center and Nikiski Pool on Poolside Avenue have indoor swimming, trails, picnic areas with barbecue pits, and a community playground.

For the younger athletes, the Nikiski Community Recreation Center has a large playground and a neighboring skateboard park.

Entrances to three easy community trails, Mt. Iliamna Loop, Mt. Spurr Loop and Mt. Redoubt Loop, as well as an 18-hole disc golf course can be found behind the Nikiski Pool and the Hockey Rink. The trails have various picnic shelters and fitness stations set up throughout.

The Chinook Loop, Sockeye Loop and Cohoe Loop may be accessed at Nikiski High School. Trail distances range between .5 and 1.34 miles.

For more information visit NPRSA’s website at northpenrec.com.

The Kenai Parks and Recreation department has interactive opportunities for groups of all ages to get involved in their beautification projects across the city.

The Kenai Strip Park has a community garden, which includes plots designed for younger gardeners, who may receive assistance from High School age volunteers.

The Kenai Park Strip has something for almost every age group, and outdoor interest.

A covered shelter houses four small grills for barbecues, with tables and electricity available. Kids can explore a playground structure, while older siblings compete on the sanded volleyball court.

Municipal Park has everything from a large, recently updated playground area, to a basketball court, and handicap accessible trails and picnic site are readily available for families interested in outdoor activities.

For a chance to run into some local fauna, the Kenai Wildlife Viewing Area has a short boardwalk leading to a wide view over the flats beside the mouth of the Kenai River that regularly see a diverse population of shorebirds, which can be viewed through an telescope.

For more information on what services each park provides visit the website at ci.kenai.ak.us/parks_recreation.html.

Soldotna has more than ten parks that provide families great locations for a quick trip complete with picnics and playground adventures at Soldotna Creek and Farnsworth, to overnight campouts at Centennial Park and Swiftwater Park.

Centennial Park, Swiftwater Park, Rotary Park and Soldotna Creek Park offer access to the Kenai River.

Soldotna Creek has pavilions that can be rented out for special occasions.

For families looking for a quieter experience, Farnsworth Park and Riverview Park are smaller and fit only a few families. Sunrise Park, Farnsworth Park, and Soldotna Creek Park have open fields with enough space to send the dog and kids running around for a few hours.

For more information on what services are provided in each park, visit the Soldotna Parks and Recreation Department page at soldotna.org.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

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