Saturday, January 29, 2011

Baton Rouge's Extreme Sports Park

Betty and I took the kids to a newish skate park in Baton Rouge. The park is called the Extreme Sports Park, and it's located on the corner of Kenilsworth and Perkins.

It was amazing! Who knew that we even had anything like this?!

The last time I saw a skate park was almost ten years ago in Seattle, by the Space Needle. I remember thinking how great of an idea it was to have a skate park. It gives the young hooligans a place to practice, gets skateboarders off the sidewalk, and gives spectators a great place to see people fall and smash their faces in the pavement.

It's like the greatest idea for a park ever!

Our skate park has a handful of half pipes for skateboarders, bikers and for people who just want to see how far up the wall they can go while running at full speed. I didn't get a good picture of any of the half pipes because I didn't want to distract anyone and have them fall and possibly smash their faces to pieces. But I should have just taken some pics, because honestly, it seems inevitable that these skateboarder kids are going to break a few bones anyway.

There's enough room between the half pipes for people to skate around on, and there are also a couple of ramps, steps and rails in random places. People were doing tricks off of every imaginable surface, including other skateboarders.

[Picture: The skate park]

We couldn't let Annie just roam around the park, because skateboarders and bikers of all ages were flying by every second. And although I'm generally a nervous parent, I was nervous for a lot of other kids out there today!

Take this one five year-old on training wheels... he went up two ramps that had slopes on each side, so he could slowly pedal his way up the ramp and then just zip down the other side. But then he went up a large ramp with no down slope... so how did he get down? He fell, of course. But don't worry, his face broke his fall. (His mom was having a nice chat on her phone while her five year-old was attempting to Evil Knievel the skate park.) I'm sure the kid lost a couple of teeth.

Which leads me to an obvious point: I have to hand it to some of the people skating, as I wouldn't have had the guts to do some of the things these guys were doing. For starters, I don't think I could have even gone down into one of those half pipes. I would have just fallen and busted something. It just looked too dangerous.

That's why Pete and I stayed up top and did some 360s off the ramps in his stroller. EXTREME STROLLING!

[Picture: Pete's 360]

So I've been calling this place the "Skate Park," but in reality it was much more than just a park for skaters. There were all kinds of other stuff for kids of all ages! For example, there was a bike track (Betty says this is a velodrome because she's fancy)...

[Picture: Bike track!]

a rock wall (which opens at 1 PM every day, so we couldn't go)...

[Picture: Rock wall!]

and a huge play area for the kids!

[Picture: Kids play area]

The kids play area was awesome! Betty and I took turns playing with Annie, mostly because we both wanted to play on all the toys. I've always wanted to climb a rock wall, but since the rock wall at the park wasn't open while we were there, we had to settle for the "Hill Wall" in the kids' play area.

[Picture: Climbing the Hill Wall]

Some other cool things there: there were two speakers on opposite sides of the play area that you could talk into. Annie and Betty spoke on one side, while Pete and I listened on the other end. These things were great, because if you wanted a kid to get off a toy, you just had to talk through one of these speakers and pretend to be a ghost of the playground, and the kid usually got scared and ran away.

[Picture: Speaking thingy]

There was also a big net thing that Annie liked to climb. She called it a spider's web, and she pretended that she was a spider.

[Picture: The spider's web]

But our favorite thing was this little seat that went up and down a curved bar. It didn't have any handles on it so I'm not sure how a kid is supposed to ride it by him- or herself, so Betty and I got our exercise in running back and forth while holding Annie.

[Picture: The iron bar seat thingy]

Once were were sufficiently tired out, we needed some grub. Luckily, the Taco de Paco food truck was at the park today. I got the "Dat Foo" taco, which has pulled pork in it. It was an Extreme Sports Taco!

So... that was our day at the skate park! Thank you, Baton Rouge, for having such a cool place for my family to hang out for the day!

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