Because we have failed to follow our pediatrician’s sleep recommendations for three out of our three children, I wound up driving from our home to Bondville — located a few minutes west of Champaign — a month or so ago in an attempt to get our youngest to fall asleep in his car seat. While winding through the small town, I spotted something I’d never seen in any of our previous snooze cruises: a large park with a nice mix of amenities.
Later I brought the family there for a picnic en route to an afternoon of splashing in the beach at Clinton Lake. On the edge of the playground — which has a nice mix of older and newer equipment — is a small pavilion perfect for sheltering a family or two. The park grounds also contain a horseshoe pit, a basketball court with four hoops, a sand volleyball area, a spot that looked like it once housed a baseball/softball diamond, and a cinder walking/jogging track which encircled the whole area. There were plenty of mature trees in the area, which provided ample shade and should make for fun leaf collecting in a few months.
The playground area seemed well-maintained; the rest of the amenities were less well-attended. The volleyball court was minus a net, and the ballpark, basketball courts, and horseshoe pit had clearly fallen out of regular use.
Still, I thought the park was charming. I enjoyed the thought of the Bondville city planners dedicating that large of a space to that purpose. It also reminded me of other parks I’ve visited in towns which have a lot of heart if not an enormous park district budget; they tend to have a little more personality than the ones with immaculate facilities and equipment.
If you’re feeling like you’ve wrung as much fun as you can out of your family’s favorite parks, I recommend packing a lunch and maybe some horseshoes and hitting Bondville City Park for an afternoon of fun.