Carle Park sits in the center of historic Urbana and is home to “Lincoln the Lawyer,” plus a beautiful playground
Carle Park is tucked away in a residential area, perfect for afternoon picnics, playtime, and a moment of serenity
Nestled right between Urbana High School to the east and the UIUC campus to the west sits Carle Park, over a century old and full of charm. With a playground, a tree walk, and lots of room to play soccer or sand volleyball, there are so many reasons to add this park to your must-visit list.
Carle Park sits on a large lot bounded by residential streets, just a block west of Race Street in Urbana’s historic district. Over 50 well-established trees provide ample shade, and there are both paved and unpaved walking paths to peruse. Landscaping rocks provide a few climbing opportunities for adventurous little ones. The playground is newer, well-kept, and has lots to offer for toddlers and older kids.
Climbing structures, a slide, and swings, plus a seesaw and some ride-on toys make up the toddler area, with a couple well-placed benches for caregivers. The 5-and-up area is close enough for parents to keep an eye on kids there, too, with a bigger play structure including slides, climbing blocks, and a huge rope web. There is also an old-school merry-go-round. This park is a favorite with big kids, but be assured, there are plenty of things for families with children of all ages to do.
The 11-acre park also boasts plenty of green space perfect for a game of tag, hide-n-seek, or simple frolicking. There is a soccer goal set up for practices and informal play, plus a sand volleyball area. The park’s historic pavilion stands guard over it all, and though you can’t go inside it, it certainly adds an air of majesty to the neighborhood park. This is also a prime C-U location for “leaf peeping” in the fall.
Tips for Parents
Caregivers should know that while there are water fountains at the park, there are no public restrooms. Parking is readily available on the streets bordering the park, and it’s free. The wood-mulched playground is not fenced in, but it is quite a bit away from the streets. Note that while this is a neighborhood park and therefore somewhat empty compared to some of our area’s larger and more visible parks, it is close to Urbana High School — we encountered some “big kids” on their lunch period during our visit (they were loud and playful, but very kind and conscious of the little ones!).
Is Carle Park good for toddlers?
Those toting around tots during the day should have Carle Park on their list of great parks to visit. There is a lot of equipment for little-kid play, and the big-kid equipment isn’t too tall or scary. Adventurous toddlers will love trying to climb on the rope web! While sunscreen is always recommended, there is a lot of shade at Carle Park.
What other amenities are at Carle Park?
Other amenities at Clark Park include a sand volleyball court, a soccer goal, open green space, the historic pavilion and sculpture, and the Hickman Tree Walk.
As one of the oldest parks in Urbana, Carle Park holds its own as one of the most beautiful, charming parks around. Kids of all ages will enjoy the playground and the open space to run in the shadow of Lincoln the Lawyer!
How do I get to Carle Park?
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