One of the newest, most-enjoyable places for kids to do that in Lakeland is at the Common Grounds park. This park, which was budgeted at almost $2 million dollars broke ground in October 2007. The park, itself, took almost 4 years of planning to come to fruition. It was scheduled to take almost a year for construction to be completed. It officially opened in January 2009. The park address is 1000 East Edgewood Drive.
Since it's inception, this park has seen heavy traffic from lots of local kids and families.
On the weekends, you can expect a really high turn-out by everyone in the neighborhood. If you want to have a bit of privacy with your family here, you should plan on visiting during a weekday, when other kids are at school. It's certainly not packed, like a Disney theme-park, but it can get pretty crowded on the weekends.
If you're looking for directions to get here, this is the Google map:
View Larger Map
It's pretty easy to find:
Traveling on Highway 37 (South Florida avenue), you would take Edgewood towards the east. Or coming from Bartow Highway, or Lakeland Highlands Blvd., you will head west on Edgewood.
The park itself is on the north side of Edgewood, just across from the Cleveland Heights Golf Course. The park is right next to the tennis courts.
There is no usage fee to play at the park. Kids can play for free to their heart's content. Common Grounds park was designed to accommodate kids of varying ages and abilities, including disabled children as well.
Some of the various features include:
- A large tunnel, wide enough for wheelchairs, runs under a hill called Gopher Mountain.
- The park itself is shaped like a giant butterfly, and it includes several sculptures of butterflies.
- Many of the play structures are non-traditional, modern in design, which kids seem to really enjoy playing on.
- It is a conservation park, in that it has artificial turf (instead of regular grass) so no water or mowing is required to keep the grounds maintained.
There is free parking on the south side, right next to the tennis courts. There is also parking along the streets running north beside the park (Buckingham Avenue).
To see some Common Grounds park pictures, please check out our visit.
The concept behind this park has even generated interest from other local communities around the country. It seems, lots of families with disabled children, are desperately looking for places where their kids can interact with their friends and peers.