Where We Play: Mount Echo Forest

Mt Echo Park– Price Hill

Overview: Mount Echo is one of Cincinnati’s lesser-known parks and is located just west of downtown, in Price Hill. Back when I worked in East Price Hill, I often stopped at this park for some solitude. But, to be honest, I don’t think I ever got very far out of my car. The view of downtown isn’t always the best from the westside–due to the industrial areas in Queensgate and Camp Washington. But, even if it’s not the BEST view of the city, this parks hosts a spectacular view of the Ohio river and Kentucky, as well. It seems like this park is easily accessible to a few subdivisions in East Price Hill and there were a few basketball and tennis courts and a baseball field that I can imagine are frequently used. We walked most of the park, but didn’t venture onto any of the wooded trails. Maybe next time!

General Cleanliness: Most of the park was clean and well maintained, but the main playground area was a total disaster. (I’m thinking–hoping–we just happened to be there the morning after a messy fast food picnic, before Parks staff could get to it.)

Parking: A few parking lots.

Bathroom Facilities: Yes, though we didn’t check to see if they were unlocked.

Picnic Area: A few picnic areas, including a really nice covered shelter, plus a few benches and lots of open grass.

Playground: One older plastic playground and a smaller area on the other end of the park with swings.

Other Amenities: The Pavilion is really neat, as is the shelter. There are ball fields and playgrounds, as well as hiking trails. The open greenspace and overlook views are the strength of the park.

 

*This is the second in the “Where We Play” series. If you’d like to contribute a park review as a guest blogger, send me a note at ejmcewan@gmail.com.*

 

Related Posts:

Go Play Outside!
Go Play Outside: Alone?
Go Play Outside: In The Cold
Urban Families: How To Get Them & How To Keep Them
Where We Play: Lytle Park

 

Where We Play: Lytle Park


Lytle Park Central Business District (CBD)

Overview: Lytle Park is located in a historic district of downtown, just over a mile walk from our home. It’s next to the Taft Museum and just a few blocks from the Purple People Bridge (which leads to Newport, KY) and Sawyer Point. The park is neat, well-maintained, and has a fantastic view of the skyline. It feels like a truly “urban oasis.” The playground itself is a bit small and outdated and doesn’t keep my kids occupied for very long, but there is a large open field to run in and a few trees to climb. The park is used (mostly, it seems) by downtown workers on their lunch break and older, CBD residents walking their dogs. In the half-dozen times we’ve been to Lytle Park, we’ve never seen another child. The hallmark of this park is the historic bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln and the large, landscaped field. Even though it’s a small park, this would be a great side-trip for families exploring downtown or visiting the Taft Museum.

General Cleanliness: Very neat and tidy.

Parking: Street parking, metered.

Bathroom Facilities: Yes, though we didn’t check to see if they were unlocked.

Picnic Area: No tables that I remember, but many benches and lots of open grass.

Playground: Small, with no swings.

Other Amenities: The seasonal flowers are great. There is a large amphitheater-type paved area that we’ve never seen used. We also spotted a bocce pit and there is a small firefighters’ memorial in addition to the awesome Lincoln statue. There is a water fountain, too.

 

*This is the first in the “Where We Play” series. If you’d like to contribute a park review as a guest blogger, send me a note at ejmcewan@gmail.com.*

Hey, Cincinnati Families!

I’m looking for a few Cincinnati families to contribute to a blog series this summer called “Where We Play.”

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You’d be responsible for reviewing a Cincinnati-area park or playground and allowing me to post your review on the blog. I’ll give you a list of questions to answer. You’d also take a few photos to post with the review.

It would be credited to you as a “guest blogger” and I’ll gladly link to your blog, if you’d like.

Preference will be given to bloggers and playspaces near the city center, especially lesser-known and off-the-beaten-path spots. (Including Northern Kentucky.)

Email me if you’re interested and let me know where YOU play!

Go Play Outside: In The Cold

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything but, boy, things have been busy!

I’ve been wrapping-up the 2012 cleanup season at work. My husband has been working on finishing his houses before the end of the year. Our kids never stop moving and I spend all my non-working moments trying to keep up.

On mornings that I don’t work, when I ask my (almost) 4 year-old son what he wants to do with his day, my favorite response is “go for a hike!” My kids love exploring outdoors and I’ve tried to offer as many opportunties as possible for them to do so. Living in the city doesn’t have many built-in opportunties, which makes it hard. But it’s not impossible. If we want to play outside–whether we’re looking for a playground or the woods–there are a handful of great places within walking distance and a few within just a few minutes’ drive. If I’m willing to go an extra 10-15 minutes, we can find a million places to explore.

With a few exceptions, this season has still been pretty warm. But I don’t anticipate it staying warm all Winter! The trick to keeping kids happy outside in the cold? Layer-up, keep moving, and bring snacks.

Rather than wearing one huge, puffy jacket, invest in multiple layers of clothing that allow you and your kids the freedom to remove only one layer as the sun comes out or your body warms up. Bring hats, mittens, and wear a nice pair of wool socks. Kids who are used to being outside will usually be more adaptable than their parents, so you’ll notice your kids become more comfortable in the cold as they get used to dealing with it.

On colder days, find something to do that keeps you all moving (like hiking) so your blood keeps flowing. You might actually be surprised how warm you get! Standing watching your kids play on the playground is sometimes a bore. Every once and a while, pick an activity that gets you moving, too.

As always, kids are very sensitive to hunger. Keep a few small, packable snacks in your pocket or backpack, as well as a bottle of water. If hunger strikes, and your child starts to whine, stop for a quick snack and then get moving again.

Get your kids outside now, while it’s still comfortably chilly. You’ll be thankful for the practice later, when it’s really cold!

In the past few weeks, in addition to our normal neighborhood playground expeditions, we went to Sharon Woods. It was a chilly day, but we took a lovely hike around the lake, which we’ve never done. We’ve also been back to Lindner Park in Norwood recently, and we explored a new place in Florence, KY.

The other day, on our way home from running an errand, we visited a park on Linn St. in the West End. It’s a tiny little pocket park perfect for my kids’ age group. And there’s a dinosaur!!

Enjoy the season and GET OUTSIDE!

Go Play Outside: the 45202 Family Hiking Club

The 45202 Family Hiking Club: Out to prove that you don’t need to leave the city to GET OUTSIDE.

Last month, I initiated a hiking club for families (and friends) in and near downtown. We’ll be hiking together once a month, year-round (yes, four seasons), and the goal is to stay within the city limits or in urban Northern Kentucky. Every month, a different family will choose the location and lead the hike, to help the rest of us familiarize ourselves with places we may have never been before.

In May, for our first meetup, I led us on a hike through the trails at Imago in Price Hill.
This month, we’ll be meeting at Fernbank Park out west on River Rd.

If you are a family committed to both urban living and to providing your children with experiences in nature, even if you can’t make it every month, you are welcome to join us. As of now, the event details are being communicated via Facebook, and the group is invite-only so there is some level of confidentiality about locations, times, and such.

Let me know if you’d like to be included!

Go Play Outside: Sharon Woods

Did you know that it’s only $10 a year for access to all of Hamilton County’s amazing parks!?

Since I moved to Cincinnati nearly seven years ago, I’ve only gone two years without a Parks pass. But, to be honest, I haven’t used any of the passes very often. I usually just consider it a $10 donation to the Park District. This year, though, I’m making an effort to explore the parks with my kids.

Recently, we took two trips to Sharon Woods, which is the park I know best because we have some good friends whose property abuts the park.

Wanna see some photos of trips!?