We had heard about Dirksen Nature Park from several friends, so Nugget and I decided to go check it out one day while Chicken was at camp. We followed our trusty phone GPS and arrived at a tiny parking lot facing an empty field. I checked the address. Yep, we were at the right spot. What the heck was everyone so excited about? Then we noticed a small path and decided to follow it and see where it took us, which wound up being through a small wooded area that dumped us out in another big field.
As I was becoming convinced my friends are crazy, I noticed people people moving around off to our left. We walked in their direction and as we turned a corner, we saw a playground! Yay!
Dirksen turned out to be pretty cool. There were some small traditional play structures with the added bonus of built in scavenger hunts that Nugget and other kids there seemed to love. There were some large logs and small stumps to play on that generally got ignored.
But there were definitely some stand out features. There were several carved and painted elements that could be used for climbing and sitting. There was also a rock area with a short rope climb and a turf area perfect for sliding on. There was a large tree stump with wall climbing grips that slightly older kids seemed to enjoy.
We did notice that there were two paved paths most people seemed to be coming from that appeared to be closely connected to civilization. So I’m guessing there are more logical places to park and my GPS was just having a little fun at my expense.
What it’s not: accessible for those with mobility issues, shaded at the time of day we were there
What it is: creative, pretty, clean bathrooms (hallelujah!), open space to play, unique
Do we recommend it? Yes! I don’t know that it will climb to the top of our list or become a family favorite, but it is a very cool park and is definitely worth checking out.