Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Curtis Hixton Park

Over the weekend we took an afternoon and headed to Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa. We needed an activity to get as much energy out of our toddler as possible. We have annual passes to the Glazer Children's Museum and we invited Grandpa G to join us.

The museum always seems to have something slightly new for her to explore and do. Plus as she gets older there are new things for her to do. The last time I was there with the girls was on Lydia's second birthday and Vivian was only 5 weeks old. Now even the baby has designated areas that she can crawl and interact with new things. She really liked the crawl tube but seemed to be stuck in the middle. She sat there and laughed for a long time until Dad helped her out, not because she couldn't crawl through but because she was taking her sweet time coming out.

The one area that Lydia has always loved is the dance studio where you can select from various different music options, dance under a disco ball and in front of your own reflection that is projected by cameras. The only down fall is that there is always some kid that just wants to push the buttons of the music choices and stops all the dancing. Prior to that inevitable occurrence, Lydia danced. Vivian built a few things and played with some toys.

After being inside in the museum for a couple of hours Lydia was ready to return to the out doors. The Curtis Hixon Park is host to many big events for the Tampa Bay area, especially this time of year where the weather hasn't ushered everyone indoors quite yet. It sits adjacent to the Children's Museum and the Museum of Art and runs into the sidewalk that lines the Hillsborough River. The playground looks over the river to a picture perfect image of the University of Tampa, whose unique architecture adds a rich feature to the skyline.

The park has several traditional and non traditional playground items. My favorite is a cool sound light game. Where you can pick a setting like ninja and you hit the light that pops up with a tone as quickly as possible. There is a multi-player function that makes it really challenging but fun.

Lydia fell in love with hammock. When she would open her eyes and pop off of it, she would sprint back if she thought another kid was going to get on it. At first sort of cute after a while several conversations about sharing were had.

There are public restrooms which is always nice for potty training kids and, well frankly all people, since we all use restrooms. Nestled near there is a vendor that sells drinks, snacks and ice creams. We picked up a popsicle for us each and tucked our mini-party under some shady shelter that overlooked the river. It was a really nice afternoon.

Both girls fell asleep on the way home which was a nice treat for us all. Curtis Hixon Park normally has a large green field area that is set up in large steps for outdoor concerts and events. On this day the remnants of the Friday and/or Saturday  night festivities were still there, so it wasn't the best day to take a picture that would invite others to come to a normally beautiful park, however on an average day it's a nice place to grab lunch and pop a squat on the grass and enjoy the rare juxtaposition of city and nature.

The park also has to fountain areas that kids will frequently play in. Many parents will use these areas as mini-splash parks, I am not sure that was the original intention, though it is certainly encouraged on a hot summer day. Even on this fairly chilly Spring afternoon, there were about 3-5 older elementary kids running through the fountains. I am not normally a big seller of Tampa, since I find the culture of St. Pete to be more my style, regardless this area is a great place for a family afternoon.

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