The Fourth of July has come and gone. And I spent the entire day at the Atascadero Lake Park.
I arrived there at 7 a.m. to get ready for the 5K run that began at 8:30 a.m., feed my two girls, 3 and 17 ó I have an exchange student from Sweden ≠ó a pancake breakfast prepared by the Atascadero Lionís Club and snagged a prime spot next to the playground, which also turned out to be right next to where the Elks little train was stationed.
We stayed until 6 p.m., mostly because I wanted to time our departure with my 3-year-old falling sleep in the car and because she was having too much fun.
She and our friendsí children spent hours riding on the little train. Every time the train wasnít full, one of the Elks members would come over and ask the girls if they wanted to ride. They also spent a lot of time in the two bounce houses. For the first part of the day, it cost 50 cents for five minutes, which turned out to be really long five minutes. By late afternoon, they were still there and there was no charge.
Nearly 1,500 people went through the zoo on Wednesday. While the park seemed a bit light of people by late afternoon, friends that came to visit said the zoo was packed.
At a city council meeting when Mayor Bob Kelley and Councilman Jerry Clay requested that the zoo be open for free on the Fourth of July, Bob said that July 4 is the lowest attended day of the year for the zoo.
While I didnít make it into the zoo ó I have a zoo membership and my daughter ventured into the zoo with our friends and family while I visited with friends ó friends said the donation bucket was packed and guessed that the gift shop made a killing.
Iím guessing thatís probably true since most of the activities at the lake park were free, or inexpensive. I spent a total of $10.50, which included two pancake breakfasts and one turn on the bounce house.
I had packed two ice chests with food and drinks and most of our friends brought additional food to add to the grill or table. I looked at it like having a Fourth of July party, just at the park. It was a lot less work for setup and takedown and everyone pitched in with food, chairs, pop up shade, etc. and the entertainment was provided.
What is better than that?
Iím one of those rare people who isnít big into fireworks, and with a young child whose bedtime is well before fireworks start, I was happiest to be home, showered and in my pajamas by the time fireworks started. And even though itís illegal to set off fireworks in Atascadero, I got to hear several very loud ones get set off in my neighborhood. Luckily, my little one did not wake ó which tops the list of my priorities. No. 2, is fire safety. I know, the priorities of a parent with a young child.
All in all, it was a great day at the park and I look forward to it growing and getting better.For the complete article see the 07-06-2012 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 07-06-2012 paper.