HOME: Top 5 Outdoor Spaces in Edmond
Despite the sometimes wild weather of Oklahoma, spring and summer bring an opportunity for families to venture into the great outdoors and play. Here are five great places in Edmond that children, athletes, and even pets can enjoy.
1. Edmond Dog Park
Edmond resident Elizabeth Gutierrez takes her Shih Tzu mix, Chewy, to Edmond’s Dog Park several times a month. While the dogs play, the “regulars” all socialize too, although they only know each other by their dogs’ names. “It’s fun to get outdoors, especially this time of year, and watch the dogs play,” said Guiterrez. “It’s a great, grassy space and there are always lots of friends for Chewy to run around with.”
Although only 18 pounds, Chewy gets along with all the other dogs, from the little puppies to the Great Danes. “Edmond’s Dog Park is beautiful. They just fixed it up and put a new path around it. There’s a gate you can go through if you want to walk around the little fishing lake, but the best part is Edmond’s dog owners. People are very nice in Edmond, and the dog owners are very responsible,” said Guiterrez.
Open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Boulevard and 33rd, the Edmond Dog Park is five acres of space for dog lovers and their furry “children” to enjoy.
2. E.C. Hafer Park
Andy and Gabriele Moore moved to Edmond in March 2010, and the couple spends time whenever they can at Edmond’s E.C. Hafer Park, located at Bryant between 2nd and 15th street.
With trails, paths, playgrounds and pond, the park is one of the couple’s favorite spaces. “It’s a very family-friendly park with great outdoor spaces that are both shaded and sunny. There are always lots of people there taking advantage of the park. One time, we saw about 20 people staging some sort of medieval battle, complete with foam swords and cardboard shields. It was hilarious,” said Andy.
Commissioned in 1979, Hafer Park encompasses 121 acres of outdoor land and offers 1.5 miles of paved, multi-use trails, pavilions, three playgrounds, a volleyball court, a kids’ fishing pond, an open stage, an athletic complex and exercise stations. It’s a favorite for families and exercise enthusiasts.
“We enjoy the walking trails or just go to have a picnic or sit and watch the ducks at the pond. When we got married in 2008, we had a picnic at the park for our rehearsal dinner. Also, we just recently had our first child, and his first outing was taking a stroll through the park,” said Andy.
3. Festival Market Place
Combine shopping, local produce and the great outdoors, and the Festival Market Place is the perfect setting in Edmond.
Home to the monthly Farmers Market and events like the Ice Challenge’s Holiday Ice Rink, LibertyFest events and the Arbor Day Celebration, the marketplace is located in downtown Edmond, sharing its space with specialty retail shops and public art.
Festival Market Place was created when Edmond City Architect David Odle stepped up to manage the area after Edmond took over the farmers market in 2001. The vision was to make the space more than just a farmers market, but a place where families could gather and enjoy the downtown area.
Edmond Farmers Market opens every April on Saturdays allowing farmers to sell their crops directly to customers. Visitors can also find flower vendors, gardening booths and entertainment. Customers can buy a variety of food, from local honey to beef to fresh produce to local wine.
In June, the Edmond Farmer’s Market also opens on Wednesdays with a second Saturday crafts show starting the same month.
4. Arcadia Lake
Located on the Deep Fork River, Arcadia Lake is one of Edmond’s most popular outdoor spaces. With facilities like picnic areas, camping areas, hiking and biking trails, equestrian trails, covered and pier fishing and sandy beaches, the lake becomes a mecca for families and sports enthusiasts year-round. “In my opinion, because the lake is so close to home, it’s a perfect place for families,” said Nicole Offutt, administrative assistant for Arcadia Lake. “It’s only five minutes from Edmond, but it has all the features of other big lake areas.”
Fishing at the lake can be done from a pier or in a heated, covered dock. Bluegills, largemouth bass, channel catfish and blue catfish can be caught year-round. In addition, boat ramps and docks are available to water enthusiasts.
Hikers and mountain bikers have 17 miles of trails to explore, one of the few trails in the metro that are not paved and truly suitable for mountain biking. “Edmond and OKC have beautiful trails, but they are all paved. You can come hit these mountain bike trails after work for 6.5 miles one way and get a challenging workout,” said Offutt.
Arcadia Lake also boasts two 18-hole disc golf courses as well as both primitive and fully-equipped campgrounds. However, it’s the scenic overlook that attracts visitors from all over.
5. YMCA Adventure Garden
The Edmond YMCA’s Adventure Garden, still in its first year, is an outdoor community garden that teaches youth how to plant, grow, and harvest fruit and vegetables. Not only are children responsible for planting, watering and maintaining the garden, but they also learn about healthy eating and growing their own produce. “Kids get to see the whole process of how vegetables are planted and grow,” said Geri Valdez, youth and family coordinator. “It’s fun for them to see how plants are planted and then be able to harvest them later.”
The City of Edmond, Regional Food Bank’s Urban Harvest Program, and Oklahoma State University-OKC master gardeners all come together to make the garden grow. The youth also play a big role in watering, weeding, planting and harvesting. “We will start our summer planting in May, but our spring planting had potatoes, tomatoes, green onions and strawberries,” said Valdez. “It is a true learning garden, and we also have a sensory garden so youth can touch, smell and feel different plants.”
The garden has 13 raised beds, and families come out on weekends to help with planting and maintenance. In the spring and summer, it’s an activity that all family members can help with. “Kids see where their food comes from instead of just seeing them show up at the grocery,” said Valdez. For more information on the YMCA Adventure Garden, call 348-9622.