Depending on your side of town, Patterson Park is either on your regular visit list, or just one of those places that doesn't make it on your radar. Tucked into downtown just off of Mercury Boulevard, it's easy enough to miss, but if you're a parent, you really won't want to!
I started going more frequently once I had babies, and now that those babies are getting older and more active, it's kind of crucial to our monthly rounds. Whether we need the pool, a playground, or to stock up on books--or hey, do all three at the same time!-- Patterson Park Community Center has a spot for that.
Check out my 7 reasons to rediscover this city gem.
1. The Water Works
I've made several mentions of Patterson Park in past columns sheerly for the indoor pool, so if you've missed it, here it is again: It has an indoor pool! And not just a lap pool. A genuinely great play pool with climbing apparatus for littles (parents can climb, too) zero-depth areas for those just meeting the water, and an enormous triple loop slide for those over 4 feet tall. Lap pools and classes are available as well, along with open areas for big kids to work on their cannonballs. It's open all year at select times, so for the water-lover in your home, this is a perennial go-to.
2. Book Stacks
The Myrtle Glanton Lord Library in Patterson is reason enough to visit, especially if you have very small children that tend to wander. The pocket-size library is still spacious, but close enough that moms and dads can browse books and keep an eye on their little explorers. Choose children's classics and picture books from delightfully-decorated shelves, and pick up DVDs for those favorite shows and movies that still aren't streaming. Older kids and adults will find plenty of new releases and standards to choose from, and all ages can utilize the educational computers. Families of littles will enjoy stopping in most mornings at 10 a.m. and get in on a craft project or science lesson with the friendly staff. Also, a visit to the library is free-- no center admission fee required.
3. Ways to Work Out
Need energy? Whether it's catching a pickup basketball game on the indoor courts, making that satisfying pop on the racquetball courts, taking a walk on the 1/8 mile track, or getting gym time on in the adults-only workout room, there are lots of ways to burn calories and get a serious lift at Patterson Park. While there's no child care for littles in tow, my kids and I enjoy watching the games we pass in the back hall.
4. Art House
Thanks to the work of Cultural Arts Murfreesboro, the Rutherford Arts Alliance, and other creatives in the city, art flourishes in Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation spaces and Patterson Park is no exception. Take in new pieces in the Community Gallery at the Washing Theater, which by the way, showcases wonderful shows throughout the year. Both spaces offer great introductions to small ones and newcomers to the art scene in a welcoming environment.
5. Get Class
Maybe it sounds repetitive (let's be honest: we're parents, and we forget stuff), but Patterson Park is a hub of go-to classes for all ages (adults, too!) from exercise to education to arts. Need a homeschool PE class? They have them. Need a musicality class for your preschooler? That too. Water aerobics instruction? Yep. Introduction to art forms for you and your teen? Yes, yes. I was especially thankful for their preschool offerings when my daughter went to one nap a day and needed just a little structure in her week. It's a great opportunity for trying new skills on a dime and meeting new faces.
6. Game Time
Perfect for rainy days or a spot to kill time on the cheap, the game room at Patterson Park is that living room you need when you have kiddos of all ages to keep busy. From pool to air hockey to checkers and board game standards, the game room offers fun ways to keep everyone occupied (including a TV and book corner).
7. Wide Open Spaces
If the outdoors are calling after your indoor excursions, head outside to the Patterson Park playground and picnic areas. The medium-sized park has swings, slides, and climbing chains along with a small walking path for anyone working on toddling skills or those training wheels. Park for lunch in the covered pavilions, take a sunny walk on the 1/5 mile walking path in the front of the property, or start a football game on the multi-purpose fields. Tennis buffs can also take advantage of the courts next to the center.
Ready to go? Patterson Park Community Center is located at 521 Mercury Blvd. Murfreesboro. Learn more by calling 615-893-7439 or visiting murfreesborotn.gov/168/Patterson-Park-Community-Center. Admission for youth starts at $3 and $5 for adults.
Laura Beth Payne is a writer mama and Murfreesboro native who lives in the Blackman community with her husband and two children. Follow her at @murfreesboromama on Facebook and Instagram. Got a column idea? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.