Destination: Crazy basketball hoops, great playground, lots of programs at Raleigh's Halifax Park
Posted January 11, 2018 8:55 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 3:19 p.m. EDT
Tucked away behind William Peace University and Seaboard Station in downtown Raleigh, Halifax Park offers a one-of-a-kind experience that families are still discovering about four years after it reopened.
The five-acre park at 1023 Halifax St., which originally opened in 1972 and got a major makeover in 2014, includes a playground and community center.
And, for my kids, it's known as the one with the "crazy" basketball hoops - a public art installation called Hoops Playing Hoops that features five organically shaped and interactive basketball hoops that are between five and 16-feet high.
Chris Fennell, an artist from Alabama, is behind the piece. Fennel used locally salvaged materials to build the installation, which aims to create what a basketball goal might look like if it grew arms and legs and actually played basketball, according to Raleigh parks' website.
If you manage to get the ball into the highest hoop, the ball then follows a path, going from hoop to hoop, before it drops down to the ground. It's tricky for young kids to get the ball up in the highest hoop (though my tween has managed it). But, once you manage to get it up there, the kids explode with excitement.
Check out all of the crazy shapes and turns the hoops make! If you don't have a ball with you, you can check one out at the community center that sits right next to the playground.
And there's even one for little kids (or those of us who can't get the ball in the highest basket!):
Around the basketball hoops, you'll find a small playground with equipment that's designed to help kids build their upper body strength with lots of opportunities to climb and different ways to access it. The playground includes play pieces for both toddlers and preschoolers, along with older kids.
And, in a nod to the train tracks nearby, there's a sound panel that looks like a train and features a conductor saying "all aboard."
One of the things that I love about this playground is that most of the space is shaded by a giant oak tree. The park is bordered on three sides by a fence.
Inside the community center, you'll find a variety of programs for kids and adults. They include a free toddler open gym from 10 a.m. to noon, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Just show up with your little ones, who can run around the gym and play with balls and cones. Registration isn't required.
The center also offers afternoon programs for preschoolers, which require a small fee and registration, along with a new afternoon art program for kids ages 6 to 9.
And look for more programs for families going forward, park director Emily Collins tells me, including an outdoor movie night, which was successful last year.
Even though the park reopened four years ago, Collins said she gets a lot of newcomers who are surprised to discover it.
"We're definitely wanting to get more people in," she said.
Halifax Park is at 1023 Halifax St., Raleigh. The park has on-site parking and bathrooms inside the community center. See more images of Halifax Park in this image gallery.
Call the park at 919-996-6378 to find out more about its programs.
Go Ask Mom features places to take kids every Friday.