I met a dad from Wake Forest back in August during the Go Ask Mom event at North Hills. We were talking about Go Ask Mom and I told him that I was about to feature the town's Holding Park. He said his family loves Holding Park, but that I really needed to get out to E. Carroll Joyner Park.
It took me a little bit, but I finally made it. And I'm glad I did.
The 117-acre park on a former farm opened in 2009. It features a collection of old farm buildings, pecan trees, three miles of trails dotted with big swings, a large outdoor amphitheater and plenty of room for kids to run.
Here's what I love about it:
1. The buildings. The old farm buildings are meant to give people an idea of what life was like in the 1940s when it was a working farm. There's a log cabin, along with some other outbuildings. They are empty, but you can walk in and out of them. They'd be ideal playhouses for kids allowing a lot of imaginative play.
2. The wide open spaces. As the mom I interviewed at the park mentioned, there are just lots of wide open spaces for kids to run here. Much of it is relatively flat, which was appreciated by a grandma who was there with her granddaughter because she didn't have to run too far when the toddler threw a ball.
3. The paved trails. There are three miles of paved trails here, great for strollers, bikes and trikes.
4. The swings. There is no playground here, but the trails are dotted with large green swings that look a bit like porch swings. Great spots for a break (though I didn't see any that were shaded).
5. The clean bathrooms. They were crystal clean when I was there on a Monday morning. And that's always worth noting.
The park has turned into a gathering spot for the town. It hosts concert series and community celebrations. And Wake Forest has big plans for Joyner Park going forward. They include a community center, playground, sports fields and more parking.
For now, though, there's still plenty to do at Joyner Park.
The park is at 701 Harris Rd. in Wake Forest about a mile off Capital Boulevard. Check the town's website for more information and directions, along with a map of the trails. And watch the video for another look at Joyner Park.